Important reasons you should immunize your child. With the recent measles outbreak, news outlets have been flooded with talk about how you should immunize your child. We understand you want to do the best for your children, but it’s also really important to know the importance of immunizations. Like car seats, baby gates and other ways to keep your kids safe, immunizations are just another way to protect them from harmful viruses that your child’s immune system may not be prepared to handle. Immunizations can save your child’s life. Because of advances in medical science, your child can be protected against more diseases than ever before. Some diseases that once injured or killed thousands of children, have been eliminated completely and others are close to extinction– primarily due to safe and effective vaccines. Vaccination is very safe and effective. Vaccines are only given to children after a long and careful review by scientists, doctors, and healthcare professionals. Vaccines will involve some discomfort and may cause pain, redness, or tenderness at the site of injection but this is minimal compared to the pain, discomfort, and trauma of the diseases these vaccines prevent. Serious side effects following vaccination, such as severe allergic reaction, are very rare. The disease-prevention benefits of getting vaccines are much greater than the possible side effects for almost all children. Immunization protects others you care about. Children in the U.S. still get vaccine-preventable diseases. In fact, we have seen resurgences of measles and whooping cough (pertussis) over the past few years. Since 2010, there have been between 10,000 and 50,000 cases of whooping cough each year in the United States and about 10 to 20 babies, many of which were too young to be fully vaccinated, died each year. While some babies are too young to be protected by vaccination, others may not be able to receive certain vaccinations due to severe allergies, weakened immune systems or other reasons. To help keep them safe, it is important that you and your children who are able to get vaccinated are fully immunized. This not only protects your family, but also helps prevent the spread of these diseases to your friends and loved ones. Immunizations can save your family time and money. A child with a vaccine-preventable disease can be denied attendance at schools or child care facilities. Some vaccine-preventable diseases can result in prolonged disabilities and can take a financial toll because of lost time at work, medical bills or long-term disability care. In contrast, getting vaccinated against these diseases is a good investment and usually covered by insurance. The Vaccines for Children program is a federally funded program that provides vaccines at no cost to children from low-income families. Find out more by talking to your doctor. Immunization protects future generations. Immunizations have reduced and, in some cases, eliminated many diseases that killed or severely disabled people just a few generations ago (example smallpox). By vaccinating children against rubella (German measles), the risk that pregnant women will pass this virus on to their fetus or newborn has been dramatically decreased, and birth defects associated with that virus no longer are seen in the United States. If we continue vaccinating now, and vaccinating completely, parents in the future may be able to trust that some diseases of today will no longer be around to harm their children in the future. Still have questions about immunizations? Talk to your doctor and find out more.
What is Spina Bifida? Ever hear of Spina Bifida? Well it all starts with newborn babies. Spina Bifida is the most common permanently disabling birth defect in the United States. Spina Bifida itself literally means “split spine.” This disorder happens when a baby is in the womb and the spinal column does not close all of the way. Every day, about 8 babies born in the United States have Spina Bifida or a similar birth defect of the brain and spine. Unfortunately, there is still no cause found for this disorder. Scientists believe that genetic and environmental factors act together to cause the condition. How is Spina Bifida treated? A child with Meningomyelocele usually is operated on within two to three days of birth. This prevents infections and helps save the spinal cord from more damage. A newborn with Meningocele usually has it treated with surgery, and more often than not, the child is not paralyzed. Most children with this condition grow up fine, but they should be checked by a doctor because they could have other serious problems, too. Most experts think that surgery is needed early to keep nerves and the brain from becoming more damaged as the child grows. Some forms do not even actually need to be treated. Interested in learning more? Talk to your doctor or family pediatrician.
