WBEZ | children's health http://www.wbez.org/tags/childrens-health Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Doctors help devise a plan to keep kids healthy this school year http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-08/doctors-help-devise-plan-keep-kids-healthy-school-year-101556 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/doctor%20office%20flickr.jpeg" title="(flickr/myfuture.com)" /></div><p>As kids scramble to squeeze the last ounce out of their summer vacation, health professionals say mom and dad should save a few drops for a check up. At home, parents have some control over their child&#39;s environment, diet and schedule &mdash; but all bets are off once that first school bell rings. So before parents send their kids back to school, Northwestern Memorial Hospital&#39;s <a href="http://www.feinberg.northwestern.edu/emergencymed/faculty/Khare.Rahul.html" target="_blank">Dr. Rahul Khare </a>and <a href="http://www.nmh.org/nm/physician_terry_michael_a_11529" target="_blank">Dr. Michael Terry</a> share their tips for keeping kids out of the nurse&#39;s office (and in one piece) this year. If you have a question for the good doctors, call <strong>(312) 923-9239</strong> during <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> Wednesday or join the conversation on Twitter at #848.</p><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>Emergency department physician Dr. Khare&#39;s back to school safety tips:</strong></span></p><p><strong>&bull; Beware of heavy back packs</strong>: Backpacks exceeding 15 percent of the child&rsquo;s weight can cause back pain. A heavy bag can also throw off a child&rsquo;s balance making it easier for them to fall over.</p><p><strong>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; When looking for a backpack remember these three things:</strong></p><ol><li><strong>Use two straps.&nbsp;</strong>Backpacks with only one strap put all the strain on one shoulder causing unevenness. Make sure the straps are a good fit. The straps should not be too high where they pull on the shoulders, but not too low where it strains the back.</li><li><strong>Opt for thicker shoulder pads.</strong>&nbsp;Shoulder straps with padding will provide more comfort. If the straps are causing too much strain, look into backpacks with wheels.</li><li><strong>10 percent rule.</strong>&nbsp;Aim for your student to carry 10 percent or less of their body weight. Remember, kids can carry their books in their arms as well to forgo some of the weight.</li></ol><p><strong>&bull; Check ups</strong>: Start the new year with a physical exam. Make an appointment before the school year starts to avoid missing class time.</p><p><strong>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Speak to your doctor about:</strong></p><ul style=""><li><strong>Immunizations.</strong>&nbsp;Make sure your child is up to date and your school has a copy. Ask for a copy of their records so you have them on file just in case after school programs or daycare facilities request them.</li><li><strong>Growing pains.</strong>&nbsp;If your child is experiencing growing pains make sure they are not something more serious like scoliosis or troubled knees.</li><li><strong>Nutrition.</strong>&nbsp;Ask your doctor how many calories your child should be consuming during lunch. The number varies drastically during puberty.</li></ul><p>&bull; <strong>Allergies:</strong> Before school begins make sure to call their teacher before and learn their allergy policy. It&rsquo;s also important to speak to your child about how to handle emergency situations.</p><p><strong>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Make an action plan</strong></p><ul><li>Discuss their medicine and emergency plan with their teacher</li><li>Make a card including your child&rsquo;s allergic reaction symptoms, picture, and treatment. Give copies to all the lunch room and all of their elective teachers</li></ul><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <strong>If your child has a severe allergy:</strong></p><ul><li>Give them a medical ID bracelet that cannot be easily removed</li><li>Provide the school with multiple doses of emergency medicine</li><li>Encourage the school to create allergen free lunch table</li></ul><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <strong>Remember to be careful around these accidental triggers:</strong></p><ul><li>Homemade play dough made with peanut butter</li><li>Icing containing egg whites</li><li>Classroom crafts using nuts</li><li>Classroom birthday treats</li></ul><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>&bull; Bacteria and Viruses</strong></p><p><strong>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; Easy ways to stay germ free</strong></p><ul><li>Teach your children to wash their hands correctly. Use warm soapy water and wash until they have sang the happy birthday song twice.</li><li>Wash your hands before and after you touch your mouth, eyes and nose.