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Accidental Poisoning of Children: These Drugs Are Common Culprits…

Monday, September 15th, 2014

Small Number of Prescription Drugs Responsible for Accidental Overdose Among ChildrenHere’s yet another reason why babyproofing your home is SO important: Nearly 9,500 children under the age of 6 are hospitalized annually for accidentally overdosing on medication they found, a new study in the journal Pediatrics reports. Yikes!

“Many of these drugs are commonly used, and they’re also toxic at low doses,” Dr. Shan Yin, medical director of the Drug and Poison Information Center at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital told HealthDay.

The research revealed that a small array of prescription drugs is typically behind these hospitalizations. The following medications were some of the ones most frequently found to be related to accidental poisonings among children:

  • Narcotic painkillers, like Oxycontin, Percocet, and Vicodin
  • Sedatives called benzodiazepines, like Ativan, Valium, and Xanax
  • Drugs with the active ingredient, clonidine, like Catapres, Kapvay, and Nexiclon
Awareness of the dangers of these drugs specifically is paramount in preventing ingestion by young children, and focusing in on safety awareness for these could have a large and positive public health impact, the study states. Some of the other drugs on this list are often found in medications used to treat high blood pressure and diabetes, which typically affect older adults (like grandparents), so it’s key that any home a young child goes into has the proper safety precautions in place.
If you think your child may have unintentionally ingested medication, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends calling Poison Control at (800) 222-1222, even if she isn’t showing any symptoms (many drugs can have delayed effects). If she’s unconscious, having trouble breathing, having seizures, or experiencing extreme sleepiness, call 911 immediately.

The Complete Guide to Babyproofing
The Complete Guide to Babyproofing
The Complete Guide to Babyproofing

Photo of girl looking at pills courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Why Are Millions Of Children Missing Out On Important Medical Care?

Friday, September 12th, 2014

Millions of children don't receive the preventive screenings necessary for healthy growth Millions, that’s right, millions of children don’t receive the preventive tests and screenings deemed necessary for healthy growth and development, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports this week.

The report highlighted 11 services that are most often skipped, including lead screenings, use of dental care, vision and hypertension screenings and the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination, among others.

The CDC has been tracking this type of public healthcare for many years, the organization notes in a press release, and chalks much of this absence of preventive care up to racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic inconsistencies, CBS reports.

With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, there is hope that these numbers will decrease, however, lack of health insurance coverage isn’t always to blame: CBS reports that “some of the discouraging numbers are a result of lack of protocols at medical institutions and individual failures on part of health care providers.”

“We must protect the health of all children,” Dr. Stuart K. Shapira, chief medical officer and associate director for science in CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities said in the press release. “Increased use of clinical preventive services could improve the health of infants, children and teens and promote healthy lifestyles that will enable them to achieve their full potential.”

Have your kids had their back-to-school hearing and vision tests? Learn how to make the most of theirs here.

When to Worry: Eye and Vision Problems
When to Worry: Eye and Vision Problems
When to Worry: Eye and Vision Problems

Photo of girl being vaccinated courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Could Autism Symptoms in Babies Be Reversed? A Small Study Offers Hope

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

Small Study Examines Early Treatment For Babies Identified With AutismFollowing the recent news that scientists found some important neurological differences in the brains of children with autism, comes more hopeful news.

As part of a very small research study, seven babies (ages 6 to 9 months) who were identified as having early signs of autism were offered therapy—and the findings were shocking: By age 3, five of the seven children didn’t show any symptoms of autism, and a sixth showed only mild ones, USA Today reports.

The research was run by the University of California Davis’ MIND Institute and involved a modified type of treatment that is already offered to older children diagnosed with autism that includes intensive sessions with therapists and family members designed to teach parents how to pick up on their children’s subtle social cues during daily activities.

“It doesn’t prove that these children recovered from autism,” Rogers told USA Today, because they were not technically old enough to be diagnosed with autism. But “it’s a promise of a potential treatment for young children who have these symptoms.”

