Your Child

Bullying Seems to Affect Kids Years Later

A new report shows that preteens who were bullied persistently when they were younger are more to have hallucinations, delusions or other psychotic symptoms.A new report out on bullying shows that preteens who were bullied persistently when they were younger are more likely than others their age to have hallucinations, delusions or other psychotic symptoms. The study conducted by British researchers involved over 6,000 children who averaged just less than 13 years of age. Their parents had provided regular updates about the youngsters' health and development since birth and the children had undergone yearly physical and psychological assessments since age seven.

Almost half (46 percent) had experienced bullying at ages eight or 10. As they neared 13, about 14 percent of the children had broad psychosis-like symptoms, with one or more symptoms suspected or confirmed. 11 percent had intermediate symptoms (one or more symptoms suspected or present at times other than when going to sleep, waking from sleep during a fever or after substance use) and 6 percent had narrow symptoms (one or more symptoms confirmed). Children who were bullied at either ages eight or 10 were about twice as likely as other children to have psychotic symptoms. The risk was highest in preteens who had suffered chronic or severe bullying. The study appears in the May 2009 issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry. "Whether repeated victimization experiences alter cognitive and affective processing or re-program stress response, or whether psychotic symptoms are more likely due to genetic predisposition still needs to be determined in further research," wrote the researchers. "A major implication is that chronic or severe peer victimization has non-trivial, adverse, long-term consequences," they wrote. "Reduction of peer victimization and the resulting stress caused to victims could be a worthwhile target for prevention and early intervention efforts for common mental health problems and psychosis."

Your Child

Sleep: New Recommendations for Different Ages

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We all know how important a good night’s sleep is to being able to function well the next day. But how much sleep is really enough? How much we prefer is a personal choice, but how much we really need is now more concrete. 

After web analytics showed the vast popularity of the category, How Much Sleep Do We Really Need? on the National Sleep Foundation's (NSF) website, a panel of experts set about to reassure that the information provided there was the most accurate and up to date.

"Sleep duration was basically one of the most visited pages on the NSF website, and it wasn't really clear how those recommendations for the ranges had been arrived at," Max Hirshkowitz, Ph.D., chair of the National Sleep Foundation Scientific Advisory Council, told The Huffington Post.

The National Sleep Foundation decided to look at its recommendations and see if they should make any adjustments. After analyzing more recent literature on the subject, they came to the conclusion that an updating was due.

The panel of six sleep-experts and 12 medical experts conducted a formal literature review. The panel focused on the body of research surrounding sleep duration in healthy human subjects that had been published in peer-reviewed journals between 2004 and 2014. From the 312 articles reviewed, the experts were able to fine-tune existing sleep duration recommendations as detailed below:

  • Newborns (0-3 months): 14-17 hours (range narrowed from 12-18)
  • Infants (4-11 months): 12-15 hours (range widened from 14-15)
  • Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours (range widened from 12-14)
  • Preschoolers (3-5): 10-13 hours (range widened from 11-13)
  • School-Age Children (6-13): 9-11 hours (range widened from 10-11)
  • Teenagers (14-17): 8-10 hours (range widened from 8.5-9.5)
  • Young Adults (18-25): 7-9 hours (new age category)
  • Adults (26-64): 7-9 hours (no change)
  • Older Adults (65+): 7-8 hours (new age category)

“This is the first time that any professional organization has developed age-specific recommended sleep durations based on a rigorous, systematic review of the world scientific literature relating sleep duration to health, performance and safety,” Charles A. Czeisler, Ph.D., M.D., professor of sleep medicine at Harvard Medical School and chairman of the board of the National Sleep Foundation, said in a statement.

During sleep, your brain and body recharge. Lack of sleep can have short-term and long-term effects. Studies have shown that children and teens that do not get enough sleep have trouble concentrating in school, are more prone to drinking and drug use and are more likely to have behavioral issues. They are also more likely to suffer from depression.

Too little sleep can also affect growth and your child’s immune system – making it harder to fight off an illness.

For adults, if you’re able to function well on the amount of sleep you typically get, then that’s probably the right amount for you. However, for children, the NSF’s recommendations are a good resource for making sure your kids are getting enough sleep. If you find that your child is getting the recommended amount of sleep but is still groggy or lacks energy or focus during the day, talk to your pediatrician or family doctor to see if there may be something else that is causing these symptoms.

Sources: Sarah Klein, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/02/how-much-sleep-durations-changes_n_6581628.html

Your Child

The Virus That Is Making Lots of Kids Sick

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You may have heard about a fast-spreading virus that is sending children to emergency rooms around the country. It’s called enterovirus D68 or EV-D68 and was first discovered in 1962 in California.

