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Just a reminder! Thanks for visiting us at Shots Hurt Less Blog! This is just a reminder that the information on this site is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should never replace the recommendations of your doctor - check with your doctor if you have any specific questions! We will always honor and protect patient confidentiality, and we ask that you all do the same, if you choose to comment on our posts. Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday
Jan152013

FYI: The Coughing Reality

Coughs are no fun, that’s the honest truth. They keep you up at night and they’re really annoying – for both kids and adults. They’re also frustrating to treat because there often aren’t any medicines that are going to make them get better faster!

According to the CDC, >90% of coughing illnesses are caused by viruses! Even if the cough is productive (meaning there’s lots of mucus coughed up in all sorts of different colors), it’s still likely to be a virus (95% of patients with productive coughs do not have pneumonia). This also means that most coughs will not respond to antibiotics and have to get better on their own. How long does it take most coughs to go away? Most people would guess about a week, but the troubling reality is that a new study suggests that most coughs last an average of 18 DAYS regardless of what you do or medicines you take!

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jan082013

To Do: Turn off the TV!

Happy 2013! I hope that you and your families had a wonderful holiday and new year! At this point, the kids are probably back in school and life is getting back into a routine. As we settle back into post-holiday life in the new year, I encourage you to think about an important new year’s resolution to add to your list: turning off the TV! It’s always tempting to turn on Yo Gabba Gabba or Mickey Mouse Clubhouse to keep the kids occupied while you take a shower or cook dinner. After age 2, this is okay in moderation, but increased time in front of the TV (or any screen for that matter) takes away from interaction with family and other learning opportunities, such as creative play. After age 2, we recommend no more than 2 hours of “screen time” daily (includes TV, computers, video games, tablets, smartphones, etc) and recommend that you avoid putting a TV in your child's bedroom. 

Ideally, children under 2 will not be exposed to much TV at all (though I realize this may be slightly unrealistic at times!). A study published in Pediatrics this month suggests that infant TV exposure may be associated with increased fussiness. Dr. Brown also did a great blog post on Baby Einstein and the potential negative effect of TV stimulation on the young child’s mind. Keep this in mind before you put your baby in the bouncy seat in front of the TV on a regular basis!

With all of the electronic devices readily available to us now, I think it’s important to keep these points in mind – for children of all ages! In fact, as one who often finds myself simultaneously in front of the TV with my laptop on my lap and my iPhone in hand (and my husband doing the same), I also resolve to cut down on my screen time this year. Spend time with your family, use the opportunity to exercise, read books, play games – and encourage your children to do the same!

 

Thursday
Dec272012

Baby It's Cold Outside....Tips on Keeping Kids Active During the Winter

Have you heard of the principle of One-to-One - for every hour of sedentary leisure activity you choose to do, you need to do an hour of aerobic activity. This can be a challenge even when the weather cooperates, but in the winter, when temperatures take a nose dive, it can be quite daunting to find ways to keep our kiddos moving.

The recommended activity is at least 30 to 60 minutes of aerobic exercise per day -- preferably in minimal intervals of twenty minutes.  At minimum, achieve a goal of 3 days per week. The following list of activities is a collection of ideas to get you up and moving....

GO TO AN INDOOR FACILITY TO KEEP MOVING

These places include your local YMCA, an indoor swimming pool, an ice skating rink (at the Lawerence Joel Colliseum Anex), a bowling alley, or the nearest shopping mall. Hanes mall has a great "toddler play area" on the lower level beside SEARS for letting off some steam indoors.  And there's always the playareas at Chick-Fil-A. Activities like basketball, soccer, ice-skating, swimming, rock climbing, walking/climbing stairs, and even exercise machines for older, moore coordinated kids (like a treadmill, stationary bike, or elliptical devices) are great aerobic challenges. Create simple, short contests with potential rewards to motivate and encourage each other.

