Posts Tagged ‘ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ’

6 Things You Should Know About the Flu

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

This comes to us from our friends at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

As a parent, you always do everything you can to keep your family safe. With flu season starting early this year, have you taken the steps to protect yourself and your family from flu? Most of the country is now seeing high levels of flu activity, and this may continue for some time. Unfortunately, there is nothing that provides 100% protection against flu.  However, flu vaccine is the single best way to protect against seasonal flu and is especially important for children younger than 5 and children of any age with other health complications such as asthma, neurological disease or immune deficiencies. Here are six important things parents should know:

1. A flu vaccine is the best way to prevent flu. If anyone in your family hasn’t gotten a flu vaccine yet, go get vaccinated now! With very few exceptions, everyone 6 months and older should get vaccinated each year, and it’s especially important for people at high risk to get vaccinated. If your child has a high risk condition or an egg allergy, ask your doctor which vaccine is best. Also, flu vaccine may be a little harder to find now than it was in the fall, so you may need to contact more than one provider (pharmacy, health department, or doctor) to find available vaccine. The flu vaccine locator may be helpful to you in your search.

2. Flu vaccines cannot give you the flu. Flu vaccines cannot give you the flu because they are made from killed or weakened influenza viruses. Unfortunately, there are a couple reasons why it’s still possible to get the flu even if you were vaccinated. First, people may be exposed to a flu virus shortly before getting vaccinated or during the period (roughly two weeks) it takes the body to build its immune response after vaccination.  Second, there’s a possibility of catching a flu virus not included in the vaccine. And last, some people can get sick with a flu virus that’s in the vaccine even if they got vaccinated, partly due to health and age factors.

3. Stay away from sick people. Flu spreads mainly in the droplets of sick people who are coughing and sneezing, so have your family stay away from people who are sick as much as possible, and, if you are sick, stay away from people who are well. Both kids and parents should stay home during illness and for at least 24 hours after fever is gone unless medical care is needed. (Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)

4. Ask your doctor about antiviral drugs. If your family does get sick with the flu, antiviral drugs can be used to treat the illness. Antiviral drugs can make illness milder and shorten the time you are sick. If you or someone in your family has a high risk condition, antiviral drugs are especially important, and treatment should be started as soon as possible. A doctor will decide whether antiviral drugs are needed (you will need a prescription to get them), but you need to take the first step by asking the doctor about your illness.

5. “Everyday healthy habits” are still important. Make sure everyone in your family knows to cover their nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. And remember to wash hands with soap and water often. These last tips are good ones to live by during and outside of flu season and can help protect against the spread of other viruses too. Let’s all do our part to prevent the flu!

6. Know when to seek medical attention.  Parents should seek medical attention if their child is not drinking enough fluids, if there is persistent or severe vomiting, if flu-like symptoms linger or improves and returns, if there is difficulty breathing, or other health conditions that are accompanied by flu symptoms, including a fever and/or cough.  For infants, parents should watch for signs of inability to eat, trouble breathing, no tears when crying, and significantly fewer wet diapers than normal.

For more questions about influenza and ways to prevent it, visit: cdc.gov/flu or flu.gov.

Photo: Little girl is blowing her nose via Shutterstock

Add a Comment

Parents Daily News Roundup

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

Goody Blog Daily News Roundup

Uncircumcised Boys Have a Higher Risk of UTI
A study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal finds that uncircumcised boys have a higher risk of urinary tract infection (UTI) than circumcised boys, a condition that could lead to kidney damage and scarring. (via TIME)

Despite Obesity Concerns, Gym Classes Cut
In its biennial survey of high school students across the nation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in June that nearly half said they had no physical education classes in an average week. (via NY Times)

Meeting Contraception Needs Could Cut Maternal Deaths By a Third, Study Says
A new study by researchers at Johns Hopkins University shows that fulfilling unmet contraception demand by women in developing countries could reduce global maternal mortality by nearly a third, a potentially great improvement for one of the world’s most vulnerable populations. (via NY Times)

Should You Make Your Teen Get a Summer Job?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, fewer than half of Americans between the ages of 16 and 24 were employed last July, the month when youth employment typically peaks. (via TIME)

Moms’ Caffeine Not Tied to Kids’ Behavior Issues
In a study of more than 3,400 five- and six-year-olds, reported in the journal Pediatrics, researchers found no evidence that the children’s behavioral problems were related to their mothers’ caffeine intake during pregnancy. (via Reuters)

Add a Comment

An Inside Perspective on ADHD Awareness Week (October 16-22)

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurobehavioral disorder that is more commonly diagnosed during childhood.  Children diagnosed with ADHD are unable to focus or stay still for a long time and act impulsively.  According to the CDC, an average of 5.4 children (9.5%) between ages 4-17 have been diagnosed with ADHD, and boys are more likely to be diagnosed than girls (13.2% vs. 5.6%).  ADHD is also a more common term than Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), although both are still used interchangeably.

