Twitter Facebook RSS Feed Print
Parenting

Is Your Child Ready for a Tricycle or Bicycle?

2:00

Whether it’s a birthday or the holidays, sooner or later you’re going to start thinking about either a tricycle or bicycle for your little one. Despite some potential hazards, riding bikes and trikes is a fundamental part of childhood.

At what age is a child typically ready for a trike? Most children are able to handle one around 3 years old.

You want to look for a trike that is low to the ground and has big wheels. These are less likely to tip over. You also want to have your child try on several bicycle helmets to make sure it fits properly. 

It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway, tricycles should only be used in protected places. Because they are so low to the ground, they are difficult for motorists to see on a street or in a driveway. Drivers need to be particularly vigilant in checking to see whether a youngster is anywhere near the car before pulling out of a driveway. Without a backup camera, you won’t see a small child on a tricycle when backing out.

Once your little one masters a tricycle, when is it safe to move on to a 2-wheeler? The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children should be at least 5 years old or older before learning to ride a bicycle. One of the most important tips for buying a bicycle for your child is to purchase the correct size. The wrong size bike can cause your child to lose control be injured.

While it may be fun to surprise your little one with a bike, he or she really needs to try it out first to help choose the correct size. Sometimes parents are tempted to buy one that their child can grow into – don’t do it. A bike that is too large is hard to maneuver and especially dangerous for a first time bike owner.

How do you know how to find the right size? The AAP offers these tips on how to test any style bike for the proper fit:

  • Sitting on the seat with hands on the handlebar, your child must be able to place the balls of both feet on the ground.
  • Straddling the center bar, your child should be able to stand with both feet flat on the ground with about a 1-inch clearance between the crotch and the bar.
  • When buying a bike with hand brakes for an older child, make sure that the child can comfortably grasp the brakes and apply sufficient pressure to stop the bike.

Also, think about your child’s coordination skills. You can consider coaster brakes until your child is older and more experienced.​

Many of today’s adults didn’t grow up with helmets, but they have proven exceptionally valuable in preventing serious brain injury from falls. Make sure your child has a Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)-approved helmet.

Let’s face it; tricycles and bicycles are one of a child’s first steps towards independence. Once balance and braking are mastered, the freedom of moving through space on your own is intoxicating. They’re also a great way for families to exercise and spend some quality time together outside.

Story sources: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-play/Pages/Choosing-the-Right-Size-Bicycle.aspx

https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-play/Pages/Ready-For-A-Tricycle.aspx

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 Child

Playtex recalls 3.6 Million Plates and Bowls

1:30

Playtex is recalling 3.6 million plates and bowls for children. The clear plastic layer over the graphics can peel or bubble from the surface of the plates and bowls, posing a choking hazard to young children.

The plates have various printed designs including cars, construction scenes, giraffes, princesses, superheroes and more.  The white polypropylene plates and bowls also have a colored rim on top and a non-slip bottom. 

Playtex is written on the bottom of the plates and bowls. The plates and bowls were sold separately and together as sets. A Mealtime set is comprised of a plate, a bowl, two utensils and a cup. 

The company has received 372 reports of the clear plastic layer over the graphics bubbling or peeling. The firm has received 11 reports of pieces of the detached clear plastic found in children’s mouths, including four reports of choking on a piece of the clear plastic layer. 

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled plates and bowls and take them away from young children. Consumers should contact Playtex for a full refund.

The plates and bowls were sold at Babies“R”Us, Target, Walmart, and other stores nationwide and online at Amazon.com from October 2009 through October 2017 for about $2.50 for a single plate or bowl and $15 for a Mealtime set.   

Consumers can contact Playtex toll-free at 888-220-2075 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or online at www.playtexproducts.com and click on “Recall” for more information.  

A few sample images are provided below, others can be found on https://www.cpsc.gov/Recalls/2018/Playtex-Recalls-Childrens-Plates-and-Bowls

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

Parenting

Labor Day History for Kids

2:00

For younger Americans, Labor Day signals the end of summer and the beginning of a new school year. Communities, families and friends often celebrate with parades, parties and cookouts.  Many children and young adults don’t know the significance of Labor Day and how it came to be. Here’s a brief history that can help explain this national holiday to youngsters.

Labor Day is also known as the “workingperson’s holiday.” That’s because it was created to celebrate and honor hard working Americans that helped build this great country.

So, how did Labor Day come to be? It began in the 19th century.