• Other community indoor facilities include the Winston-Salem Children's Museum or Greensboro Children's Museum, The Natural Science Center in Greensboro or Sci Works here in Winston-Salem.  These have admission costs, but yearly memberships are quite reasonable.  Your kids (and you parents too) can expand your mind as well as keep your body moving.

• Consider instructional classes like dance, martial arts, yoga, zumba, and gymnastics. These incorporate aerobic activity with core muscle strength and balance exercises.  Check out a great list compiled by Triad Moms on Main and another handy site, The Activity Tree, for a nice listing of various classes available in our area (just enter the zip code and choose from their drop down menu of activities).

OUTDOORS

Bundle up and get outdoors!  Breathe some fresh air while walking park trails, sledding (if we get snow), skating, walking around the neighborhood or school track, or volunteering to walk dogs for your home or other households (great way to earn some extra spending money for older elementary school kids). If weather conditions permit, consider riding a mountain bike. Remember to always wear a helment - safety first!

AT HOME

Be creative and keep it fun. Get moving during commercials! Dance, do jumping jacks, squats, sit ups, push ups, run in place, have a short pillow fight, play musical chairs/sofas until the program starts again.  Again make it a fun contest with a reward. Here's some ideas for indoor ACTIVE games:

- Simon Says

- Red Light, Green Light

- Hopscotch

- Twister

- Hide and Go Seek

Other ideas to get your kids up off the couch....

- Have them help you clean the house (yes, really)! Make it fun by playing music and dancing while getting the chores done together.  Or make it a race or a contest between kids (or parents vs kids) to see who can pick up toys fastest etc.

- "Exergaming" Video games (such as Dance, Dance Revolution and a wide variety games for WiiFit) that require physical movement have been a huge hit with kids in recent years. A study published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine found that these games can elevate the energy expenditure to moderate or vigorous intensity (in some cases, requiring even more energy than walking on a treadmill!) This can be an alternative to traditional aerobic fitness activities. But beware, some kids learn how to "cheat" and just move their wrists and hands instead of doing the full body movements as intended. 

- "Bring the outdoors inside" - think hula hoops, jump ropes, an indoor basketball goal, even some ride on toys if you have a long hall or large playroom or basement

- Create an indoor obstacle course with pillows, blankets, toys, etc.

- Have an indoor scavengar hunt

Thankfully, our winters in NC are not as long or as gloomy as up north and spring will be here in a few months. 

Tuesday
Dec182012

In the News: Recovering from Tragedy

News of the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut on Friday was shocking, heart breaking, and nauseating. 26 innocent lives were lost, 20 of which were children. Our hearts break not only for those innocent lives lost, but also for those families who are grieving, and for a community that must come together to rebuild. 

When such tragedy strikes, it inevitably causes us to question the safety of our world and our surroundings. We want to protect ourselves and more importantly, our children, from the evil of the world. Unfortunately, we can’t keep our children in a bubble of protection; however, we can arm them with feelings of safety and knowledge of parental love. Hug your children a little tighter today and tell them that they’re safe. Turn off the TV and internet broadcasts and close the newspaper, but answer their questions simply and honestly if they have them.

The AAP offers resources for parents and their children trying to cope in the aftermath of this tragedy. Additionally, Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson, a pediatrician blogger at Seattle Children’s Hospital, offers very insightful thoughts about how to approach going back to school in the wake of this shooting. Consider checking out these resources as you start to cope as a parent and as an individual, and as you return to “normal” life.

Thoughts and prayers go out to the Newtown community and the families and friends of the victims…

Tuesday
Dec112012

To Do: Holiday Shopping!

‘Tis the season for shopping and gift giving…surely the kids have submitted their lists this year and you are scratching your heads contemplating where to start. Undoubtedly at the top of many lists this year is some sort of technology – an iPad, an iTouch, a Kindle, a Nintendo DS, Leap Pad (the list goes on). These can be very cool learning tools, but I do challenge you to look beyond the technology section this year when selecting gifts for your children.

