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Your Teen

Teenage Girls May Take Longer to Recover From Concussions

2:00

Teenage boys and girls can both suffer a concussion during sports activities; however, female athletes may take more than twice as long to fully recover, according to a new study.

Researchers examined data on 110 male and 102 female athletes, ranging in age from 11 to 18 years, who sustained their first concussion while participating in sports. 

To assess the duration of symptoms, the researchers examined patient records for young athletes treated for concussions at one medical practice in New Jersey from 2011 to 2013. The athletes were 15 years old on average.

Half of the girls reported still having symptoms at least 28 days after sustaining a concussion, while half of the boys no longer had symptoms after 11 days, the study found.

Boys were more likely to receive their injuries while participating in football, soccer, wrestling, lacrosse and ice hockey. Most of the girls’ injuries were from soccer, basketball, softball, field hockey or cheerleading.

Overall, 75 percent of the boys recovered from their concussions within three weeks, compared to just 42 percent of girls.

Researchers acknowledge that the study was a small group and focused on a single medical practice.

It’s also possible that some of the difference in recovery time for boys and girls was due to pre-existing medical conditions, notes one injury prevention director.

According to Dr. Mark Halstead, director of the Sports Concussion Clinic at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, females that who participate in similar sports as males have a higher rate of concussion.

“Boys and girls likely have different recovery courses, but we have to treat each concussion individually,” Halstead, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email to Reuters Health. . “Adult coaches need to create an environment and culture for their players that stresses that a concussion is an important injury to not downplay and encourage the reporting of symptoms.”

Experts agree that the most important take-away from the study is that it is extremely important for adolescents who sustain a concussion to seek proper care and follow through with recommended treatment and rest following an injury.

A teenager, like an adult, may lose consciousness after getting a concussion, but the majority of people do not pass out after a head injury.

Watch for these symptoms if your teen has suffered a head injury:

·      Dizziness

·      A headache that lasts more than a few minutes

·      Trouble with vision, balance or coordination

·      Nausea or vomiting

·      Difficulty concentrating, thinking or making decisions

·      Trouble speaking, slurring or making sense

·      Confusion, sleepiness, emotional for no reason

·      Seizures

If your child experiences a head injury, make sure that a doctor examines him or her. If any of these symptoms persists, seek immediate medical attention. Concussions should always be taken seriously.

Story source: Lisa Rapaport; http://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-girls-concussion-sport/after-concussion-teen-girls-may-take-longer-to-heal-than-boys-idUSKBN1CH2SS

http://kidshealth.org/en/teens/concussions.html

 

 

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Keeping Kids Heart Healthy

Your Child

Tips to Keep Your Child’s Room Allergen-Free

2:15

Symptoms such as sneezing, stuffy or runny nose, watery eyes and itchy nose, throat and eyes or roof of the mouth are common in children that suffer from respiratory allergies. If you’re looking for ways to help reduce your child’s exposure to allergens that hide within homes, one place you can start is in his or her bedroom. 

Typical allergens include: dust mites, pet dander, pollen, mold and pests.

Dust Mites- Dr. David Stukus, associate professor of pediatrics in the division of allergy and immunology at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, offers these suggestions for reducing dust mites:

·      Use zippered, dust mite-proof bed covers. These covers are made of materials with pores that are too small to let dust mites and their waste products through, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). They should cover the mattress, box spring, and all pillows on the bed.

·      Wash bed linens at least once a week. This should be done using a hot water setting to kill and remove as many dust mites as possible, as well as the skin cells they feed on. The water should be at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the AAFA.

·      Remove or treat stuffed animals. “Ideally, stuffed animals should be removed from the bed completely,” Stukus says. An alternative solution is to keep one favorite stuffed toy on the bed and put it in the freezer for 24 hours once a week, then put it through a dryer cycle to kill and remove dust mites.

·       Remove carpets. Dust mites can thrive in carpeting. Avoid wall-to-wall carpeting and opt for hardwood floors or throw rugs instead. Just make sure to regularly wash or dry clean throw rugs, notes the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology. Dust mites can also hide in curtains, blinds, and upholstered furniture, according to the AAFA, so you may also want to avoid having these in your child’s room.

Pet Dander – Some breed may be touted as a “hypoallergenic dog or cat,” but Stukus says there is no such thing. Any animal can bring dander into the house. To keep dander out of your child’s room, try these steps:

·      The first step is to keep pets out of your child’s bedroom. It’s not as easy as it sounds, especially when your child becomes attached to a family pet. “Any access to animals, even for limited periods of time, will increase the dander levels in the room,” Stukus says. Depending on how serious your child’s symptoms are, you may want to consider not having a pet.