</li><li>Talk to their teachers about their disinfecting policies. If they don&rsquo;t already sanitize the desk regularly, have your child wipe down their desk with antibacterial wipes.</li><li>Keep hand sanitizer in your child&rsquo;s backpack, desk or locker.</li><li>Avoid the community pencil sharpener. Opt for a handheld one. It will work better, quieter, and won&rsquo;t spread bacteria.</li><li>Avoid borrowing crayons when coloring.</li><li>Get the flu shot! It is the best and easiest way to protect against the flu.</li></ul><p>NOTE: If your child is not feeling well, has a cold or the flu, do not send them to school. This will only spread the germs, get other children sick, and prolong their road to recovery.</p><p><strong>&bull; At home</strong></p><p><strong>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; Prepare for the new school year at home</strong></p><ul><li>Start putting your children to bed earlier and waking up earlier as it gets closer to the start of school year.</li><li>Designate an area in the house to keep backpacks, lunches, and other things for school. Put a list of things to remember next to this area.</li><li>Create a family calendar that your children can easily access. They can add their own dates such as homework or play dates. It will encourage great organizational skills.</li></ul><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>&bull; Back to college/high school</strong></p><p><strong>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; For students going to high school or college</strong></p><ul><li>Make sure their immunizations are up to check, and look into meningococcal vaccine (MCV4) and HPV vaccines for both girls and boys.</li><li>Talk to your teen about the dangers and consequences of binge drinking and unprotected sex.</li></ul><p>&nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Michael Terry (team doctor for the Chicago Blackhawks) tips for student athletes:</strong></span></p><ul><li><strong>Preparation for fall sports season should begin even before the start of the school year </strong><ul style="list-style-type:circle;"><li>Athletes should work with their coaches or school athletic trainers to develop a conditioning program that will gradually build endurance and strength.</li><li>Diving into intense workouts may cause injuries which may delay the start of the sports season or even force the athlete to sit out entirely.</li></ul></li></ul><p>&nbsp;</p><ul><li><strong>When in training, young athletes should focus on three major factors that affect sport performance: hydration, nutrition, and rest</strong><ul style="list-style-type:circle;"><li>When practicing or competing in the heat, drink water before, during and after activity to decrease the risk of heat-related illness.</li><li>Athletes should choose healthy, nutrient-rich foods to fuel their bodies during athletic participation.</li><li>Young athletes also need plenty of rest and adequate sleep to perform at a competitive level.</li><li>Too little sleep and unhealthy food choices make young athletes prone to injury and limits their ability to perform.</li></ul></li></ul></p> Wed, 08 Aug 2012 08:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-08/doctors-help-devise-plan-keep-kids-healthy-school-year-101556 Fewer tots go to ER since baby cold meds pulled from market http://www.wbez.org/story/children039s-health/fewer-tots-go-er-baby-cold-meds-pulled-market <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//cough syrup.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Emergency room visits for kids under the age of 2 for cold and cough med-related problems have dropped by more than half since drugmakers took those treatments off the shelves a couple years ago.</p><p>"It's impressive and hopeful," Raymond Pitetti of Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh tells <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/yourlife/parenting-family/babies/2010-11-22-coldmeds22_st_N.htm"><em>USA Today</em></a>. "Parents are much more aware of the issue and becoming more savvy."</p><p>But there's more to do. Despite this drop for tots, older kids' ER visits remain unchanged, the authors of the study, published today in the journal <a href="http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/121/4/783?maxtoshow=&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&fulltext=%22adverse+events+from+cough%22&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=0&sortspec=relevance&resourcetype=HWCIT"><em>Pediatrics</em></a> say.</p><p></p><p>Every year, nearly 3,000 kids under 2 get taken to the ER for overdoses or other problems related to cough and cold medicine. To combat this, the FDA <a href="http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/PostmarketDrugSafetyInformationforPatientsandProviders/DrugSafetyInformationforHeathcareProfessionals/PublicHealthAdvisories/ucm051137.htm">recommended</a> parents stop giving babies cold medicines because they sometimes can cause rashes, hyperactivity, or behavior and breathing difficulties. There's a long history <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=14971288">here</a>.