Free play is so important for children – it stimulates their minds, their bodies, and their imaginations. Too often, we resort to TVs, tablets, computers, video games, and smart phones to occupy children’s minds (it’s easy, right?), and forget to send them outside to play.

This holiday season, give some gifts that don’t have to be plugged in – building blocks, water table, dress up clothes, tricycles and bicycles, plastic numbers and letters, art supplies, sports equipment – to encourage your child’s active and creative sides!

Definitely check out this fantastic blog post by fellow pediatricians with great ideas for gifts by age. 

Happy holidays and happy shopping!

Monday
Dec102012

Practical Parenting: Decoding Food Labels

In follow up to Dr. Barry’s recent post about organic foods, I thought I’d share some helpful information about decoding the various labels used to classify foods as “organic” and “natural” and “hormone free” etc.  As Dr. Barry said, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a statement in October 2012 stating that organic foods were not found to have any nutritional value above conventionally grown foods.  However, one caveat of their statement did concede that conventional foods typically do contain more pesticide residues than organic foods. 

While studies haven't shown a direct cause and effect relationship between pesticide exposure and specific health problems in children, there are concerns that chronic exposure to pesticides may be linked to various adult health problems and one study showed an increased risk of ADHD in children whose urine had higher levels of pesticide byproducts.  And research has shown that the primary form of exposure to pesticides in children is through dietary intake.  Interestingly, several studies have clearly demonstrated that an organic diet reduces children’s exposure to pesticides significantly (interestingly, one study showed that urinary pesticide residues were reduced to undetectable levels when kids were switched to an organic produce diet for just 5 days). 

While the research remains inconclusive, most experts agree that limiting pesticide exposure, especially in children, is ideal.  So do you find yourself, like I do, standing in the produce aisle and scratching your head as to what each label actually means?  You may be surprised to learn, that not all claims made on food labels are regulated. Here’s an overview of the most common “healthy sounding” label terms and what you should look for the next time you’re at the grocery store:

“Natural” and “All Natural” – There is absolutely no formal definition or any criteria for the designation “natural” on food labels.   There are no certifications or inspections required for these foods, so while they

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Tuesday
Dec042012

To Do: Get your Flu Vaccine!!

There has been an unwelcome holiday visitor this year: The Flu! It first showed up the week of Thanksgiving, and it’s now in full force, much earlier than usual (flu normally peaks around February). See below the graph from the CDC showing the recent peak in positive flu tests in NC. Protect yourself with information about the flu, tips to avoid infection, and vaccination!

The flu generally hits pretty quickly with runny nose, congestion, cough, sore throat, headache, body aches, and fever (often above 101 in children). Some children develop vomiting with the flu as well. Symptoms generally last 5-7 days and get better on their own. In certain circumstances, your doctor may choose to prescribe an antiviral medication, however, these are not always necessary and may have some unwanted side effects.

Treatment for the flu is generally supportive, but keep in mind that we want to know if your child's fever persists for more than 5 days, they start to develop ear pain or worsening symptoms, as complications from the flu can develop. Try these tips at home to help flu symptoms:

- Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen (if your child is over 6 months of age) to help with fever and body aches

- Cool mist humidifier and saline nasal drops for congestion and cough

- Warm drinks to soothe a sore throat

- Lots of clear liquids to stay hydrated

- Tons of rest!

The flu is pretty contagious – if someone with the flu coughs or sneezes, it can be contracted by someone close by. It can also live on hard surfaces (tables, door knobs, etc.), and can be transmitted if hands are then put in the mouth, eyes, or nose. If you have flu in your house, make sure you’re keeping everything disinfected – disinfectant wipes are great for an easy wipe down! Additionally, teach your child to cough or sneeze into their elbow to help prevent the spread at home. Teach good hand washing as well to help fight the flu (kids can sing “Happy Birthday” or the “ABCs” to ensure that they’ve washed long enough).