During the second “Industrial Revolution” America was experiencing an explosion of new and exciting ideas and inventions. In the late 1800s lots of people from rural areas and farms, as well immigrants from other countries, moved into the cities looking for work. This population explosion completely altered the landscape of the American city.

One of the most historical inventions was the creation of the assembly line – a way for workers to make more products quicker and cheaper.  Another major change was in transportation. The steam engine allowed trains to carry products and passengers faster and farther than ever before. Coal became the primary source of power to move the train engines, heat buildings and generate electricity. With an abundance of people looking for jobs, factory and mine owners had plenty of willing workers to choose from. While this may have been good for the owners, it was not so good for the workers.

During these times, many people labored very long hours, with little pay, in unsafe factories and mines to produce the products needed. Even children as young as six years old worked all day in the same factories and mines and made even less money than the adults. Their jobs were physically and mentally hard as well as dangerous.

As conditions worsened, the workers decided they needed better and safer places to work, higher wages and an age limit on who could be hired. They formed groups known as unions to help make this happen. Sometimes the union workers would hold marches and protests to complain about the bad conditions and low pay. It wasn’t long before unions grew in membership and spread to different trades (or jobs) around the country.

To accomplish the changes the unions wanted, members organized strikes, protests and rallies. Some of the factory, companies and mine owners fought against the unions by firing the members, bringing in new workers and hiring people that would attack the protesters. On several occasions, police officers were involved in breaking up the protests or removing union workers. Sometimes the protests and strikes became very violent and people lost their lives or were severely injured. It was a very difficult time for people standing up for the right to work in a safe place, for a reasonable amount of time and to be paid an honest wage.

On September 5, 1882, almost 10,000 workers marched to Union Square in New York City marking the first unofficial Labor Day parade in U.S history.

Every year after that, this celebration of workers became more popular in other parts of the United States. In 1887, Oregon was the first state to pass a law making Labor Day a holiday. The same year, other states such as Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York also began passing laws recognizing Labor Day as a holiday.

Seven years later, in 1894, Congress passed an act that made Labor Day a national holiday. From that time till now, the first Monday of September is dedicated to celebrating the bravery and tenacity of American workers.

Happy Labor Day from the KidsDr!

 

Your Child

Antibiotic Resistance Rising in Kids with Urinary Tract Infections

2:00

Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) affect about 3 percent of children in the United States each year and account for more than 1 million visits to a pediatrician.

The most common cause of a UTI is the bacterium E.coli, which normally lives in the large intestine and are present in a child’s stool. The bacterium enters the urethra and travels up the urinary tract causing an infection. Typical ways for an infection to occur is when a child’s bottom isn’t properly wiped or the bladder doesn’t completely empty.

Problems with the structure or function of the urinary tract commonly contribute to UTIs in infants and young children.

UTIs are usually treated with antibiotics but a new scientific review warns that many kids are failing to respond to antibiotic treatment.

The reason, according to the researchers, is drug resistance following years of over-prescribing and misusing antibiotics.

"Antimicrobial resistance is an internationally recognized threat to health," noted study author Ashley Bryce, a doctoral fellow at the Center for Academic Primary Care at the University of Bristol in the U.K.

The threat is of particular concern among the younger patients, the authors said, especially because UTIs are the most common form of pediatric bacterial infections.

Young children are more vulnerable to complications including kidney scarring and kidney failure, so they require prompt, appropriate treatment, added Bryce and co-author Ceire Costelloe. Costelloe is a fellow in Healthcare Associated Infections and Antimicrobial Resistance at Imperial College London, also in the U.K.

"Bacterial infections resistant to antibiotics can limit the availability of effective treatment options," ultimately doubling a patient's risk of death, they noted.

The study team reviewed 58 prior investigations conducted in 26 countries that collectively looked at more than 77,000 E. coli samples.

Researchers found that in wealthier countries, such as the U.S., 53 percent of pediatric UTI cases were found to be resistant to amoxicillin, one of the most commonly prescribed primary care antibiotics. Other antibiotics such as trimethoprim and co-amoxiclav (Augmentin) were also found to be non-effective with a quarter of young patients resistant and 8 percent resistant respectively.

In poorer developing countries, resistance was even higher at 80 percent, 60 percent respectively and more than a quarter of the patients were resistant to ciprofloxacin (Cipro), and 17 percent to nitrofurantoin (Macrobid)).

The study team said they couldn’t give a definitive reason about cause and effect but said the problem in wealthier countries probably relates to primary care doctors' routine and excessive prescription of antibiotics to children.