Did you know, August is National Breastfeeding month? Breastfeeding is very beneficial to you and your baby, but is also a completely personal decision and has both pros and cons depending on your situation. Here are a few benefits and quirky facts about breast feeding: 1. Breastfeeding can actually reduce baby’s risk of disease later in life, including:
- Crohn’s disease
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol levels
- Hodgkin’s disease
- Type I and II diabetes
- Ulcerative colitis
- And more
- Respiratory infections
- Ear infections
- Bacterial meningitis
- Urinary tract infections
- Common colds and flus
Discover the power of play and adventure this month. It’s summer and it’s July - National Parks and Recreation Month. We are so lucky to have as many wonderful parks for us and our family to play or exercise in. Or even just to relax, meditate, and take a break from the general craziness of life. For children and adults, play is a vital part of our mental wellbeing, physical health and personal interactions. We challenge you to get your play on at your local parks and recreation. Whether it’s summer camp, an adult sports league, exploring a trail, yoga class, meeting friends on the playground, playing cards in the park, or discovering nature — parks and play go hand in hand. And play and exercise also go hand and hand, which promotes a healthy and active lifestyle. Each July since 1985, America has celebrated Park and Recreation Month, a program of the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). The goal is to raise awareness of the vital impact that parks, recreation and conservation has on communities across the U.S. Parks are the cornerstone of nearly every community, serving millions of people as the places anyone can go to be active, live healthier, connect with nature and gather together. Get out there and play in your local park! Enjoy it and have fun outside.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Mayo Clinic, hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 251,700 toy-related injuries in 2010 throughout the United States. 72% were to people less than 15 years of age. Additionally, in 2007 alone, toymakers recalled over 19 million toys worldwide because of safety concerns such as lead paint and small magnets. When it comes to toys and gifts, the excitement and desire to get your children their favorite toys may cause shoppers to forget about safety factors associated with them. Before you make these purchases, it is critical to remember to consider the safety and age range of the toys. This holiday season (and beyond), please consider the following guidelines for choosing safe toys for all ages:
- Inspect all toys before purchasing. Avoid those that shoot or include parts that fly off. The toy should have no sharp edges or points and should be sturdy enough to withstand impact without breaking, being crushed, or being pulled apart easily
- When purchasing toys for children with special needs try to: Choose toys that may appeal to different senses such as sound, movement, and texture; consider interactive toys to allow the child to play with others; and think about the size of the toy and the position a child would need to be in to play with it
- Be diligent about inspecting toys your child has received. Check them for age, skill level, and developmental appropriateness before allowing them to be played with
- Look for labels that assure you the toys have passed a safety inspection – “ATSM” means the toy has met the American Society for Testing and Materials standards
- Gifts of sports equipment should always be accompanied by protective gear (give a helmet with the skateboard)
- Keep kids safe from lead in toys by: Educating yourself about lead exposure from toys, symptoms of lead poisoning, and what kinds of toys have been recalled; being aware that old toys may be more likely to contain lead in the paint; having your children wash their hands frequently and calling your doctor if you suspect your child has been exposed to lead. Consult the last two websites listed below for more information
- Do NOT give toys with small parts (including magnets and “button” batteries which can cause serious injury or death if ingested) to young children as they tend to put things in their mouths, increasing the risk of choking. If the piece can fit inside a toilet paper roll, it is not appropriate for kids under age three
- Do NOT give toys with ropes and cords or heating elements
- Do NOT give crayons and markers unless they are labeled “nontoxic”
Did you know that one in three children in the U.S. are obese? The statistics sound high, but in all actuality childhood obesity can be prevented! Childhood obesity puts kids at risk for health problems that were once seen only in adults, like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. By making small changes in your lifestyle, like adding fresh fruits and vegetables into your daily meals you can go a long way. Opt for fruit instead of sweets, eliminate sugary drinks, and make sure your child has proper veggie servings in every meal. Additionally, incorporate exercise into your lives. Perhaps go for a family walk after dinner, or even get the kids on their bikes and play a little bike tag. Get away from the computer screens and move! Movement in any form can help you and your family get fit and do wonders for you and your child’s health. If you don’t feel like your child is getting enough exercise or healthy food options at school, talk to your teachers and administrators to get them in the game as well. Give them ideas and help them provide healthy food options and daily physical activities for students. Need ideas? Ask your doctor for ideas to keep your child moving and eating healthy.
Childhood obesity has both immediate and long-term effects on a child’s health and overall well-being. The percentage of overweight children is growing at an alarming rate. Now, one in three kids are considered overweight or obese in the United States. Kids are spending much more time inside and less time exercising and playing outside. The Television, computer and video-game console has had a large impact on childhood obesity on today’s families. Additionally, time constraints on today’s busy families make it harder to prepare nutritious home-cooked meals. Adapting the way your family eats and exercises can easily prevent your kids from becoming overweight. Helping kids live healthier lifestyles begins with the parents leading by example. Obesity increases the risk for serious health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Obese children may also be prone to physiological effects such as low self-esteem based on peer rejection and bullying. Is your child at risk of being overweight and obesity? Talk to your doctor about a healthy plan to keep the entire family on track to a healthy lifestyle.