We may be in for a long flu season, which means one thing: there’s still time to get your flu shot!! Most of the children who have contracted the flu so far have not had the flu vaccine, which tell us that the vaccine works pretty well this year. Children can start getting the flu vaccine at 6 months of age and should receive one yearly thereafter. All adults should get one too! It’s a myth that you get the flu from the flu vaccine - so protect yourself and your family and get flu shots for everyone!

Check out healthychildren.org or the CDC for more information about the flu

Tuesday
Nov272012

Practical Parenting: Ear Piercing Dilemmas

If you have a preteen daughter in the house, she’s probably begging you to get her ears pierced. It’s a very normal battle between parents and daughters, and you’re probably wondering, “when IS the right time?” Although girls can get their ears pierced for cosmetic reasons at any age, the best age is probably when they can be responsible for taking care of their newly pierced ears by themselves. This includes cleaning them twice daily and monitoring for signs or symptoms of infection. Also keep in mind that for newly pierced ears, studs must stay in place for 6 weeks – if this overlaps with a sports season that wouldn’t allow jewelry, it might be worth postponing.

Once you make the decision together that it is the right time, choose a clean, reputable place with well-trained technicians for ear piercing. Additionally, choose studs that have 24K gold or stainless steel posts (nickel studs are more likely to cause allergic reaction). Once in, these studs will stay in place for 6 weeks. Twice daily, it’s important that your daughter clean around the studs with alcohol or special cleaning agent and turn the earrings. With any signs of swelling, redness, drainage, or other irritation, always let your doctor know, as newly pierced ears are prone to infection and allergic reaction. 

In some cultures, parents wish to pierce their infant’s ears and often wonder what age is appropriate. As mentioned, it’s preferable to wait until she’s older; however, if you choose to pierce them early, at an absolute minimum, it should be at least several weeks after her 2 month immunizations (when she’ll receive her first tetanus shot). The primary risk with piercing ears this early is both infection as well as the concern that she’ll pull out the earrings and choke on them.

The day a girl gets her ears pierced is often memorable and exciting – hope this helps to decide when that day shall come! 

Saturday
Nov242012

FYI: Does snot color matter?  

We at Twin City Pediatrics are seeing many children with dripping noses - many of whom have colds (viral upper respiratory infections), some with a more severe viral illness - influenza, and some with bacterial sinusitis. 

So how do you know when it's time to bring your own drippy nose kiddo in to see us?  One of the most widespread medical myths has to do with the color of snot (or nasal discharge).  Years ago, many doctors believed that clear or white snot was a sign of a viral illness but the yellow or greenish snot indicated a bacterial infection had set in.  

Luckily, we now know much more about snot...are you on the edge of your seat now?

Snot is nasal mucus which is made by specialized cells that line the nose, sinuses, and entire repsiratory tract.  Typically, a normal person makes about a quart of it a day!  Nasal mucus is part water, part proteins (called mucins - which help make it sticky), and part disease-fighting cells.   Mucus serves several key rolls, it helps prevents and fights infections, it keeps the nasal linings moist and humidifes inhaled air, and it it traps infectious particles and airborne particles that we breathe into our nose (like fly paper).

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Nov202012

To Do: Teach Thankfulness 

Thanksgiving always brings about a time of reflection – what are the blessings in life for which we should be thankful? Family, friends, food, shelter…those are the easy ones, but what about the small things in life that we take for granted? In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it is easy to overlook those small things and instead get caught up in the things that make life stressful and frustrating. In fact, ignoring feelings of gratitude may make life feel more stressful (studies have actually proven this)!