In poorer nations, "one possible explanation is the availability of antibiotics over the counter," they said, making the medications too easy to access and abuse.

"If left unaddressed, antibiotic resistance could re-create a world in which invasive surgeries are impossible and people routinely die from simple bacterial infections," they added.

In an accompanying editorial, Grant Russell, head of the School of Primary Health Care at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, said the only surprise was the extent of the resistance and how many first-line antibiotics were likely to be ineffective.

If current trends persist, he warned, it could lead to a serious situation in which relatively cheap and easy-to-administer oral antibiotics will no longer be of practical benefit to young UTI patients. The result would be a greater reliance on much more costly intravenous medications.

The problem of antibiotic resistance for bacterial infections has been on the minds of scientist for some time now.  Cases are increasing at an unprecedented rate causing alarm and a call for more public education and due diligence on the part of physicians that prescribes antibiotics.

Story source: Alan Mozes, http://www.webmd.com/children/news/20160316/antibiotic-resistance-common-in-kids-urinary-tract-infections

 

 

Your Child

5 Fitness and Health APPS for Kids This Summer

2:00

Want to be more productive, creative, improve your gaming skills, write the next great best seller, explore new recipes or edit photos in your phone? There’s an app for that! If you can imagine it- there’s probably software designed for that very purpose.

There are numerous health apps out there, and many adults swear that they are getting and staying healthier by using them. But, what about apps dedicated to children’s health and fitness?

Here’s are five from the list of apps that have been reviewed and found a good fit for kids by commonsensemedia.org. The website provides a list of apps accompanied by reviews, appropriate age group, ease of play, violence, sex, consumerism and privacy & security ratings.

1.     Weight Loss for Kids and Teens by Kurbo Health - Age group -10 +

Weight Loss for Kids and Teens by Kurbo Health is a health app that helps kids age 8 to 18 track food choices, exercise minutes, and personal goals. The app and its related Kurbo coaching system are based on the Traffic Light Diet System developed at Stanford University. It categorizes food into green, yellow, and red choices to help kids learn to choose healthy options more often, without totally restricting any foods. There's also an exercise log, a goal-setting and weight-tracking tool, health-education games, and videos explaining each concept. Although the app is free, more personalized help is available through the Kurbo program's website, which includes live coaches. An Android version is scheduled for release soon.

2.     Zombies, Run! Age group – Age group 16-18

ZOMBIES, RUN! Runners become "Runner 5" in a post-apocalyptic community running from zombies and collecting supplies for survival. The story unfolds in episodes interspersed with the runner's own music playlist. Seasons one through three are included with the purchase, and additional episodes can be purchased in-app. Players can use the supplies they collect during their runs to build up their base and continue the fun after their runs.

3.     Stop, Breathe & Think – Age group 10 +

Stop, Breathe & Think is an app that encourages kids to learn the three skills in its title. Kids will stop and take stock of their thoughts and feelings; they'll breathe through guided meditations; and they'll think with increased kindness and compassion for the world around them. It's a great tool for developing positive habits of mind for kids and adults.

4.     LiVe – Age group 10+

LiVe is a fitness and nutrition app geared toward teens and tweens. Based on "8 Healthy Habits," the app encourages kids to set nutrition goals (such as eating a certain number of fruits and veggies and limiting sugary drinks), get more physical activity, eat meals with their families, and keep a positive attitude about food and body image. The easy, fun teen-centric graphics, solid (yet brief) information, and simple trackers give tweens and teens concrete ways to set these goals and track their progress.

5.     FitFu- Age group 13 +

FitFu is a combination of several other "Fu" fitness apps that teaches teens basic exercises, tracks their progress, and shares the information with friends. Because your device must move with your body, this app may encourage you to buy a strap or armband and is not intended for use on the iPad. There are 13 exercises included, such as lunges, pull-ups, and crunches. For each exercise, you hold or strap your device onto your body, and the accelerometer counts your reps. When finished, you can share your workouts with friends via email or Facebook or by connecting with friends who also have the app. Setting up a profile requires an email address or Facebook. You are not able to track exercises that are not included in the app. FitFu users must be 13 or older according to FitFu's terms of service.

The list above offers just a few of the apps parents can check out but there are other websites that also offer kid’s health apps and information.  Take a few moments and investigate and see what is out there; you may find some that fit your child better.

With school out and kids ready to enjoy the summer, parents can point them towards apps that can actually encourage moving, health and fitness in a fun and engaging way.