This guest post was written by Ben Glenn, the author of “Simply Special, Learning to Love Your ADHD.”  In grade school, he was diagnosed with dyslexia and other learning disabilities, but he wasn’t diagnosed with ADHD until an adult.  Glenn travels the country and the globe, sharing his personal experiences with ADHD. He resides in Indianapolis with his wife and two children. For more information, visit www.SimpleADHDExpert.com.

*******

Despite the amount of press, websites, and books explaining Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), it is still one of the world’s most misunderstood psychiatric disorders. At its simplest, ADHD is the inability to sustain attention, and the person who has it is generally restless, fidgety, impulsive, and struggles with sustaining productivity. The deeper issue is that people with ADHD have problems with the part of the brain that controls executive functions (also known as the pre-frontal lobes of the cerebral cortex), such as initiating tasks, knowing when to put on the brakes, transitioning easily from one task to another, being systematic and maintaining order, self-monitoring and controlling one’s emotions, and holding onto information vital to completing a task.

While the bulk of scientific data about ADHD has increased in the last quarter century, ADHD is not a new disorder. In fact, it has been around for decades (some speculate even centuries). ADHD was officially recognized in British medical literature for the first time in 1902 (it was labeled as “morbid defect of moral control“) and has, since then, undergone several more name changes (including minimal brain dysfunction). The 2013 revision of The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders might see yet another name revision. While the exact definition of ADHD is still evolving, there is no doubt that ADHD is real and affecting the lives of millions of children and adults. I am one of them.

I wasn’t diagnosed with ADHD until I was an adult because I didn’t have the “hyperactive” element, but the schools did catch my dyslexia in third grade. I hated being labeled. Going to a Special Education classroom was hell. I was teased and treated like a dummy. I struggled with things that were easy for everyone else and done in no time at all, I was walking around feeling like a mistake, like a loser with no future. For a while I really lost all hope. This is a terrible way to grow up.

Children and adults with ADHD get a bad rep for being lazy, unmotivated, disorganized, and unable to complete any task on time. Relationships suffer because people with ADHD tend to blurt out what’s on their mind without thinking or lose interest in the middle of the conversation and wander off. While we all have moments where we display these behaviors, the important distinction is that people with ADHD literally can’t help being this way most of the time. It’s not a matter of trying harder to be better. It’s a neurobiological inability to do so. ADHD is also not the result of bad parenting or “broken homes” or lack of parental attention and discipline. While these may worsen the symptoms of ADHD and negatively impact a child’s behavior, ADHD is not caused by any of these things. Research has shown that ADHD symptoms are caused by brain chemistry. ADHD may also be genetic, which supports some beliefs that ADHD is more “nature” than “nurture.”

However, ADHD is one of the most treatable psychiatric disorders and has one of the best outcomes for anyone who gets the right kind of help and support from understanding parents, friends, teachers, and doctors. Thankfully there were teachers who helped and supported me. I credit them for restoring some of my self-confidence. The rest of the credit goes to my wife, my sympathetic enforcer!

Read More About ADHD on Parents.com

Add a Comment

October Is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Saturday, October 1st, 2011

you are the best medicine-julie aigner clarkThink pink in October for breast cancer awareness.  According to the CDC, breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death for women in the U.S.  We spoke to Julie Aigner Clark, founder of The Baby Einstein Company, mother of two kids, and 44-year-old breast cancer survivor about her tips for talking to kids about breast cancer.  She recently published a picture book, “You Are the Best Medicine,” which helps kids understand what it means when a loved one has been dignosed with cancer.  Proceeds for the book go to UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.

1- Your picture book, “You Are the Best Medicine,” shares tips for explaining cancer to children. What are some of the tips for moms to approach the topic with younger and older kids?