How do we go about teaching gratitude and thankfulness to our children? As with anything, start by being a positive role model and practice what you preach. Take a moment every day to say a quiet “thank you” for the things that have happened that day. Challenge your children to do the same….every night (not just at the Thanksgiving dinner table), make it a habit of discussing the events of the day that made everyone feel thankful. Start at a young age and make it a daily habit. In my house, we play the “glad game” routinely, inspired by Pollyanna. It’s a little bit cheesy, but it allows you to acknowledge the things that make you “glad” in all sorts of situations (even in the bad ones) – and it’s fun for kids to turn it into a game! Practicing gratitude on a daily basis will, in turn, help children to appreciate what other people do for them and thus instill more empathy and consideration towards others. Here are a few of my other favorite ways to celebrate being thankful:

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Tuesday
Nov132012

FYI: Lousy Lice

You always hate to hear about the dreaded lice outbreak at your child’s elementary school or preschool…and it’s even worse when you find the pesky lice embedded in your child’s hair. Let me be the first to say – it’s common, it happens, and it’s not a sign of poor hygiene!

Lice are generally spread from direct head-to-head contact – therefore, they do not “jump” between heads, and actually can’t survive away from a host for more than 24 hours. The adult louse is about the size of a sesame seed and can live for several weeks. It typically will lay eggs at the base of the hair shaft (they blend in so you can’t see them very easily), which will take a little over a week to hatch. Once the eggs hatch, the empty casing becomes more visible (nits). It takes another week(ish) for a newly hatched louse to become an adult and repeat the process. Humans generally become sensitive to the saliva of lice, which is what causes the itching.

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Sunday
Nov112012

Practical Parenting: Warn kids about "Tricky People," not "Stranger Danger"

Did you know that 90% of childhood sexual abuse occurs by someone with whom the child knows and has a trusted, established relationship, not by a stranger?

So even though the term “Stranger Danger” has a catchy ring, it’s actually a bit misleading.

Instead, of teaching kids to beware of strangers, teach your kids about "tricky people," urges Patti Fitzgerald founder of the Safely Ever After Program

Teach your kids that it's not what someone looks like that makes them "tricky," but what they ask your child to do.  A tricky person can be someone you know well, don't know at all, or know a little bit (a mailman, a familiar face at the park, the ice cream truck driver).  Tricky people do tricky things, such as

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Tuesday
Nov062012

Teachable Moments: Election Day 2012

It’s election day – a day when we can celebrate what it means to be an American. Many of you have children out of school today – and I encourage you to take them with you to the polls! Though the lines can be long and it can seem like a hassle to have the kids tag along, it can be a very important lesson (and memory) for them. Use this opportunity as a teachable moment to talk about how the election works and why we, as Americans, are fortunate to have this opportunity. Talk about the candidates and the important job as president. Talk about how important it is that we exercise our right as Americans to choose the next leaders of our country.

Maisie, the All American Dog (pretending she voted)A large percentage of registered voters do not vote in presidential elections. Serve as a good role model to the next generation of voters (your children) by taking them along with you…and make it a fun tradition for every election day...even non-presidential elections! You can even consider setting up your own “election” at home and allow them to cast their own ballots – and follow along as the election results unfold.

If you haven’t already, get out and vote...and encourage your children to witness democracy in action! 

 

Monday
Oct292012

Safety Alert: Magnets - a (potentially) fatal attraction

Perhaps you've seen them, the small magnets marketed to adults as a fun "desk toy" to use to "destress" or "get the creative juices flowing" sold under brandnames such as Buckyballs or Neo Cubes (among others).  

The highly powerful neodynium magnets are quite addictive to play with, but unfortunately they pose a huge hazard if swallowed.  And they are being swallowed at increasing rates according to pediatricians and consumer-product safety officials who report rising cases of intestinal injuries occuring in kids who have ingested these magnets.  Cases include toddlers (who we all know will put anything in their mouths) but also older children and even teens (many of whom have used the super powerful magnets to "fake" a tongue or nose ring and then inadvertantly ingested or inhaled them).

The reports first began appearing in 2005, when a 20-month-old boy died from complications following a

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Tuesday
Oct232012

Healthy Eating: Is Organic Always Better?

I think we all wrestle with this debate in the grocery store: is it worth the extra few bucks on the organic variety? Is it really healthier?

