Archive for the ‘ Child Health ’ Category

Are You and Your Kids Getting Flu Shots This Year?

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

Flu VaccineWith flu season just around the corner, the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases held a press conference today urging everyone older than 6 months of age to get a vaccine this season.

While flu vaccination levels are up overall in the past few years, they’re not at the levels health officials want them to be, the NFID reports. But the good news is that 70 percent of kids under age 5 received a flu vaccine in the 2013-2014 season. (The flu can cause serious complications even in kids and adults who are considered otherwise “healthy,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)

“Influenza vaccines are safe, plentiful and we have more vaccine options than ever before,” Dr. William Schaffner, past-president of NFID, said in a statement. “At least one is right for everyone.”

This press conference comes after a CDC recommendation last month that healthy kids ages 2-8 receive the nasal spray vaccine (pictured above) if it’s immediately available and there are no precautions for the specific child. (If it’s not available, don’t shop around—officials stress that getting any form of the vaccination is better than nothing.) It’s also important for kids younger than 9 to get vaccinated because some might need a second dose four weeks later to have “optimal protection,” the CDC stated in a press release.

Pregnant women are especially encouraged to get a vaccine because catching the flu “doubles the risk of fetal death, increases the risk of premature labor and increases the mother’s risk of hospitalization,” according to the NFID. And, the vaccine offers protection against flu to babies who are too young to get vaccinated.

In addition to the vaccination, it is still important to maintain proper hygiene and prevention practices like frequent hand washing, avoiding those who are sick, and staying home when you’re sick.

Have you and your children gotten vaccinated yet? If you’re on the fence about it, check out the four biggest flu myths and, if you’re not sure what kind of vaccine is appropriate for you or your family, always remember to consult your healthcare provider with any questions.

What You Should Know About the Flu
What You Should Know About the Flu
What You Should Know About the Flu

Photo of child receiving flu vaccination courtesy of Shutterstock.

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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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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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For Breech Babies, C-Section Is Safest

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

While many experts are concerned with the rise in C-section rates, there’s one situation where C-section is called for—when the baby is in breech position. That’s the latest finding in a Dutch study published in the journal of the Nordic Federation of Societies of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Breech babies (those who present feet or buttocks first, rather than the head) who are born vaginally are 10 times more likely to die during childbirth as their counterparts who were born via C-section. In the retrospective study of 58,320 of breech births, the researchers found that  as elective C-sections for breech births have increased, from 24% to 60%, that resulted in a decrease of infant mortality from 1.3/1000 to 0.7/1000.

The takeaway? According to lead study author Dr. Floortje Vlemmix from the Department of Obstetics and Gynecology, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, ”While elective C-section has improved neonatal outcomes there is still a good number of women who attempt vaginal birth. Our findings suggest there is still room for improvement to prevent unnessary risk to the infant. We recommend using measures to turn the baby (external cephalic version) to prevent breech presentation at birth and counselling women who want to proceed with a vaginal breech birth.”

Find out more about breech birth, and learn how to build a birth plan that covers emergencies.

Birth Stories: Planned C-section With Twins
Birth Stories: Planned C-section With Twins
Birth Stories: Planned C-section With Twins

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Mom-to-Be Stress Linked to Higher Rates of Asthma

Monday, August 4th, 2014

Don’t freak out: Scentists are finding that a mom-to-be’s stress levels can have significant effects on a child’s future health, including delays in cognitive development, behavioral issues, and even an increased risk of autism. The latest link? Scientists have found that maternal stress could increase the risk that babies develop allergy-induced asthma.

The study, produced by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health, focused on mice, and found that even a single stressful situation could flood the baby’s bloodstream with stress hormones like corticosterone, and lead to a greater chance that the baby develops allergy-based asthma after birth.

What’s the takeaway? Do what you can to relax, unwind, and reduce stress throughout your pregnancy, to help protect your baby’s health.

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Stress During Pregnancy: Safe or Not?
Stress During Pregnancy: Safe or Not?
Stress During Pregnancy: Safe or Not?

 

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