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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
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Thursday, January 10th, 2013
Boston Declares Health Emergency Amid U.S. Flu Outbreak
With flu cases in this city up tenfold from last year, the mayor of Boston declared a public health emergency on Wednesday as authorities around the United States scrambled to cope with a rising number of patients. (via Reuters)
Study: Bilinguals Have Faster Brains
Speaking two languages can actually help offset some effects of aging on the brain, a new study has found. (via ABC News)
A Call to Obama to Focus on Early Childhood Education
President Obama will be delivering his State of the Union address outlining his priorities for the next year in a few weeks. Here’s an open letter to Obama urging him to make early childhood education — an initiative that has proven results — a real priority in his second term. (via Washington Post)
Report: NH Preventing Tooth Decay in Children
The latest study shows the compound found in plastic and food packaging can put youngsters at risk for future heart disease. (via Boston News)
Eli Lilly Settles Mass. Pregnancy Drug-Cancer Case
Eli Lilly and Co. has settled a lawsuit brought by four sisters who contended their breast cancer was caused by a drug their mother took during pregnancy in the 1950s, a move some believe could trigger financial settlements in scores of other claims brought by women around the country. (via ABC News)
California Teachers Pension Fund Moves To Divest From Guns, Firearms Companies
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The nation’s largest teacher pension fund took the first step Wednesday toward divesting from companies that make guns and high-capacity ammunition magazines that are illegal in California. (via Huffington Post)
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Thursday, November 29th, 2012
Pregnant Women Most Vulnerable to Flu
The World Health Organization says pregnant women should be given top priority for flu vaccinations this season, putting them above the elderly, children, and people with chronic health conditions. (via ABC News)
Predicting Obesity at Birth
Researchers say they have a formula for divining which newborns are at the highest risk of becoming obese during childhood. (via Time)
For Children, a Lie on Facebook Has Consequences, Study Finds
A federal law intended to protect children’s privacy may unwittingly lead them to reveal too much on Facebook, a provocative new academic study shows. (via New York Times)
Experts Call for Mental Illness Screening for Children
Leading mental health experts are calling for school children to be screened for risk of mental illnesses such as depression and have devised a test that reliably identifies those at high risk. (via MSNBC)
Online Tool Creates Catch-Up Immunization Schedules
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A new online tool takes the guesswork out of developing individualized catch-up immunization schedules by allowing parents and health care providers to easily create a schedule that ensures missed vaccines and future vaccines are administered according to approved guidelines. (via ScienceDaily)
Wednesday, October 31st, 2012
Videos Reduce Children’s Anxiety Prior to Surgery
Research has found that having children watch a video immediately prior to surgery can reduce their anxiety during anesthesia induction, the most stressful time for children throughout the perioperative process. (via Science Daily)
Homelessness, High Mobility Threaten Children’s Achievement
Children who are homeless or move frequently have chronically lower math and reading skills than other low-income students who don’t move as much. (via Science Daily)
Closing Schools During Flu Outbreaks May Lessen ER Visits
A new U.S. government study suggests that during a serious flu epidemic, closing schools can keep people – especially kids – out of the ER. (via Reuters)
Kids Who Smoke Menthol More Likely to Get Hooked
Kids who experiment with menthol cigarettes are more likely to become habitual smokers than their peers who start out with the regular variety, new research findings suggest. (via Reuters)
Overweight and Smoking During Pregnancy Boost Risk of Overweight Kids
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Moms who carry too much weight and/or who smoke during pregnancy increase the risk of having overweight kids, indicates a systematic analysis of the available evidence published online in the Archives of Disease in Childhood. (via Science Daily)
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Tuesday, September 11th, 2012
Key Breast Milk Ingredient Synthesized
Engineers have synthesized a sugar that is one of the key nutrients found in breast milk. (via Science Daily)
Some Children May Need Two Flu Shots
The American Academy of Pediatrics released its new guidelines for children’s influenza vaccines saying that this year some may need two shots depending on their age and when they last received a vaccination. (via CNN)
Mother’s Depression Linked to Children’s Height
According to researchers, children whose mothers were depressed during their first year of life experience stunted growth. (via ABC News)
Increase in Antipsychotic Drug Use in Children
Although the drugs are not approved by the FDA, antipsychotic drug use is being prescribed by more doctors, particularly for children with ADHD. (via Science Daily)
Number of Homeless Children in New York Nears Great Depression Highs
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Along with a rise in overall homelessness in New York City, 19,000 children are now living in the city’s homeless shelter system. (The Daily News)
Thursday, December 8th, 2011
Cold and flu season is upon us, and this week’s spotlight on influenza vaccinations is a perfect reminder to take your child to the pediatrician for a flu vaccine (if you haven’t done so already). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the 2011-2012 flu vaccine will safeguard against three viruses: influenza A (H1N1), influenza A (H2N2), and influenza B.
Getting the flu vaccine will protect your family and loved ones from worse symptoms. Read more about the importance of getting a flu vaccine below.
Here are more resources recommended by Shot of Prevention, a community blog that brings you the latest news and guidelines about immunizations, which recently hosted a conference call (sponsored by Every Child by Two and Families Fighting Flu) to raise awareness about flu vaccines.
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GoodyBlog, Health & Safety, Your Child
Friday, November 11th, 2011
New Advice on Kids’ Cholesterol Tests
More children should be screened for high cholesterol before puberty, beyond those with a family history of problems, according to wide-ranging new guidelines expected from government-appointed experts who are trying to prevent heart disease later in life.
Tens of Thousands of Tots Die from Flu Each Year
Tens of thousands of young children die around the world each year of influenza-related respiratory illness, most of them in developing countries, according to a newly released study.
Can Fetus Sense Mother’s Psychological State? Study Suggests Yes
As a fetus grows, it’s constantly getting messages from its mother. It’s not just hearing her heartbeat and whatever music she might play to her belly; it also gets chemical signals through the placenta. A new study, which will be published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, finds that this includes signals about the mother’s mental state.
Big Belly Before Pregnancy May Mean Extra-Big Baby
Women who have large waistlines before pregnancy may be more likely to have a larger-than-normal newborn than women who are trim around the middle, a new study suggests.
Can Placenta Pills Ward Off Postpartum Blues?
Some women swear eating their placenta has helped with their postpartum depression, but experts aren’t so sure.
Mom Rescues Daughter from Washing Machine
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The owner of a laundromat in Washington state says a quick-thinking mother smashed the glass and rescued her 5-year-old daughter after the girl somehow got trapped in the machine as it filled with water.
Wednesday, September 7th, 2011
Some Young Children May Need Only One Flu Shot This Year
Usually, children between the ages of 6 months and 8 years need to get two vaccines given four weeks apart. But experts are saying that some children who would normally need two flu vaccines, only need one dose this year, IF they got vaccinated last year.
Video Games Improve Adult ‘Lazy Eye,’ Study Suggests
Although amblyopia can be successfully treated in children by putting a patch over the “good eye” to force the brain to use the weaker “lazy eye,” few options are available for adults with this condition. But a recent study shows a 30% increase in visual acuity for adults who play video games.
One Sperm Donor, 150 Offspring
There is growing concern among parents, donors and medical experts about potential negative consequences of having so many children fathered by the same donors, including the possibility that genes for rare diseases could be spread more widely through the population.
At Elite New York Schools, Admissions Policies Are Evolving
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With an acceptance rate of 2.4% percent for incoming kindergarten students with no ties to the prestigious Trinity school, elite New York schools are beginning to change longstanding admissions practices as they try to balance institutional loyalty and a diverse student body.