Category: Health Issues

Cloth Face Coverings for Children

Cloth Face Coverings for Children During COVID-19

 

Why are people wearing cloth face coverings right now?

  • Since so many people who have COVID-19 don’t have symptoms, wearing cloth face coverings reduces the chance of transmitting the virus through the spray of spit or respiratory droplets. This is especially true for when someone with COVID-19 comes within 6 feet of you, which is the range of transmitting infection through acts like sneezing or coughing.​​

Should children wear cloth face coverings?

  • Children under the age of 2 years should not wear cloth face coverings.

When do children need to wear cloth face coverings?

  • There are places where children should wear cloth face coverings. This includes places where they may not be able to avoid staying 6 feet away from others. For example, if you have to take them to the doctor, pharmacy, or grocery store.
  • However, there are other places where children do NOT need to wear a cloth face covering:
    1. At home, assuming they have not been exposed to anyone with COVID-19.
    2. Outside, as long as they can stay at least 6 feet away from others and can avoid touching surfaces. For example, it’s fine to take a walk as long as your children stay 6 feet away from others and do not touch tables, water fountains, playground equipment or other things that infected people might have touched.​
  • Caution: you may need to reconsider the use of cloth face coverings if:
    1. The face coverings are a possible choking or strangulation hazards to your child.
    2. Wearing the cloth face covering causes your child to touch their face more frequently than not wearing it.

Staying home and physical distancing is still the best way to protect your family from COVID-19. Especially for younger children who may not understand why they can’t run up toward other people or touch things they shouldn’t, it’s best to keep them home. Children who are sick (fever, cough, congestion, runny nos​e, diarrhea, or vomiting) should not leave home.

What if my child is scared of wearing a face covering?

  • It’s understandable that children may be afraid of cloth face coverings at first. Here are a few ideas to help make them seem less scary:
    1. Look in the mirror with the face coverings on and talk about it.
      Put a cloth face covering on a favorite stuffed animal.
    2. Decorate them so they’re more personalized and fun.
    3. Show your child pictures of other children wearing them.
    4. Draw one on their favorite book character.
    5. Practice wearing the face covering at home to help your child get used to it.
  • For children under 3, it’s best to answer their questions simply in language they understand. If they ask about why people are wearing cloth face coverings, explain that sometimes people wear them when they are sick, and when they are all better, they stop wearing them.
  • For children over 3, try focusing on germs. Explain that germs are special to your own body. Some germs and good and some are bad. The bad ones can make you sick. Since we can’t always tell which are good or bad, the cloth face coverings help make sure you keep those germs away from your own body.

One of the biggest challenges with having children wear cloth face coverings relates to them “feeling different” or stereotyping them as being sick. As more people wear these cloth face coverings, children will get used to them and not feel singled out or strange about wearing them.

What about children with special health care needs?

  • Children who are considered high-risk or severely immuno-compromised are encouraged to wear an N95 mask for protection.
  • Families of children at higher risk are encouraged to use a standard surgical mask if they are sick to prevent the spread of illness to others.
  • Children with severe cognitive or respiratory impairments may have a hard time tolerating a cloth face covering. For these children, special precautions may be needed.
  • What is the “right way” to wear a cloth face covering?
    1. Place the cloth face covering securely over the nose and mouth and stretch it from ear to ear.
    2. Remember to wash your hands before and after you wear it and avoid touching it once it’s on your face.
    3. When back inside, avoid touching the front of the face covering by taking it off from behind.
    4. Cloth face coverings should not be worn when eating or drinking.
  • Wash cloth face coverings after each wearing.
  • What kind of cloth face covering is best?
    1. Homemade or purchased cloth face coverings are fine for most people to wear.
    2. For children, the right fit is important.
    3. Pleated face coverings with elastic are likely to work best for kids.
    4. Adult cloth face coverings are usually 6×12 inches, and even a child-sized 5×10 inch covering may be too large for small children.
    5. Try to find the right size for your child’s face and be sure to adjust it for a secure fit.

Due to very limited supply now, professional grade masks like N-95 masks should be reserved for medical professionals on the front lines who have increased risk of exposure to coronavirus.

More Information:

For a complete list of COVID-19 content for parents, go to the AAP HealthyChildren.org website and link to the HealthyChildren.org 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Most resources are also available in Spanish.