·      If you decide that having a pet is ok, Stukus suggests that you bathe your pet once or twice a week. “Families usually laugh when I suggest this,” Stukus says, but it’s an effective way to reduce dander.” Some pets can handle a bath that often, but others will develop skin conditions from excess cleaning. Discuss your pet’s breed and care with a veterinarian before trying this.

·       Vacuum and dust the room at least weekly. This can help remove any dander that makes its way into the bedroom. The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology recommends using a vacuum with a HEPA filter to reduce pet dander, as well as other allergens.

Pollen - One of the worse allergens is pollen. There’s no hiding from it but there are ways to help make the bedroom a “safe zone” when the pollen count is high.

·      Keep the windows closed. It may be tempting to open the window when the weather is cool and the idea of a little breeze to air things out sounds appealing, but even short periods of an open window can let pollen into the room.

·      Use air conditioning.  This can help filter pollen out of the air and provide a comfortable room temperature when days and evenings are warm. When winter sets in, pollen is usually not a problem.

Mold- In the early 2000s, a toxic mold panic swept the nation. Today, a lot more is understood about the various types of mold. While mold can become a problem, it’s a common substance. “Mold is everywhere in our world, but it rarely poses a problem unless you have obvious overgrowth,” Stukus says. This is often visible in the form of large stains or black spots on drywall or other surfaces.

·      If you notice mold in your child’s bedroom, treat the source of the moisture.

·      Excess mold is almost always caused by an errant source of water, such as a leak from the outside or a pipe inside the house. In some cases, you may also need to remove and replace the mold-covered surface in the room.

Pests – Many people aren’t aware of how cockroaches (and even ladybugs) can cause a respiratory illness. If insects or other pests are a problem in your child’s bedroom:

·      Keep food and drinks out of the bedroom. “Cockroaches generally congregate towards areas with water and food,” Stukus says, which is why they’re typically found in kitchens and bathrooms.

·      Fix water leaks. If cockroaches or other pests are found in your child’s bedroom despite the absence of food and beverages, then you may have water leakage that needs to be fixed. This can be a problem in certain public and rental housing, he says.

If you need to contact your landlord about fixing a problem related to your child’s allergies, it’s a good idea to include as much documentation as possible, including a letter from an allergist, Stukus says.

Can children outgrow allergies? Sometimes. Respiratory allergies such as seasonal allergic rhinitis (hay fever) can fade over time or improve.

The first step in helping your child cope with allergies is to have him or her tested for allergens to find out what triggers a reaction. Your pediatrician or allergist will then be able to prescribe medications and or provide more information on other treatments or solutions.

Story source: Quinn Phillips, https://www.everydayhealth.com/hs/managing-respiratory-allergies-children/keep-bedroom-allergy-free/

Your Baby

Type1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease

2:00

Celiac disease is a serious immune disorder that can occur in children and adults. The disease causes the immune system to attack the lining of the small intestine when gluten is consumed, according to the Celiac Disease Foundation. Gluten is a protein found in wheat. Celiac disease may develop any time after wheat or other gluten containing foods are introduced into the diet, typically after 6-9 months of age.

New research suggests that parents of young children with type1 diabetes should be on the lookout for symptoms of celiac disease as well.

The study found these youngsters appear to face a nearly tripled risk of developing celiac disease autoantibodies, which eventually can lead to the disorder.

"Type 1 diabetes and celiac disease are closely related genetically," explained study author Dr. William Hagopian.

"People with one disease tend to get the other. People who have type 1 diabetes autoantibodies should get screened for celiac autoantibodies," Hagopian said. He directs the diabetes program at the Pacific Northwest Research Institute in Seattle.

Symptoms of celiac disease include stomach pain and bloating, diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, weight loss, fatigue and delayed growth and puberty.

Dr. James Grendell is chief of the division of gastroenterology at NYU Winthrop Hospital in Mineola, N.Y. He explained why knowing ahead of time that celiac may be developing can be helpful. 

"Early diagnosis of celiac disease is important to initiate treatment with a gluten-free diet to prevent complications, particularly growth retardation in children," he said.

"Other significant complications include iron-deficiency anemia, osteoporosis and a form of skin rash. Less common, but potentially lethal, complications include lymphoma and carcinoma of the small intestine," Grendell added.