Until now, the virus has been typically contained to small clusters around the U.S. But that is changing rapidly. Currently, most of the cases have been diagnosed in the Midwest and parts of the South. Because the virus is spreading quickly from area to area, it has gained the attention of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

This is the first time it’s caused such widespread misery, and it seems to be particularly hard on the lungs.

What are the symptoms of EV-D68? Most viral infections start out with a fever, cough and runny nose, but D68 doesn’t seem to follow that classic pattern, says Mary Anne Jackson, MD She's the division director of infectious disease at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, MO, the hospital where the first cases were identified.

“Only 25% to 30% of our kids have fever, so the vast majority don’t,” Jackson says. Instead, kids with D68 infections have cough and trouble breathing, sometimes with wheezing.

They act like they have asthma, even if they don’t have a history of it, she says. “They’re just not moving air.”

Who is at the greatest risk? Recent cases have been in children ages 6 months to 16 years, with most hovering around ages 4 and 5, the CDC says.

Usually the enterovirus strikes between July through October, so we are still in the virus season.

Many kids will experience milder symptoms, but children with a history of breathing problems can be hit particularly hard.

Two-thirds of those hospitalized at Children’s Mercy had a history of asthma or wheezing, Jackson says.

“We made sure that primary care providers are in touch with their patients with asthma, so those have an active asthma plan and know what to do if they get into trouble,” she says.

What treatments are available for EV-D68? Antibiotics don’t work because it is a virus and not bacteria. There is no vaccine available at this time or antiviral medication for treatment. It is treated with supportive care.

“The main thing is giving supplemental oxygen to the children who need it,” says Andi Shane, MD. medical director of hospital epidemiology and associate director of pediatric infectious disease at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. 

Children may also get medications, such as albuterol, which help relax and open the air passages of the lungs.

Those with the most critical cases have needed ventilators to help them breathe.

Most children who get EV-D68 will have a milder course of disease that tender loving care; rest and plenty of fluids will work as treatment.

However, it’s time to head to the doctor’s office or emergency room “if there’s any rapid breathing, and that means breathing more than once per second consistently over the span of an hour. Or if there’s any labored breathing,” says Roya Samuels, MD. She's a pediatrician at Steven & Alexandra Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y.

Labored breathing, says Samuels, means kids are using smaller muscles around the chest wall to help move air in and out of their lungs.

“If you see the skin pulling in between the ribs or above the collarbone, or if there’s any wheezing, those are clear signs that a child needs to be evaluated,” she says.

You catch it basically like to catch any other virus. The enterovirus is pretty hardy and can live on surfaces for hours and as long as a day, depending on temperature and humidity.

The virus can be found in saliva, nasal mucus, or sputum, according to the CDC.

Touching a contaminated surface and then rubbing your nose or eyes is the usual way someone catches it. You can also get it from close person-to-person contact.

Protect yourself with good hand-washing habits. Tell kids to cover their mouth with a tissue when they cough. If no tissue is handy, teach them to cough into the crook of their elbow or upper sleeve instead of their hand.

The good news is that common disinfectants and detergents will kill enteroviruses. Cleaning surfaces that are frequently touched by everyone in the household is important to help keep the virus from spreading. For children, be sure to include toys, cups and doorknobs. While sick children are gaining most of the media attention, adults can also catch EV-D68. 

The virus may be spreading farther than currently known because it is not always tested for when a child enters the hospital or clinic for help.

Again, many children will only experience milder symptoms and will not need to be hospitalized, but if your child exhibits symptoms that include trouble breathing; take them to a doctor immediately.

Source: Brenda Goodman, MA and Hansa D. Bhargava, MD, http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/news/20140909/enterovirus-d68-parents

Your Child

A Time of Giving

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There seems to be a lot to be upset about lately such as the senseless killings in Connecticut, the “end of the world” Mayan calendar, the fiscal cliff and so on. All these negatives can be overwhelming. The only recent event that truly breaks my heart and gives me pause are the killings in Connecticut. There are no words to express how profoundly sad and disturbing it is to think of those murdered children, teachers and school officials. I can’t even imagine the pain the parents, families and friends are in.

What gives me comfort is to know that although there is great sorrow in the world – there is also great joy and love. Too often, what is presented in the media is all about hate and disaster. But, I believe there is much more positive than negative going on. We can start believing that darkness is around every corner and we can let fear guide our lives, missing the beauty that is all around us. Beauty is more than something that pleases our eyes; it’s also the love that surrounds us. The essence of being that is brighter than our darkest insecurity.