Flu Update for 2018

 A Message for Caregivers & Teachers

Get Vaccinated for Seasonal Flu Now!
Flu activity is quite elevated in the US. Getting vaccinated is still the single best way to protect against influenza and reduce the risk of becoming sick from it. Annual influenza vaccination is recommended for everyone 6 months of age and older, including all child care staff. It is recommended that everyone get vaccinated NOW if you have not already had the vaccine this season. Because young children pass on infections to others in the community, vaccination of every person in a child care setting is an incredibly valuable step in protecting the public’s health.

Prevent the Spread of Germs
With flu activity increasing during the winter months, as it does every year, the challenge is to keep these flu germs from spreading. Staff members and children should be taught to cover their mouths and noses with a tissue when they cough or sneeze (and then put the tissue in the trash right away) or cough/sneeze into their elbow or upper arm.
Everyone should be encouraged to wash their hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Consider displaying educational materials in Head Start or early education and child care programs to encourage proper hand hygiene and cough/sneeze etiquette. “The Flu: A Guide for Parents”, “Everyday Preventive Actions that can Help Fight Germs, Like Flu”, and “Teaching Children About the Flu” are examples of free materials available on the CDC Print Materials Web page.

If You Get the Flu, Antiviral Drugs May Be an Option
Antiviral drugs are prescription medicines that are used to treat the flu. They can shorten a person’s flu illness, make it milder, and can prevent serious complications. Antivirals can be given anytime during the illness, but they work best when started during the first 2 days. Antiviral drugs are recommended to treat flu, especially those who are at high risk of serious flu complications, are very sick, or are hospitalized. Antivirals can be given to children and pregnant women.
Ready Wrigley and Preparedness for Flu Season

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) worked with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop a Ready Wrigley Activity Booklet on influenza. This book includes tips, activities, and stories to help families prepare for influenza. The book is designed for children 2 to 8 years of age. The Ready Wrigley Activity Book series is produced by the CDC Children’s Preparedness Unit and CDC communication specialists. Child care professionals can print copies of the book for their center or share a link to the book with families.
Managing Infectious Diseases in Child Care and Schools: A Quick Reference Guide (4th Edition)
This AAP manual provides child care directors, teachers, and caregivers with important information about the prevention and management of influenza and other infectious diseases that circulate in group care settings. The guide contains helpful reference guides, including quick reference sheets on specific conditions or diseases. Detailed chapters address infection control measures, immunizations, and inclusion/exclusion criteria. Information within this manual can be used to implement new strategies within the center.

Archived Webinar
In January 2018, the AAP collaborated with CDC to conduct a webinar titled, “Preparing Head Start/Child Care and Communities for Seasonal and Pandemic Influenza.” By watching this archived webinar, the viewer can learn about the recommendations for this flu season and find out why everyone who works in Head Start and child care programs should get the vaccine each year. The webinar also shares strategies to prevent and control the spread of influenza in child care settings and explores ways to prepare for an unlikely but dangerous flu pandemic. The webinar is available online.

Thomas Fire (wildfires) and the Health Risk to Children

The Thomas Fire has been devastating and poses a major health concern for the young and old, alike.  Here are some guidelines that can be helpful during the acute phase of this fire:

The Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units (PEHSU) Network encourage families, pediatricians, and communities to work together to ensure that children are protected from exposure to environmental hazards. Wildfires expose children to a number of environmental hazards, e.g., fire, smoke, psychological stress, and the byproducts of combustion of wood, plastics, and other chemicals released from burning structures and furnishings. During the acute phase of wildfire activity, the major hazards to children are fire and smoke. Acute stress from fire activity and response to the fires and the emotional responses of those around them can also impact children during this time.

Children, individuals with pre-existing lung or cardiovascular problems, pregnant women, elderly, and smokers are especially vulnerable to environmental hazards such as smoke. Children are in a critical period of development when toxic exposures can have profound negative effects, and their exploratory behavior often places them in direct contact with materials that adults would avoid.

The acute phase environmental hazards for children and their family are highlighted below.

SMOKE consists of very small organic particles, liquid droplets, and gases such as CO, CO2, and other volatile organic compounds, such as formaldehyde and acrolein. The actual content of smoke depends upon the fuel source.