Treatment for the disease is avoiding eating or drinking anything that contains gluten. Fortunately these days, there are many products that typically contain gluten but are now offered gluten-free. These products usually cost more than their gluten counterparts, but offer more of a variety in the diet.

While the study did find a link between type1 diabetes and celiac disease, that doesn’t mean that type1 diabetes necessarily causes celiac disease.

However, parents should be aware that if their child has type1 diabetes, he or she should be screened for celiac disease. Early intervention with the proper diet can increase the possibility of a good outcome as their child ages.

Story source: Serena Gordon, https://consumer.healthday.com/diabetes-information-10/type-i-diabetes-news-182/where-there-s-type-1-diabetes-celiac-disease-may-follow-727354.html

Parenting

Have a Family Plan for Disasters

2:00

Would your family members know what to do if faced with a disaster?  Thousands of families learned the answer to that question with the recent hurricane catastrophes. 

"The biggest issue that we as first responders run into is that people fail to plan. Then things that could have been simple issues become big problems," said Scott Buchle, program manager for Penn State Health Life Lion EMS. The emergency service operates throughout south central Pennsylvania.

While hurricanes may be somewhat limited in their geographical impact, other types of disasters are far more common. Countless Americans live in areas prone to blizzards, wildfires, tornadoes or earthquakes. Even severe thunderstorms or ice storms can bring flash floods or widespread power outages. 

Having a plan on what to do if faced with any of these disasters can save lives, as well as lower the amount of anxiety and unpreparedness that comes with a natural or man-made calamity.

If you live in an area where the weather can challenge your safety, you should have enough water, non-perishable food, medications and a medication list, battery backups, a generator and other supplies to get through 48 to 72 hours, Buchle said in a Penn State news release.

Research your neighborhood and find out how close fire and police stations are.  Do you know in what direction you would need to go to find higher ground, where a tornado shelter is located or an emergency room? Is there a municipal building with a generator nearby?

Discuss and come up with a plan with your family the best way to respond during an emergency. Have a contact list of state and federal emergency agencies, and decide where you will meet up if separated.

You should also understand how your house is built and where you can go to be safe in case of flooding or a tornado. Many homes these days are “open concept” and don’t have sheltered inner rooms. Consider purchasing a tornado shelter if you live in areas prone to tornados.

"You also need to know who your emergency contacts are and the numbers," says Russell Knapp, supervisor of fire safety for the Penn State Health Medical Center campus.

What if you lose your cell phone – would you know the numbers off the top of your head? A laminated contact list that is in your wallet or purse is helpful to have when faced with an emergency.

It's also important to keep a current list of medications you take, the dosage, and how often you take each one, in case you have to seek safety in a shelter.

"You can give that [information] to people who can help you get the medicine you need," Buchle said.

People who use home medical equipment that requires electricity should consider what they would do if the power is out for several days. Plan ahead and if necessary have a generator and fuel on standby.

If you require medications that must be refrigerated, keep a cooler and ice packs on hand in case of power outages, these experts suggested.

Families with young children can also have a stash of diapers, formula, bottles, clean water and wipes ready to grab and run.

And don’t forget the pets. For many people, these animals are part of the family. Keep an adequate supply of pet food on hand and extra kitty litter.

In the middle of an emergency is not the time to try and find all these things. Have a separate location where your emergency supplies are located and in bags, ready to grab and leave with. Most of these supplies can be packed; medicines will need to be easily accessible.

Having an emergency plan that everyone is aware of in case of a disaster can help immensely when time is of the essence.

Story source: Robert Preidt, https://consumer.healthday.com/public-health-information-30/safety-and-public-health-news-585/how-would-your-family-weather-a-disaster-726589.html

Parenting

Recent Hurricane Disasters May Have Lasting Impact on Kids

2:15

Children may experience long lasting trauma from either living through or even viewing images of natural disasters such as hurricanes, Harvey and Irma, experts say.

"Compared to adults, children suffer more from exposure to disasters, including psychological, behavioral and physical problems, as well as difficulties learning in school," Jessica Dym Bartlett, a senior research scientist at Child Trends, said in that organization's news release.

It’s reasonable to think that children who have actually had to live through the devastation of being in a hurricane could be traumatized and suffer post-traumatic stress syndrome, (PTSD.) But child mental health experts say that even kids who have seen pictures of the damage and watched news reports can also be traumatized and may develop similar symptoms of PTSD such as depression and anxiety.

