Ack! Head Lice is Even Harder to Treat Now

Itchy liceBack-to-school season is among us, which means it’s also time to fight off the increased threat of head lice. Annually, approximately 6 to 12 million cases are reported among U.S. children 3 to 11 years old, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Now, new scientific evidence reveals that parents might have even more reason to dread these pesky bugs. Researchers found that lice in at least 25 states have evolved and now show resistance to widely-used over-the-counter treatments. The findings were reported at the National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society.

Of the 109 populations tested, 104 contained high levels of gene mutations, which have been linked to the resistance of certain synthetic chemicals, called pyrethroids. The active ingredient in most over-the-counter lice treatments (permethrin) is a part of the pyrethroids family.

States where lice showed the most resistance included California, Texas, Florida, and Maine. Just one state—Michigan—had samples of lice that were still mostly susceptible to insecticide.

But don’t freak out just yet! Resistant-lice can still be controlled through the usage of different chemicals, which are often available only by prescription, said Kyong Yoon, Ph.D. in a press release.

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Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

How to Identify and Treat Lice
How to Identify and Treat Lice
How to Identify and Treat Lice

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Do You Really Know How Stressed Your Kids Are?

As a parent, you’ve most likely experienced stress more than a few times—but are you able to tell if and when your own child is stressed? A national survey conducted by WebMD says: probably not.

The survey examined the responses of 432 parents with children between 5 and 13 years old.

Parents were asked to rate their own stress level on a scale from 1 to 10, as well as their children’s. Approximately 1 in 5 parents reported maximum stress (10 out of 10), and 57 percent rated their stress as 7 out of 10 or higher. However, more than half (60 percent) predicted their children’s stress at 4 or lower.

Almost three-quarters (72 percent) of children displayed negative behaviors linked to stress, including increased crying, arguing, and anxiety. Many children also suffered physical symptoms: headaches, stomach aches, nightmares, and decreased appetite.

“Younger children don’t talk about being ‘stressed’ in those terms,” said Sandra Hassink, M.D., president of the American Academy of Pediatrics. “So parents might not be hearing their children articulate that they’re under stress, but I wonder if some of it might be coming out in physical and behavioral issues.”

The survey also found that many parents equate their children’s stress to school and homework (53 percent) and friends (51 percent); however, a key contributor to childhood stress is their home environment. In other words: Family stress directly influences children’s stress.

Stress levels continue to increase as kids get older, according to the survey—making it even more important for parents to recognize whether or not their kid is feeling stressed.

Related: Do You Really Know How Happy Your Child Is?

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

The Lasting Impact of the Early Childhood Years
The Lasting Impact of the Early Childhood Years
The Lasting Impact of the Early Childhood Years

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Thanks to Vaccines, Chickenpox Cases Are Dropping: Study

boy getting vaccineThe chickenpox vaccine, also known as the varicella vaccine, was first made available in 1995, and since its introduction there have been significantly fewer cases in the United States. In 2006, the recommendation for a second dose of the vaccine was added, and both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend that kids get this second dose between ages 4 and 6.

Related: Is the Chickenpox Vaccine Safe?

Now, a new study confirms that the added dose has continued to decrease the number of outpatient visits and hospitalizations due to chickenpox. The study, published in the Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society, examined national health data from 1994 to 2012.

CDC researchers found that between 2006 and 2012, after the two-dose vaccination recommendation was introduced, outpatient visits decreased by 60 percent and hospitalizations declined by 38 percent.

While the most significant declines were among the vaccine’s targeted population (1-19 year olds), they also found a reduction in cases among babies younger than 12 months (who haven’t yet had the vaccine) and adults (who are often unvaccinated), which suggests the potential of herd immunity.

Related: How Much Do You Really Know About Vaccines?

“We saw significant declines in rates of varicella after the one-dose vaccine was recommended in 1995 in the U.S., and we’re continuing to see additional declines in varicella after two doses were recommended in 2006,” said Jessica Leung, the study’s co-author.

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

The Vaccine Schedule
The Vaccine Schedule
The Vaccine Schedule

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It’s Not Just You—Little Kids DO Get Too Much Homework!

Girl doing homeworkDepending on where you live, back-to-school season is either just around the corner or already here. And that means your kids are back to early wake-up times, after-school activities and, of course, homework.

If you’re already groaning about the impending onslaught of worksheets, spelling words, and science projects for your first grader, you’re not alone. A new study published in The American Journal of Family Therapy explored just how much homework students are assigned and how that impacts family stress—and found that many young elementary school students have far more homework than what’s recommended by the National Education Association (NEA) and the National Parent-Teacher Association (NPTA).

The NEA and the National PTA suggest a “10-minute rule,” meaning homework load should not exceed 10 minutes per grade level per night beginning with 1st grade. It’s recommended that kindergartners receive no homework.

However, parent participants (the study surveyed a total of 1,173 parents of children in kindergarten through 12th grade) reported than their kindergartners spent roughly 25 minutes on homework, and first-graders spent about 28 minutes on their assignments each night. (As kids got older, however, the homework levels began to more closely match the groups’ recommendations. Third graders, for example, averaged just under 35 minutes.)

“The data shows that homework over this level is not only not beneficial to children’s grades or GPA, but there’s really a plethora of evidence that it’s detrimental to their attitude about school, their grades, their self-confidence, their social skills and their quality of life,” said Stephanie Donaldson-Pressman, the study’s contributing editor and clinical director of the New England Center for Pediatric Psychology.

As for family stress, researchers found that as parents’ confidence in aiding their child with schoolwork decreases, overall household stress increases. But we could have told them that!

Related: How to Catch Up on Homework

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

3 Things Parents Can Do to Help Kids Manage Homework
3 Things Parents Can Do to Help Kids Manage Homework
3 Things Parents Can Do to Help Kids Manage Homework

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A New Poll Reveals Parents’ Top Child-Health Concerns. Can You Guess What They Are?

Group of kids textingBeing a parent means you have concerns—probably hundreds—about your child’s well-being. So what do adults in the United States label as the biggest problems their children face in 2015?

According the ninth annual C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health, adults’ top three child-health concerns are childhood obesity (60 percent), bullying (58 percent), and drug abuse (53 percent). Those three biggies were also last year’s leaders. But what has changed—a lot—from last year: Sexting and overall internet safety are now among the leading health concerns parents have for their children, ranking higher than smoking.

In 2014, sexting was ranked 13th on the survey, while this year it rose to number six. Internet safety climbed from eighth to fourth.

Related: I Never Thought My Child Would Meet a Stranger Online, Until She Asked Me If It Would Be Okay

“We found that while the public may find benefits to today’s shifting media environment, whether through cellphones or other technology, many also recognize risks that may make young people vulnerable,” said Matthew M. Davis, M.D., M.A.P.P., in a press release. He added, “The major health issues that people are most worried about for children across the country reflect the health initiatives providers, communities and policy makers should be focused on.”

Related: Are Kids in YOUR State Thriving? Find Out!

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

Digital Devices and Children
Digital Devices and Children
Digital Devices and Children

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