HEALTH EFFECTS OF SMOKE: Symptoms from smoke inhalation can include chest tightness, shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, respiratory tract and eye burning, chest pain, dizziness or lightheadedness, and other symptoms. Asthma symptoms may flare up. The risk of developing cancer from short-term exposures to smoke is vanishingly small.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Stay indoors with windows and doors closed and any gaps in the building envelope sealed. Avoid strenuous activity.
If available and if needed for comfort, run an air-conditioner on the “recirculate” setting. Be sure to change the filter at appropriate intervals. Other types of room or central air filtration systems may help remove airborne particles, but they need to be selected to adequately filter the area in which they serve. Some electronic air cleaners and ozone generating “filters” can generate dangerous amounts of ozone indoors (see the Wildfire Smoke – A Guide for Public Health Officials resource). These ozone filtration systems do not remove harmful contaminants from the air and are not recommended.

Never operate gasoline powered generators indoors – they produce dangerous carbon monoxide. Avoid smoking, using wood stoves, and other activities that add to indoor air contamination.
If there is a period of improved air quality, open up (air out) the house and clean to remove dust particles that have accumulated inside.

Humidifiers or breathing through a wet washcloth may be useful in dry climates to keep mucous membranes moist, although this does nothing to prevent inhalation of contaminants.

When riding in a car, keep the windows and vents closed. If comfort requires air circulation, turn the air-conditioning on “re-circulate” to reduce the amount of outside air drawn into the car.

Children with asthma, heart disease, and others considered at high risk from health effects from contaminant inhalation should be moved to an adequate “clean air” shelter, which may be in their home, in the home of a friend or relative, or in a publicly-provided “clean air” shelter.

Use of Masks

Paint, dust, and surgical masks are not effective obstacles to inhalation of the fine airborne particles generated by wildfires. For information on use of respiratory protection for adults see “Wildfire Smoke – A Guide for Public Health Officials.”  [See local Neighborhood Clinics for distribution of masks]

Although smaller sized masks may appear to fit a child’s face, none of the manufacturers of masks recommend their use in children. If a child is in air quality severe enough to warrant wearing a mask, they should be removed to an indoor environment with cleaner air.

Air Quality Index

The Air Quality Index indicates how dangerous the air is to breathe based upon the measurement of various pollutants such as ozone and small particles (PM2.5). The smoke from wildfires contains large amounts of these hazardous particles. In areas where the Air Quality Index is not determined, measuring PM2.5 is a good substitute for determining the air quality. 
Recommended actions for each level of air quality can be found in the Wildfire Smoke – A Guide for Public Health Officials and Air Quality Index – A Guide to Air Quality and Your Health resources cited below. The current air quality index can be found at http://www.airnow.gov.

CLOSING OF SCHOOLS AND BUSINESSES may become necessary because of smoke exposure risk when air quality is so poor that even traveling between indoor locations places people at risk. However, in some situations the school may be a relatively protected indoor environment with better air quality and where children’s activity can be monitored.

CONSIDERATION OF EVACUATION because of smoke should weigh the effects of smoke exposure during the evacuation versus what the exposure would be while resting quietly inside one’s home. A disorderly evacuation can unnecessarily increase the duration and extent of smoke exposure. Remember to pack at least 5 days of any medications taken by family members.
ASH: Recent fires may have deposited large amounts of ash on indoor and outdoor surfaces in areas near the fire. This ash may be irritating to the skin and may be irritating to the nose and throat and may cause coughing. The following steps are recommended:
Do not allow children or animals to play in ash.
Wear gloves, long sleeved shirts, and long pants when handling
ash, and avoid skin contact.
Wash any home-grown fruits or vegetables before eating.
Avoid spreading the ash in the air; wet down the ash before
attempting removal; do not use leaf blowers or shop vacuums.

PSYCHOLOGICAL EFFECTS ON CHILDREN: During the acute phase, parents and caregivers should also be alert to children’s emotional health and psychological wellbeing. It is important to keep in mind the youngest members of our society may easily become saturated with graphic pictorial images and incessant talk of smoke, flames and destruction. Resulting stress and anxiety may be manifested in a variety of ways, depending upon the developmental stage of an individual child:
Clinging, fears
Uncooperative behaviors, irritability
Nightmares
Physical complaints
Changes in eating or sleeping patterns
Regression
Indifference
Parents and caregivers can support children in a number of ways:
Maintain previously established routines and structures as much as possible.
Provide an open door and a listening ear for children; encourage the expression of feelings through a variety of pathways, e.g.,music, art, journaling, talking.
Answer questions openly and honestly, remaining mindful of the age of the child will determine how information is shared.
Reassure and hug when hugs are wanted; practice patience and adopt a peaceful demeanor, as children take their cues from the clues given by their parents and the environment.
To contact your local Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit with any questions about this fact sheet please visit http://www.pehsu.net.