I don’t think kids younger than 5 need to know more than ”Mommy is sick and has to take medicine that makes her feel bad for awhile.”  Here are my tips:

  • Be honest but don’t explain too much. Think of it as talking to kids about sex. The older they get, the more you can go into the specifics. 
  • Let them know how much they can help just by loving you. Ask them to read to you, crawl into bed with you, and snuggle. Kids really are the best medicine!
  • Tell them right away that they can’t “catch” cancer from you, no matter what. This seems obvious, but kids are quite literal. They’ve been told to stay away from sick people!
  • Take them with you, once, to a chemo appointment. This takes the mystery out of what’s going on while you’re at the doctor. Explain the IV, the fluids, and the process to the degree that they’ll understand.

If kids do want to understand a little more about why or how a parent (or someone else they know) is sick, there are also excellent children’s books. One that explains cancer really well is “Butterfly Kisses and Wishes on Wings” by Ellen McVicker, a fellow survivor. My own book shares how important love is to a parent going through treatment and focuses on the non-medical parts of the illness that kids can expect.

 2- How did your own breast cancer experience with your daughters inspire you to develop these tips?

My kids were 6 and 9 the first time I was diagnosed; they were 11 and 13 the second time. I wish I’d been more open with them the second time around, when they were old enough to know that this is a life-threatening disease. I was trying to deal with the diagnosis myself, especially the stage 4 part. I was scared and sad, and I tried to protect my kids, but they knew. Our children understand us, and anxiety is a pretty powerful emotion to cover up. I did my best, but in retrospect, I wish I hadn’t tried to hide my fear.

(more…)

Add a Comment

August Is National Immunization Awareness Month

Monday, August 15th, 2011

vaccinations-needles-shotsAs your child heads to school, make an appointment with the pediatrician to have her receive the necessary immunizations required by your state.  Vaccines guard your child against illnesses and diseases that may be encountered outside the home.   Parents.com consulted Dr. Daniel McGee of Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, MI to find out what parents should know about immunizations.

Why are immunizations and vaccinations necessary and still important?

The illnesses that are included in the vaccines are real, not just something that occurred in grandma’s day.  According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there have been more 150 cases of measles in the United States this year, as well as thousands of cases of whooping cough.  Measles outbreaks are occurring more frequently than in previous years. 

What are some diseases easily preventable by vaccinations?  How effective are  vaccinations against these diseases?

Measles, chicken pox, whooping cough as well as certain types of pneumonia and meningitis are the most common vaccine preventable diseases.  Immunized children who come down with an illness will usually have a less severe sickness.

Are there any vaccinations parents or adults should get to protect their family?

The only way to prevent whooping cough in children, particularly those under six months of age, is to make sure everyone who will come in contact with them is immunized.  This is a concept known as “cocooning.”  In fact, 75 percent of the time when an infant comes down with whooping cough, it comes from a parent, sibling, or grandparent.

As kids head to school, are there any new immunization protocols?  What should parents be aware of?

Immunization schedules change each year. Although not a new shot, there is a new recommendation that adolescents receive a booster dose of the meningitis vaccine if they received their first dose before age 16.  Every person aged 6 months and up should also receive the flu vaccine. 

What are the vaccinations all schools require?  What are the vaccinations children should always get?

This varies from state to state.  The best thing to do is follow the Centers for Disease Control guidelines which are endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians. With the exception of the HPV vaccine, almost all of the shots recommended by the AAP are required for school.

More About Immunizations and Vaccinations

Add a Comment

Let’s Talk About Drugs

Monday, November 15th, 2010

Pop quiz for you:

Which of these conditions are not helped by antibiotics?

A. Bronchitis

B. Flu

C. Colds

D. Non-strep sore throats

The answer is: It’s a trick question—none of those ailments warrant antibiotics, because they’re all caused by viruses, and viruses don’t respond to antibiotics. In fact, if you take the drugs, not only will you feel no better, you’ll just set yourself up for possible failure later on, when you have an illness that really could be helped by the meds.

Antibiotic resistance is on its way to becoming one of the world’s biggest public health threats—it’s estimated that roughly half of antibiotics are unnecessarily prescribed—and this is why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has designated November 15 to 21 its third annual “Get Smart About Antibiotics Week.”

The CDC breaks down the illnesses that benefit from antibiotics and the ones that don’t here. Even if you think you know this info already, it’s worth taking a peek to make sure you’ve got all the facts.

Add a Comment