</p><p>Then the over-the-counter-drug <a href="http://www.chpa-info.org/issues/Childrens_CC_Overview.aspx">industry</a> voluntarily took those products off the market, and voila - ER visits were cut in half. The industry has since made new label changes warning parents not to give cold medicines to kids under 4.</p><p>But the problem of kids and these meds is far from solved. The number of toddlers to teenagers sent to the ER after taking the meds remained unchanged, the study says. Two-thirds of those visits were chalked up to accidental or "unsupervised" slurping of the cough syrup that got left on the counter.</p><p>However, as we've reported before, parents have lots of <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2009/09/careful_with_tamiflu_dosing_in.html">problems</a> figuring out proper dosing, too.</p><p>The FDA's <a href="http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm048515.htm">advice</a>? Read the directions, use the dosing guide on the package for your child's age and size, talk to the doctor, and remember that cold medicine doesn't cure a cold - it only helps relieve symptoms.</p><p>And grandma's advice might worth remembering too - bring the babies in the shower with you for good old-fashioned steam relief from a stuffy nose. Copyright 2010 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1290540300?&gn=Fewer+Tots+Go+To+ER+Since+Baby+Cold+Meds+Pulled+From+Market&ev=event2&ch=103537970&h1=Hospitals,Your+Health,FDA,Public+Health+%26+Prevention,Pharmaceuticals,Children%27s+Health,Shots+-+Health+News+Blog,Medical+Treatments,Health,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=131507720&c7=1030&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1030&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20101122&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c31=126567794,126567525,126567486,126567402,126567381,126567378,103537970&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Mon, 22 Nov 2010 10:20:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/children039s-health/fewer-tots-go-er-baby-cold-meds-pulled-market Chicago recruitment begins for decades-long national health study http://www.wbez.org/story/childrens-health/chicago-recruitment-begins-decades-long-national-health-study <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//kids playing.jpg" alt="" /><p><div>Recruitment for participants in the National Children&rsquo;s Study in the Chicago area has just begun. The study will follow children from birth to age 21 to look at how environmental and genetic factors affect health and disease.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>According to the National Institutes of Health, this is the largest and longest study of its kind. NIH received approval by Congress for the study in 2000 and has since established seven Vanguard centers that have already begun recruitment and research. These centers will serve as models for later locations as the multi-year study rolls on.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>NIH will partner with the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Centers for Disease Control, to study a total of 100,000 women in 105 locations across the U.S.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>According to Jane Holl, the principle investigator for the Greater Chicago Study Center, researchers are looking for a total of 4,000 women between the ages of 18 and 49 who are pregnant, or expecting to become pregnant, to participate in the study. Researchers hope to find 2,000 women in Cook County over the next four years.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Holl said recruitment will begin next year in Will and DuPage counties to find 2,000 more participants. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re pretty confident that we will find the number of births we need to find in the community,&rdquo; Holl said.</div><p>The study is modeled after earlier long-term health studies, such as the 1948 <a href="http://www.framinghamheartstudy.org/">Framingham Heart Study</a>, and the 1976 <a href="http://www.channing.harvard.edu/nhs/">Nurses Health Study</a>. The decades-long National Children&rsquo;s Study will look at a multitude of environmental factors that influence health, growth and development.</p><p>Participants in the study will be asked to volunteer information regarding their family health history, health care, social environment, and socio-economic status. Holl said questions like this seek to take a broad approach to what are usually considered environmental factors.&nbsp;Biological and environmental samples will also be taken in order to determine relationships between the physical environment and health in different geographic locations.</p><p>&ldquo;The study will also be able to provide probably some of the most comprehensive information about women&rsquo;s fertility and pregnancy in the United States,&rdquo; Holl said.</p></p> Tue, 09 Nov 2010 22:35:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/childrens-health/chicago-recruitment-begins-decades-long-national-health-study