"Understand that trauma reactions vary widely. Children may regress, demand extra attention and think about their own needs before those of others -- natural responses that should not be met with anger or punishment," Dym Bartlett said.

To help children through this difficult time, parents should create a comforting and safe environment where their child’s basic needs are met. Keep to regular schedules and other routines that provide children with a sense of safety and predictability.

Children that stay busy are also less likely to have continuing negative thoughts; boredom can worsen adverse thoughts and behaviors. Youngsters are less likely to feel distress if they play and interact with others, Dym Bartlett noted.

Limiting your child’s exposure to the continuous images and descriptions of disasters coming from news reports is also helpful, but it’s not necessary to try and eliminate everything pertaining to catastrophes. It’s better to help children understand what has happened in age-appropriate language and to empathize hope and positivity. Reassurance that you are there for them and will do all that is humanly possible to protect them can ease some of the fear associated with disasters.

"Find age-appropriate ways for children to help. Even very young children benefit from being able to make a positive difference in others' lives while learning important lessons about empathy, compassion and gratitude," Dym Bartlett said.

If a child continues to have difficulties coping for longer than six weeks after an event, like the hurricanes, the National Child Traumatic Stress Network recommends seeking professional help.

Parents and caregivers should also make sure that they take care of their own emotional health during these trying and sad times.

Story source: Health Day News, https://www.upi.com/Health_News/2017/09/12/Hurricanes-may-take-lasting-emotional-toll-on-kids/4141505232381/?utm_source=sec&utm_campaign=sl&utm_medium=14

Your Baby

Whooping Cough Shot During Pregnancy Protects Newborns

2:00

Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, typically affects babies younger than 6 months who haven’t received or aren’t old enough to receive the vaccine. It can cause such uncontrollable fits of coughing that it can be deadly for babies, who may stop breathing, have seizures, develop pneumonia, or suffer brain damage.

Since 2012, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended that pregnant women receive a vaccine called Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis), to prevent their newborn from getting the bacterial infection.

While the preventative measure is working to lower the numbers of infant whooping cough cases, only about half of mothers-to-be are opting to receive the vaccine, according to a new study.

Researchers from the CDC analyzed data from 2011 to 2014, from six states, on babies younger than 2 months. The investigators found that Tdap vaccination in the third trimester of pregnancy prevented 78 percent of whooping cough cases.

Among babies who developed whooping cough despite their mothers’ vaccination, 90 percent had mild cases and did not require hospitalization.

"Women have such a great opportunity to help protect their babies before they enter the world by getting the Tdap vaccine while pregnant," said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. 

Babies cannot receive the vaccination before 2 months of age and infants younger than 1 year are at the highest risk for severe complications or death from whooping cough. Each year, five to 15 babies die from whooping cough in the United States. In most cases, these infants were too young to get their own shot, the CDC researchers said. So far this year, more than 11,000 cases have been reported.

Pertussis is highly contagious. The bacterium spreads from person to person through tiny drops of fluid from an infected person's nose or mouth. These may become airborne when the person sneezes, coughs, or laughs. Inhaling the drops or getting the drops on their hands and then touching their mouths or noses can then infect others.

"This study highlights how babies can benefit when their mothers get the vaccine, and reinforces CDC's recommendation for women to get Tdap vaccine in the third trimester of each pregnancy," Messonnier added in an agency news release.

Story sources: Marie McCullough, http://www.philly.com/philly/health/kids-families/study-whooping-cough-vaccination-during-pregnancy-protects-newborns-20170928.html

Robert Preidt, https://consumer.healthday.com/public-health-information-30/centers-for-disease-control-news-120/whooping-cough-shot-works-but-many-moms-to-be-skip-it-cdc-726985.html

Your Teen

More Teens Getting Tattoos and Piercings

2:00

To many a parent’s chagrin, tattoos and piercings have skyrocketed in popularity among teenagers. While mom and dad may not want to have a serious discussion about the pros and cons of getting a tattoo or body part pierced with their adolescent, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says pediatricians should be taking to their patients about the health risks and providing safety guidelines.

The AAP released its first report this week regarding tattooing and piercing for adolescents and young adults. The report discusses health risk issues from tattoos and piercings as well providing guidelines to talk to about important safety measures.

"Let's face it, kids are getting tattoos or piercings now," said Dr. Jay Greenspan, chairman of pediatrics at Nemours/A.I. Dupont Hospital for Children. "We know it's mainstream and we want the medical community to be a part of it."