Study co-author Sally Rogers and her colleagues are now working to secure funding to run a larger study.

If your child has been diagnosed with autism, learn more about the different treatment and therapy options that are available to  you and your family.

A Test for Autism Risk: Head Lag
A Test for Autism Risk: Head Lag
A Test for Autism Risk: Head Lag

Photo of baby courtesy of Shutterstock.

 

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Scary News: Hundreds of Children Hospitalized for Respiratory Illnesses

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

Child in hospital with respiratory illnessHundreds of children in the Midwest have been hospitalized in the past month due to respiratory illnesses, Reuters reports.

A specific type of enterovirus that typically affects school-age children, called enterovirus 68 or EV-D68, seems to be the cause, and has led to more than 300 hospitalizations for respiratory-related illnesses in Kansas City, Missouri, alone since last month.

A dozen states are reportedly affected—including Colorado, North Carolina, Georgia, Ohio, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma and Kentucky—have since and have contacted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for help in investigating this illness, USA Today reports.

Enteroviruses, which usually peak in September, often produce symptoms similar to the common cold (like coughing), but can also develop into more serious symptoms, such as difficulty breathing or wheezing. In addition, sometimes a rash can show up, CNN reports.

Transmission of this enterovirus is not fully understood, though it seems to be passed via close contact with another infected person, which is why schoolchildren are at a higher risk. The CDC recommends keeping in mind the following practices to prevent spreading it and other respiratory illnesses:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after changing diapers
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick

Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, which has been treating many of these patients, recommends the following advice if your child is exhibiting respiratory illness symptoms: ”If your child has fever not controlled by acetaminophen or ibuprofen or is not drinking, call your healthcare provider for advice. Seek care promptly if your child develops difficulty or labored breathing. If your child has asthma, follow your Asthma Action Plan. And if symptoms persist, don’t hesitate to contact your healthcare provider.”

Has your town or city been affected by this outbreak?

Controlling and Treating Asthma Symptoms in Children
Controlling and Treating Asthma Symptoms in Children
Controlling and Treating Asthma Symptoms in Children

Photo of child in hospital courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Pregnant? Grass and Trees Can Lead to a Healthier Baby!

Friday, September 5th, 2014

Mothers living in greener neighborhoods more likely to have healthy babiesGreen is good—especially if you’re having a baby, new research shows.

Babies born to moms who live in areas with lots of grass and trees are more likely to be born healthy—and at 40 weeks—than those born to mothers who live in cities with less green space, according to a study from Oregon State University and the University of British Columbia.

The study looked at 64,000 births and found that very preterm births were 20 percent lower for moms who lived in greener neighborhoods. Moderate preterm births were lower, too—by 13 percent.

They also found that babies from the greener neighborhoods weighed about 1 1/2 ounces more at birth than infants from less green neighborhoods, Science Daily reports.

You might be thinking that factors like noise, pollution, and neighborhood income would play more of a role in a baby’s weight and delivery time, but the researchers actually adjusted results to leave out those factors and even still, it was all about the greenery.

“This was a surprise,” said Perry Hystad, an environmental epidemiologist in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at Oregon State and lead author of the study, in a press release. “We expected the association between greenness and birth outcomes to disappear once we accounted for other environmental exposures such as air pollution and noise. The research really suggests that greenness affects birth outcomes in other ways, such as psychologically or socially.”

While researchers aren’t sure what it is specifically about the amount of green space that helps to develop a healthy baby, there is speculation that living in that sort of environment could reduce stress and depression, or provide more opportunities for social interaction for soon-to-be-moms.

Babies that are born preterm or are underweight at birth can have more developmental and health problems as they grow older.

Pregnant? Follow our week-by-week guides for health advice, planning and more. (And don’t forget to sign up in your Due Date Club!)

Labor & Delivery: Preterm Labor
Labor & Delivery: Preterm Labor
Labor & Delivery: Preterm Labor

Photo of baby in grass courtesy of Shutterstock.

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