This week, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) helped to shed some light on the organic debate, ultimately suggesting that children eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, whether they are conventional or organic. The debate regarding which is healthier, however, remains inconclusive.

To start, it is important to understand what the term organic means. In general, it refers to a method of “growing crops and raising livestock  that avoids synthetic chemicals, hormones, antibiotic agents, genetic engineering, and irradiation” (Forman et al. Organic Foods: Health and Environmental Advantages and Disadvantages. Pediatrics Oct 2012). There are many standards that farmers must meet in order to earn the “organic” stamp of approval, which is what drives up the cost on these products.

The recently published article in Pediatrics discusses produce, milk, and meat separately, which I found helpful. Here are a few of the interesting points:

  • Produce: When comparing conventional and organic produce, both were found to have the same nutritional content. It is possible that conventional fruits and vegetables have had slightly more pesticide exposure, but the long term effects of this are still undetermined.
  • Milk: Conventional and organic milks both seem to contain the same nutrients, and conventional milk does not seem to have a significant increase in the amount of bacteria or growth hormone (interestingly, bovine growth hormone isn’t absorbed by humans anyway!). The AAP doesn’t seem to see a significant health benefit of organic over conventional milk. The most important consideration is that all milk is pasteurized. 
  • Meat: There is some concern that conventional meat is routinely exposed to antibiotics, which may ultimately lead to more human antibiotic resistance if these meats are continually ingested. Organic meats are antibiotic free, and thus are much less likely to be contaminated with drug resistant bacteria.

I’ll share a quick anecdote about organic produce that my husband and I found interesting. As we toured a banana plantation during a month practicing medicine in rural Costa Rica (see picture at right), we learned about the distribution process of bananas. We were surprised to see rolls of various different stickers (Del Monte, Chiquita, organic varieties, etc.) and asked how they determined which bananas got which stickers. The answer? The very same bananas got both conventional and organic stickers. The farmer said that all of their bananas were "organic," whether or not they were labeled as such. I can’t speak for all produce farms, but in this case, the products were all the same!

There is no doubt that there is a price to pay for organic products – in fact, they tend to cost about 40% more. Is it worth it? The reality is that we’re still figuring that out – organic farming is a relatively new concept, and there are many more long term studies that need to be done to help figure this out. Either way, I think the AAP is right to continue to recommend that children get a wide variety of healthy foods – conventional or organic – because these are better options that the processed alternative! We have a lot more to learn about organic products, but I think this is a start in trying to navigate where to spend the money and where to save.

Sunday
Oct212012

Stock your Medicine Cabinet: Vick's Vapor Rub

The number of sniffling kids in clinic seems to be increasing rapidly over the past couple of weeks.  And while sniffling noses are annoying during the day....at night they can be downright horrid, keeping kids (and parents) awake. 

We, your pediatricians, get it!  We understand how difficult these sleepless nights and days with irritable kids can be....and we want to help.  However, most of these symptoms are due to a virus and antibiotics are not the answer (they can not work against a virus). So instead, we try to arm you with the tools to combat suffering (your childs and your own).  In addition to the standard suggestions we pediatricians offer to parents of children suffering from colds (upper respiratory infections) - see Dr. Barry's previous post "FYI: Sniffles and Sneezes" - have you tried Vick's Vapor Rub for kids over 2 years?

A study published in 2010 compared children ages 2-11 years with cold symptoms (runny, stuffy noses and cough) who used Vicks Vapor Rub versus kids who used placebo ointment (like Vaseline) versus kids who used nothing.  Of note, parents had to put a strip of the vapor rub under their own nostrils so they couldn’t smell if the ointment they applied was medicated or not. 

