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Thursday, January 24th, 2013
If your child is anything like mine, you probably dread vaccination day. When my then 3-year-old daughter wrapped her arms around me, and used every muscle in her little legs to push off of the examination table sending me flying backward into the hall, I have to admit, I deeply considered skipping the next round. But we pushed through them, and now at five, she’s replaced her fear of needles with a fear of large cotton swabs (a strep test — it’s a long story).
Although we’ve all witnessed a runaway kid or two at the pediatrician’s office, the truth behind this needle nightmare is that one in every 10 Americans has a fear needles, or trypanophobia. Digital health media company, Healthline, has called it an under-reported healthcare crisis. Fear of needles can cause a person to skip vaccinations, which puts everyone’s health at risk.
According to Healthline, needle phobia usually develops around age 4 or 5 with a traumatic immunization experience. And if you told your kid that it wasn’t going to hurt, you can bet his immunization experience was traumatic.
According to Healthline’s CEO West Shell, “The key to ending needle phobia is awareness, education, and action. Needle phobia must be addressed and it must be addressed on large public platforms. Fear of snakes or fear of public speaking doesn’t kill people, but fear of needles does.”
Healthline has recently launched a public health campaign to help put an end to needle phobia. Take the End Needle Phobia Pledge, and help prevent your children from developing needle phobia by telling them the truth: shots help to protect them and others from dangerous diseases, and they hurt – but only for a second.
You can also download the first ever app to help children overcome their fear of needles, Pablo the Pufferfish: Big Shots Game.
Our kids get about 30 shots before they turn 5. It’s time we take steps toward making it easier on all of us.
Image: Worried and Afraid Little Girl Receiving An Injection via Shutterstock
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GoodyBlog, Health & Safety
Wednesday, July 13th, 2011
When Deborah Copaken Kogan snapped a photo of her 4-year-old son, Leo, in the pediatrician’s office on Mother’s Day and uploaded it to Facebook, she was looking for a few laughs (and probably some sympathy). The photo’s caption was, “Nothing says Happy Mother’s Day quite like a Sunday morning at the pediatrician’s.”
According to Slate.com, Kogan brought Leo to the doctor because he had a rash and a fever, and she feared strep. Leo was sent home with antibiotics, but the next day he was sicker and Kogan was back at the doctor. His new diagnosis was scarlet fever. Kogan continued posting pictures of Leo on Facebook to share with friends.
On the third day, Leo woke up so swollen and puffy that he was almost unrecognizable. Kogan sent pictures of her son to the doctor and posted one on Facebook. Before she heard from the doctor, Kogan got a call from Stephanie, a former neighbor and actress. Stephanie urged Kogan to bring Leo to the hospital; her own son had similar symptoms a few years earlier and was diagnosed with Kawasaki disease, a rare and sometimes fatal auto-immune disorder.
After receiving more comments and messages on Facebook from friends with the same suspicions, including a pediatrician and a pediatric cardiologist, Kogan brought Leo to the hospital. They were right: Leo had Kawasaki disease.
He will need tests on his heart every year for the rest of his life, but he is recovering and doing well.
Kogan, who originally joined Facebook to monitor the cyber-bullying of her oldest child, is grateful for how being part of a larger network of friends helped “diagnose” her son in a timely matter and also offered support during a difficult time. She recently wrote, “Thanks to my Facebook friends and their continuing support, I do not feel so alone.”
Do you have your own story about Kawasaki disease? Share your experience here.
Photograph by Deborah Copaken Kogan. Originally featured on Slate.
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Monday, July 11th, 2011
Report cards on kids’ weight don’t make a difference
Schools in California notified parents about unhealthy weight, but it didn’t have an impact, study finds.
6 ways to keep your kid from cursing
Eighty-six percent of parents agree that children ages 2 to 12 are cursing more today than when they themselves were children, according to a national survey commissioned by Care.com.
Secondhand Smoke Tied To Mental Health Problems In Kids: Study
Estimates suggest that anywhere between 4.8 and 5.5 million children in the U.S. live in households where they are exposed to secondhand smoke, putting them at greater risk for multiple health problems. Now, new research suggests that secondhand smoke exposure can increase the odds of developing certain mental and behavioral disorders by 50 percent.
100 Dead, Many Children, in Boat Sinking in Russia
More than 100 people, including many children, drowned when a riverboat filled with families cruising the Volga River sank over the weekend, rescue officials said Monday, conceding little hope remained of finding survivors.
How to talk to your kids’ doctor
Studies show you get only about 15 minutes of face time with your pediatrician during an average well visit, so you’ll want to make every second count.
Texas Woman Welcomes 16-Pound Baby Boy
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A Texas mother possibly set a new state record after giving birth to a baby boy weighing more than 16 pounds, according to the Longview News-Journal.
Monday, January 31st, 2011
When you take your child for her well visit, do you leave the pediatrician’s office feeling like you got all the answers you’d hoped for?
Not always, right?
This was the basis for a story we published in our February issue, called “Make the Most of Your Child’s Checkup.” In it, we offer seven strategies every parent should consider before the appointment. They include:
Speak up right away. I know that I’ve been tempted to wait until the very end of the visit to bring up the things I’m concerned about (like the time my then 17-month-old seemed to be particularly preoccupied with specks on the ground). But the doctors we interviewed said that’s not the way to go. Kick off your visit with your questions and worries, and your doc will have the entire visit to keep an eye out for any problems, or to quell your fears altogether.
Show up as a team. Of course, it’s not always possible for you and your partner to come to a doctor’s visit. But when you can, do—pediatricians like getting input and perspective from both of you.
Bring your backup. Did you read or see something that made you worry about your child? Print out the article or study or TV transcript and show it to your doc. Simply saying “I heard that you’re not supposed to [common action here] anymore because [scary outcome here]” won’t help. Your doctor can only intelligently comment on something if you’ve provided the source.
Check out our story for more ideas. And good luck at your next appointment!
Image: Aimee Herring
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