And of course, the kidsdr.com not only keeps you up on all the latest pediatric medical studies and news, but also provides in-depth discussions on kids health with pediatrician Dr. Sue Hubbard, videos, parenting q&a and safety recalls related to children’s products. You can also download the kidsdr app for quick and easy access to information - and it's free! 

Source: https://www.commonsensemedia.org/reviews/category/app/genre/health-fitness-65

http://www.kidsdr.com

 

Your Child

CDC, White House Urge Measles Vaccinations

2:00

In 2002, when measles were essentially declared eliminated in the U.S., scientists didn’t expect parents would begin to opt out of the MMH vaccinations for their children during the next 5 years. The vaccine is safe and effective, so who wouldn’t want their child protected from a painful and potentially fatal disease?

Turns out that there are American parents who fear vaccines and children who visit from other countries where the vaccine is not available, widely distributed or required for travel.  Measles hasn’t been eliminated around the world and has reared its ugly head again the states.

So far, more than 90 people have been diagnosed in California and the disease has spread to 13 other states including Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, Nebraska, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Washington as well as Mexico.

According to public health officials, the current outbreak has been linked to 58 cases that began when an infected person from outside the United States visited Disneyland in Anaheim between Dec. 15 and Dec. 20.

Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said a traveler could still easily bring in the disease from abroad.

"This is a wake-up call to make sure we keep measles from getting a foothold in our country," she said.

The measles vaccine is part of a grouping of vaccines known as MMH (measles, mumps and rubella.) These diseases spread from person to person through the air. They are highly contagious. You can easily catch them by being around someone who is already infected, but not showing symptoms.

The MMH vaccine can protect children (and adults) from all three of these diseases.

There are valid medical reasons why some people should not receive the vaccine that include:

·      Anyone who has had life-threatening allergic reaction the antibiotic neomycin or any other component of the MMH vaccine.

·      People who are sick at the time the vaccine is scheduled. They should wait till they recover before getting the vaccine.

·      Pregnant women should not get the vaccine until after giving birth. Women should avoid getting pregnant for 4 weeks after vaccination with the MMR vaccine.

·      People with compromised immune systems .You should tell your doctor if you have or are being treated for or with:

o   HIV/AIDS

o   Steroids

o   Cancer

o   A low platelet count

o   Have received another vaccine within the past 4 weeks

o   A transfusion or received other blood products.

The outbreak has renewed debate over the so-called anti-vaccination movement in which fears about potential side effects of vaccines, fueled by now-debunked theories suggesting a link to autism, have led a small minority of parents to refuse to allow their children to be inoculated.

Schuchat called it "frustrating" that some Americans had opted out of the vaccine for non-medical reasons, saying it was crucial that they be given good information about the safety and reliability of inoculations.

There is no specific treatment for measles and most people recover within a few weeks. But in poor and malnourished children and people with reduced immunity, measles can cause serious complications including blindness, encephalitis, severe diarrhea, ear infection and pneumonia and even death.

The White House said on Friday that parents should be “listening to our public health officials,” who urge vaccinations against measles, as it emerged the disease has now infected more than 100 people in the U.S.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said that President Obama thinks parents should ultimately make their own decision whether or not to vaccinate their children, Reuters reports, but added that the science clearly points to vaccinating.

“People should evaluate this for themselves with a bias toward good science and toward the advice of our public health professionals,” said Earnest.

Measles is preventable. We live in a country where the MMH vaccine is affordable and easy to get. We’re fortunate that way.

Children should get 2 doses of MMH vaccine. The first dose when they 12-15 months of age and the second dose 4-6 years of age. Some infants younger than 12 months can receive a dose if they are travelling outside the United States. Children between 1 and 12 years of age can get a "combination" vaccine called MMRV, which contains both MMR and varicella (chickenpox) vaccines.

If you have any concerns about the MMH vaccine, talk with your pediatrician or family doctor about its safety and effectiveness. If you received the MMH vaccine when you were a child, you might want to consider a booster shot.

Sources: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/vis/vis-statements/mmr.html

Dan Whitcomb, http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/01/30/us-usa-measles-disneyland-idUSKBN0L302120150130

Mandy Oaklander, http://time.com/3691079/measles-vaccinations-white-house/

Your Child

Melatonin May Help Kids with Eczema Sleep Better

2:00

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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?

Please fill in your e-mail address to be included in our newsletter.
You may opt out at any time.

 

Please fill in your e-mail address to be included in our newsletter.
You may opt out at any time.