As a pediatrician I looked forward to getting my children vaccinated, knowing that they would at last be protected against deadly diseases. As a parent, I await those days with a bit of dread. No one likes seeing their kids cry, even for a really healthy and good reason. Sometimes it is tough to know how best to prepare for those moments. Here are a few tips to get you and your kids through the anxiety of getting shots.
Reading aloud to your child is an important part of family time that promotes parent-child bonding, brings balance to hectic family life and prepares your child for a lifetime of learning. Most experts recommend reading to your children daily, even to infants. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends reading at least a few minutes per day starting at birth.
So why the focus on early reading? Most studies show several benefits to regular reading in children including improved bonding with parents, better performance in all aspects of education (even math!), improvement in basic speech and communication skills, better logical thinking and better concentration.
5210-Ever hear those numbers? No, it’s not your middle school student’s locker combination, or one of an endless list of passwords.
Do you wish you could help your family eat healthier but feel overwhelmed by all the advice and information out there? Each seemingly contradicts the other. Do you worry about your children’s health, but are too busy with taking care of them, school, activities, work, etc., to be able to figure out and commit to the best way to make some changes? If so, there is a very easy way to help. It’s called 5210.
As a, wife, parent of twin girls AND twin boys and a pediatrician, my perspective of pregnancy, life as a working mother and plans for the future may be a little skewed. I see everything in two’s. Being pregnant and having a baby is a joy and it can also be scary. Being told that you’re having more than one can be even scarier, especially if you have just a little bit of knowledge.
Multiples occur in 3% of all pregnancies with twins being the most common. When carrying two babies the risk of maternal complications rise and prematurity is more prevalent. Higher order multiples occur in much smaller numbers and with even more possibility of complicated pregnancies, risk of prematurity and less chance of survival. In my case, as a pediatrician working full time, co-owner in private practice, considering pregnancy is a very serious one and then to be told that you were having multiples brings in a very different element.
It was a typical Tuesday in my former job as chair of surgery at Temple University in Philadelphia, but that morning I felt sluggish. Although I wasn’t feeling well, I knew I had three surgical operations to perform that morning followed by an afternoon full of meetings.
I trudged out of my apartment and started the 15-minute drive to work.
A few miles into my commute, a feeling of illness suddenly enveloped me. I had to pull over and call my chief resident to cancel the morning’s surgeries.
I turned the car around and headed back home to bed. The next three days were a blur of sore throat and fever; it was the first time I’d had the flu, and I swore that I would never endure that experience again.
Sugar is sneaky. There are plenty of foods out there that we think of as healthy that have added sugar. Unfortunately we don’t know exactly how much added sugar there is, as companies are not required to make a distinction between natural and processed or added sugars on nutrition labels. They also don’t have to tell you what percent of the recommended daily value of added sugar their product contains. (fortunately the FDA has proprosed changing this – if the proposed changes can make it through the legislative process).
There is a lot in the news these days about the negative health effects of added sugar. Notably, increased sugar intake adds to the risk of heart disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, cancer and many other health issues we would rather our children not have to experience. Continue reading
Dr. Sally Robinson
Keeping Kids Healthy
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Did you know that one in every 285 children in the U.S. will be diagnosed with cancer? The next three articles will discuss cancer and its treatment.
The word “cancer” certainly strikes a scary and emotional note in our hearts, and when attached to the word “childhood” it can be especially frightening. However, as with many things we fear, we can be empowered by understanding. This week we explain just exactly what “cancer” really is.
Every part of the body (the brain, liver, heart, bones, fingernails, muscles, and so on) is made up of hundreds of millions of microscopic cells that are specialized for that particular organ. These cells follow a very complex and highly organized instruction set from their DNA to multiply, grow, and eventually die and become replaced throughout our entire lifetimes. Occasionally, however, the instruction set becomes damaged as it is copied into newly formed cells. Usually our bodies can recognize cells with damaged DNA and repairs or destroys them. But sometimes when the instruction to “stop multiplying” is damaged, cells can multiply and grow out of control faster than our bodies can repair the damage. This is how cancer begins. Continue reading
Dr. Sally Robinson
Keeping Kids Healthy
The American Academy of Pediatrics’ Back to School Tips discusses bullying. Bullying or cyberbullying is when one child picks on another child repeatedly. Bullying can be physical, verbal or social. It can happen at school, on the playground, on the school bus, in the neighborhood, over the Internet or through mobile devices like cellphones.
When your child is bullied the Academy suggests the following:
• Look the bully in the eye
• Stand tall and stay calm
• Walk away
•Teach your child how to speak in a firm voice. Continue reading
Drs. Norbert Herzog & David Niesel
Medical Discovery News
You’ve probably heard of pandemics — the plague, influenza, HIV — but you might not have seen coverage of the growing myopia pandemic. Before you consider bathing in sanitizer, you should know that myopia isn’t contagious. Another word for it is nearsightedness.
Myopia is a condition in which close objects are seen clearly but distant objects are blurred due to the elongation of the eye or too much curvature of the cornea. This causes light entering the eye to focus in front of the retina rather than on it. Myopia is different from hyperopia, which is the kind of nearsightedness that comes from growing older. In fact, the myopia pandemic is primarily affecting young people.
It currently affects 90 percent of the young adults in China, although 60 years ago it was 10-20 percent. In the United States and Europe it affects about half of all young adults, double what it was 50 years ago. Seoul has the highest incidence: 96.5 percent of young people in South Korea’s capital have myopia. An estimated 2.5 billion people will experience myopia by 2020. Continue reading
Dr. Sally Robinson
Keeping Children Healthy
The American Academy of Pediatrics made the following recommendations about backpack safety in 2014.
Backpacks are great for kids to carry items back and forth from school to home, but backpacks that weigh more than 15 percent of your child’s body weight may cause health problems for your child. Neck, shoulder and back pain may develop from carrying a heavy backpack everyday.
The spine is made of 33 bones (called vertebrae) that have disks in between them that act as natural shock absorbers. A child carrying an unusually heavy backpack leans their head and chest forward to compensate for the weight of the pack, which puts stress on the back and neck. If your child uses only one strap to carry their backpack, the spine’s natural shock absorption ability is reduced because only one side is carrying the weight and your child will end up leaning to one side to make up for the extra weight in the pack.
When choosing a backpack check to make sure that it has two wide, padded straps that fit over your child’s shoulders, a padded waist or chest belt that will distribute weight more evenly across the body, multiple compartments to distribute weight, and does not have a width greater than the child’s chest. Continue reading