Children (and parents) were then asked to rate the child's night-time symptoms (cough, congestion, and difficulty sleeping).  The results were impressive....children treated with Vapor Rub were significantly able to sleep better than were children who received the placebo ointment or no treatment.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Oct162012

In the News: Peanut Butter Recall

You’ve likely heard in the news about the recent peanut butter recall involving peanut products from a New Mexico-based company, Sunland. The CDC has reported at least 30 cases of salmonella that have been linked primarily to Trader Joe’s Creamy Salted Valencia Peanut Butter. Fortunately for those of us in the Triad, Trader Joe’s at Thruway hasn’t opened yet (word on the street is that it opens next week!), so hopefully there isn’t too much of this peanut butter around. That being said, the recall has recently expanded to include Whole Foods and Target (Archer Farms), Kirkland, and Hines whole peanut products (sold at Walmart), so check your pantry for any peanut items that you mind find from these sources (see this complete list from the FDA for additional brands affected). 

Salmonella can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever with onset usually 8 to 72 hours after ingestion of contaminated foods. Treatment is generally supportive with replacement of fluids and electrolytes, but certainly check with your doctor if you (or your child) start to develop any of these symptoms after ingestion of a suspicious food. Many of the affected have been children, including one in North Carolina. No need to panic – likely all of these products have been taken off the shelves in stores, but just check your pantry and do a clean out if you have any peanut containing products from these sources! :) 

Friday
Oct122012

FYI: Arsenic in Rice and Juice - Hazardous or Hype?

You may have heard the reports in the news last fall, initially announced on the Dr. Oz show, about high levels of arsenic in apple juice.  And the more recent reports released last month, by Consumer Reports, now raising concerns about arsenic levels in rice.  Arsenic?  Most of us recognize this as a very dangerous substance and these headlines are quite alarming.  But before we jump to conclusions that all juice and rice are now off limits, let's review some background information about arsenic. 

Arsenic is a natural element present in the environment (in water, air, and soil) from both natural and human sources, including erosion of arsenic-containing rocks, volcanic eruptions, contamination from mining and smelting ores, and arsenic containing insecticides.  In fact, since the early 1900s, the United States has used over 1.6 million tons of arsenic for agricultural and industrial uses.  Arsenic containing insecticides were used in cotton fields, orchards, and vineyards until their use was banned in the 1980s.  Residues in the soil can still contaminate crops which absorb arsenic through their root systems. Rice is particularly vulnerable to high levels of arsenic during cultivation as it may seep in contaminated groundwater.  Organic arsenic (found in nature) is typically nontoxic, whereas, inorganic arsenic (used primarily in insecticides) has been associated with risk of developing certain types of cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Fortunately, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been monitoring

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Tuesday
Oct092012

Teething Troubles

Have you seen those pearly whites pop through yet? Often the waiting game is the hardest – your child has been drooling for weeks, putting everything in the mouth, and seems incredibly irritable all of the sudden. When you finally see that little ridge poking through the bottom gum, you feel like you can explain why they’ve been a “little off” for a few days!

Some children get teeth and you’d never know it; others won’t eat well, sleep well, or act well for a week while they’re coming in. Likewise, some teeth come in with no problem and others (molars often) come in with a vengeance.

Developmentally at 4 months, babies discover their hands and start to put objects in their mouths. As a result, the drool increases exponentially and everyone starts to think that teeth won’t be far behind. The lower incisors usually start to come in somewhere between 4-8 months. There are a few who have teeth at 4 months, but typically it’s a little closer to 6 months. That being said, some children won’t get teeth until much later – so don’t stress even if your child still has a toothless grin at their first birthday party!

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Tuesday
Oct022012

FYI: Sniffles and sneezes

Along with cooler weather, fun fall activities, and flu vaccines comes the unfortunate and dreaded cough and cold season…bad news guys, it’s officially here.

The common cold is caused by many different types of viruses. In the first years of life, the immune system gets exposed to these various strains of viruses for the first time. A normal, healthy child can get 6-10 colds in any given year – which is why little ones seem to be sick ALL the time during the fall and winter (especially if they’re in daycare).

 

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