It's unclear how many American teenagers have tattoos and piercings. The report cited a Pew Research Center study that said about 38 percent of young people ages 18 to 29 have at least one tattoo.

In some states, it’s illegal for someone to tattoo or body pierce a minor without the parent’s written consent. But we’re talking about teens here, and where there is a will; there is often a way found around any constraints.  That’s why Greenspan believes that an honest discussion is necessary.

Ten years ago, there was an association between tattoos and alcohol, drug use, violence, sexual activity, eating disorders and even suicide. But that's not the case anymore, the report said.

Today’s teens are more likely to associate tattoos and body piercings with celebrities and sports figures than with the seedier side of life.

Seventy-two percent of teens that have tattoos have them in places that can be covered, the report said. High-ear cartilage is one of the most common visible piercings, followed by navel, tongue and nipple and genital. 

While the rate of tattoo complications is unclear, the AAP believes it's likely low. Common tattoo complications can be inflammation, infections and neoplasms. Preexisting conditions like psoriasis, systemic lupus and sarcoidosis can lead to reactions.

Data on body piercing complications is also minimal. What is known is that teenagers who have a higher risk of infection, particularly those who are diabetic or taking blood thinning medication, may have a greater risk of complications when getting a piercing. 

For piercings, stainless steel posts and studs are recommended to avoid skin reactions. Cheaper products typically have lower quality materials that can lead to a reaction.

So, what do you do if your teen wants a tattoo on their arm or stud placed in their eyebrow? Once you’ve talked it through and if you decide that you’re ok with it, make sure to find a reputable parlor (there are many) and consult with your doctor beforehand to learn how to care for and what to expect during the healing process. Tattoos and body piercings may have become a trend that won’t go away, but they still involve needles and require that certain precautions be taken.

Story source: Meredith Newman, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/09/20/young-people-tattoos-and-piercings-report/686360001/

 

Daily Dose

Homeopathic Medicine

1:30 to read

I am sitting here writing this while “sucking” on a honey-lemon throat lozenge and drinking hot tea…as it is certainly cough and cold season and unfortunately I woke up with a scratchy throat. I am trying to “pray” it away and drink enough tea to drown it out. While I am not sure it will work, drinking hot tea all day will not hurt you!

 

At the same time (multi-tasking) I am also reading an email from a mother with a 4 month old baby, and they are out of town. Her baby now has a fever and runny nose and she sent me a picture of a homeopathic product for “mucus and cold relief” and wonders if it is safe to give to her infant.  The short answer is NO…even though the product says BABY on the label and has a picture of an infant.

 

Although homeopathic medicines were first used in the 18th century and are “probably safe” it is still unclear if they really work. Unfortunately,  there have been adverse events and deaths associated with some products ( see articles on teething tablets). The principle of homeopathy is that “ailments can be cured by taking small amounts of products that, in large amounts, would cause the very symptom you are treating. In other words, “like cures like” as these products contain “natural ingredients” that cause the symptoms that you are trying to treat, but that have been so diluted as to hopefully stimulate your body’s immune system to fight that very symptom. In this case, congestion and runny nose due to a cold.

 

So…I looked at all of the ingredients which included Byronia, Euphrasia, Hepar and Natrum…to name a few. Byronia is used as a laxative for constipation, Euphrasia is supposed to help with inflammation, Hepar is for people who tend to get “cold and therefore cranky and irritable” and Natrum is used for inflammation due to “too much lactic acid”.  This is the short version. The bottle also says contains less than 0.1% alcohol, but it has alcohol! 

 

While the FDA does monitor how homeopathic medications are made, they do not require these companies to show proof that these medications do what they say they do, as they are “natural”.   With that being said, natural does not always mean effective or safe.  Just as over the counter cold and cough medications are not recommended for children under the age of 2, I too would not recommend homeopathic products be given to an infant.

 

Best treatment for a cold and cough in young children?  Use a saline nasal spray followed by nasal suctioning to relieve the nasal congestion and mucus. I would also use a cool mist humidifier in the baby’s room to keep moisture in the air and help thin the mucus ( especially once the heat is on in the house). Make sure the baby is still taking fluids (breast or bottle) but you may also add some electrolyte solution to give your baby extra fluids if you feel as if they are not eating as well.  Lastly, always watch for any respiratory distress or prolonged fever and check in with your pediatrician!

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DR SUE'S DAILY DOSE

If your child snores, is this a sign of something more serious?

DR SUE'S DAILY DOSE

If your child snores, is this a sign of something more serious?

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