Christmas is tomorrow and the stress of presents, families and entertaining is abundant. But that may be because we’ve let it get it out of control. The simple act of dinner together and remembering the love ones that have passed on as well as celebrating the new ones entering our lives may seem obsolete. But as adults, sharing time and laughter, a couple of toasts and a prayer of gratitude can bring peace of mind. Forgiveness and gratitude can bring peace of heart.

Children are our better selves. They are the innocence that brings hope to a new day. Let them celebrate this wondrous holiday with joy and special attention. Let them be the center of our attention so that wonderful memories are built around the love we give them that they can carry with them for the rest of their lives.

We were children once and one day our children may have children of their own; that’s the circle of life. When we put our own desires aside and give to others the gift of joy and optimism, we give the best gift of all. We reflect the gift that has been given to us- life and all that comes with this amazing journey.

Seek truth, offer hope and smile with an open heart when you see the joy in a small child’s eyes. Because in that moment you are the best you can be. Christmas may have once been a celebration of winter solstice, a pagan ritual and a holiday was that actually outlawed for a time. But for many Christians it is the honoring of the birth of Jesus. Whatever your belief, Christmas and the holiday season can be a time when we put aside our biases, our pettiness and our anger and reach out to those who need our support with a loving touch and a gentle word. The more we practice a kind approach, the better we get at it until we’re able to carry the Christmas spirit throughout the New Year. 

During this holiday time, may God bless and give comfort to the families in Connecticut and those in America and around the world who have suffered great loss. Seek truth, offer hope and smile with an open heart to all who pass your way.

Merry Christmas to all!

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Your Child

Shorter Time Span for Kid's Allergy Shots

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Nearly 7 million children in the United States suffer with asthma.  While allergies and asthma are two different conditions, allergies often trigger asthma. Allergy shots can be very helpful in managing asthma and allergies, but usually require a 3 to 5 year commitment.

Polish researchers now say long-term control of allergic asthma can occur after only three years of allergy shots, instead of the currently recommended five years.

Dr. Iwona Stelmach of the Medical University of Lodz in Poland and colleagues said immunotherapy, or allergy shots, can alter the progression of allergic disease. Treatment, Stelmach said, alleviates patients of symptoms, while preventing asthma and the development of other allergies.

"The recommended duration of immunotherapy for long-term effectiveness has been three to five years," Stelmach, the study's lead author, said in a statement. "Our research shows that three years is an adequate duration for the treatment of childhood asthma associated with house dust mites. An additional two years adds no clinical benefit."

Dr. James Sublett, an allergist who is chairman of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology's Indoor Environment Committee, said not only does the shorter period of shots provide long-term therapeutic benefits for both children and adults, it can reduce total healthcare costs by 33 percent to 41 percent.

"It has long been observed that the effectiveness of allergy shots continue long after treatment has been completed," Sublett said. "

The Polish study was published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. 

Allergy-shots help build the immune system to fight specific allergens.

Some of the most common allergens are dust mites, pet dander, pollen, molds and cockroaches. Certain foods can also cause an allergic reaction as well as insect stings, medicines and chemicals.

The shots contain a purified form of the allergens that are causing problems. The dosage of the allergen is gradually increased over the first 4 to 5 months to a monthly maintenance dose, which is usually given for up to three to five years. Your child might not get symptom relief from allergies until higher doses are achieved at the end of the buildup phase. Once the highest effective and safe dose is reached, the frequency of shots gradually decreases to weekly, then biweekly, and then possibly monthly.

Allergy shots are safe and effective and can be given to children as young as 4 or 5 years old.

The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology offers these tips to parents to make sure their kids receive allergy shots safely:

  • Allergy shots should be administered only under the supervision of an allergist/immunologist or other doctor specifically trained in immunotherapy.
  • A child who is ill, especially with asthma or respiratory difficulties, should not receive further allergy shots until a doctor says it's safe.
  • To avoid adverse interactions, tell the doctor administering the injections beforehand of any current medications your child is taking.

Allergen immunotherapy isn't necessary for everyone with allergies. Many kids get along fine by living in homes that are as free as possible of allergens or by taking allergy medication during peak allergy season.

But many children battle allergies year-round, and some can't control their symptoms with medications. For them, allergen immunotherapy can be beneficial.

If your child suffers from asthma or chronic allergies, you might want to contact your pediatrician or family doctor and talk to him or her about allergy shots.

Sources: http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2012/10/07/Allergy-shots-only-needed-for-three-years/UPI-23831349667012/#ixzz28rsBT4Kw

http://kidshealth.org/parent/medical/allergies/shots.html#cat20714

Your Child

Asthmatic Kids Breathe Easier With Smoke-Free Air

For children with asthma, reducing exposure to environmental tobacco smoke greatly decreases their chance of an asthma flare-up, hospital admission or ER visit.

A new study shows that for children with asthma, reducing exposure to environmental tobacco smoke greatly decreases their chance of an asthma flare-up, hospital admission or emergency room visit. "We found this to be true when the child's exposure (to second-hand smoke) decreased, even if the decrease did not mean completely eliminating their exposure," said Dr. Lynn B. Gerald of the University of Arizona in Tucson. "Any reduction in environmental tobacco smoke exposure seems to greatly benefit these children."

Dr. Gerald's team looked at the association between changes in environmental tobacco smoke exposure and childhood asthma-related illness in 290 asthmatic children enrolled in a clinical trial of supervised asthma therapy. The average age of the children in the study was 11 years and 80 percent had moderate persistent asthma. At the beginning of the study, 28 percent of caregivers reported that the child was exposed to second-hand smoke in the home and 19 percent reported exposure to smoke outside the home only. At a follow-up interview, 74 percent of caregivers reported no change in the child's exposure to second-hand smoke, 17 percent reported less exposure, and 9 percent reported increased exposure. According to the report, which is published in the medical journal Chest, children who had any decrease in exposure to second-hand smoke over the course of one year had fewer episodes of poor asthma control, made fewer respiratory-related trips to the emergency room and were less apt to be hospitalized than children who had the same or increased exposure to second-hand smoke. "We were not surprised by the findings but we were surprised by the magnitude of the benefit that decreasing smoke exposure appeared to have," said Dr. Gerald. She said doctors can use this information as another "teaching point" for caregivers and parents of children with asthma. Dr. Gerald and her colleagues also concluded given that the majority of second-hand smoke exposure in the home is due to parents smoking, "the most effective environmental tobacco smoke reduction strategy may be to provide smoking cessation interventions to parents and possibly other household members."

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Your Child

Kids Are Consuming Way Too Much Salt

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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

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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

Kid’s With Partial Deafness Should be Treated

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Many parents that have a child with partial deafness do not get the condition treated according to new research.

“Traditionally, asymmetric deafness in childhood, particularly when only one ear is affected, has been overlooked or dismissed as a concern because the children have had some access to sound,” said lead author Karen Gordon of Archie’s Cochlear Implant Laboratory at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada.

“The problem is that children with asymmetric hearing still have a hearing loss,” Gordon said in an email to Rueters Health. “Without normal hearing from both ears, they experience deficits locating sounds around them.”

While a child with partial hearing can hear sounds, the task is more difficult when there are other noises in the room or other people speaking at the same time, Gordon said.

One of the main issues is lack of information,” said Dayse Tavora-Vieira of the University of Western Australia n West Perth, who was not part of the new review. “The implications of unilateral hearing loss/deafness have been historically underestimated by professionals and this has reflected on how they counsel parents.”

Also, the children may not show a handicap until educational, social and emotional concerns become clear later in life, she told Reuters Health in an email.

The researchers noted that newborns and young children with deafness in one ear should be treated early to help minimize long-term problems such as delayed speech and language development as well as being at risk of poor academic performance, usually with poorer vocabulary and simpler sentence structure than their normal-hearing peers, Tavora-Vieira said.  

Gordon and her colleagues reviewed research from neuroscience, audiology and clinical settings “that points to the existence of an impairment of the central representation of the poorer hearing ear if developmental asymmetric hearing is left untreated for years,” they write.

“We suggest that asymmetric hearing in children be reduced by providing appropriate auditory prostheses in each ear with limited delay,” Gordon noted. “The type of auditory prosthesis will depend on the degree and type of hearing loss.”

According to the 2009 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey, almost two in every 1,000 babies have some form of deafness discovered by early life screening.

With those kinds of numbers, what types of treatments are available for a child’s hearing loss? Currently, there is the cochlear implant for profound deafness, a hearing aid, a bone anchored hearing aid or a personal listening device like a radio-enabled ear-bud in the hearing ear. For the last treatment, a speaking source, like a teacher, speaks into a microphone, which transmits sound by FM signal to the ear-bud.

“Appropriate recommendations can be made by otolaryngologists and audiologists,” Gordon said.

Parents should seek a second opinion if a diagnosis is made and no options for rehabilitation are offered, Tavora-Vieira noted.

The research was published in the June online edition of Pediatrics.

Source: Kathryn Doyle, http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/06/10/us-child-deafness-diagnosis-treatment-idUSKBN0OQ29A20150610

 

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