ALLERGIES

Allergies
 

Allergies and asthma, which typically start in childhood, are by far the most common chronic diseases among children in the United States. Consider the following statistics:

Some 50 million Americans have allergies (about 1 in 5 people in this country).
The most common type of allergy is hay fever (allergic rhinitis); the medical cost of treating it, when direct and indirect costs are added up, now exceeds $7 billion a year.
More than 17 million Americans have asthma, and about one-fourth of these are younger than 18 years. Asthma accounts for about 4,000 deaths a year.
Seventy to 80% of school-aged children with asthma also have allergies, which are among the most common triggers for asthma, closely tied with viral respiratory infections.
If one parent has allergies, there’s a 25% chance that a child will also be allergic. The risk is more than doubled to 60% to 70% if both parents have allergies.
Many aspects of allergies, eczema, and asthma still are not fully understood. But advances in the diagnosis and treatment of these disorders are helping millions of sufferers.

What Are Allergies?
Many people mistakenly use the word allergy to refer to a disease or almost any unpleasant or adverse reaction. We often hear someone say, “I have allergies,” “He’s allergic to hard work,” or “She’s allergic to anything that’s green.” In reality, allergies are reactions that are usually caused by an overactive immune system. These reactions can occur in a variety of organs in the body, resulting in diseases such as asthma, hay fever, and eczema.

Your immune system is made up of a number of different cells that come from organs throughout the body—principally bone marrow, the thymus gland, and a network of lymph nodes and lymph tissue scattered throughout the body, including the spleen, gastrointestinal tract, tonsils, and the adenoid (an olive-shaped structure that is located at the top of the throat behind the nose).

Normally, it’s the immune system that protects the body against disease by searching out and destroying foreign invaders, such as viruses and bacteria. In an allergic reaction, the immune system overreacts and goes into action against a normally harmless substance, such as pollen or animal dander. These allergy-provoking substances are called allergens.

Who Is at Risk?
Although allergies can develop at any age, they most commonly show up during childhood or early adulthood. A search of family medical histories of a child with allergies will usually turn up a close relative who also has allergies. If one parent, brother, or sister has allergies, there is a 25% chance that a child will also have allergies. The risk is much higher if both parents are allergic. But the child will not necessarily be allergic to the same substances as the parents or always show the same type of allergic disease (eg, hay fever, asthma, eczema).

Symptoms Associated With Allergies
Eyes, Ears, Nose, Mouth
Red, teary, or itchy eyes
Puffiness around the eyes
Sneezing
Runny nose
Itchy nose, nose rubbing
Postnasal drip
Nasal swelling and congestion
Itchy ear canals
Itching of the mouth and throat

Lungs
Hacking dry cough or cough that produces clear mucus
Wheezing (noisy breathing)
Feeling of tightness in the chest
Low exercise tolerance
Rapid breathing; shortness of breath

Skin
Eczema (patches of itchy, red skin rash)
Hives (welts)

Intestines
Cramps and intestinal discomfort
Diarrhea
Nausea or vomiting

Miscellaneous 
Headache
Feelings of restlessness, irritability
Excessive fatigue

When to Suspect an Allergy
Allergies can result in various types of conditions. Some are easy to identify by the pattern of symptoms that invariably follows exposure to a particular substance; others are more subtle and may masquerade as other conditions. Here are some common clues that should lead you to suspect your child may have an allergy.

Patches of bumps or itchy, red skin that won’t go away
Development of hives—intensely itchy skin eruptions that usually last for a few hours and move from one part of the body to another
Repeated or chronic cold-like symptoms, such as a runny nose, nasal stuffiness, sneezing, and throat clearing, that last more than a week or two, or develop at about the same time every year
Nose rubbing, sniffling, snorting, sneezing, or drippy nose
Itchy, runny eyes
Itching or tingling sensations in the mouth and throat
Coughing, wheezing, difficulty breathing, and other respiratory symptoms
Unexplained bouts of diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and other intestinal symptoms.

Where does ASTHMA fit in?
Although allergies can trigger asthma and asthma is often associated with allergies, they are actually 2 different things. In simple terms, asthma is a chronic condition originating in the lungs, whereas allergies describe reactions that originate in the immune system and can affect many organs, including the lungs. Many different substances and circumstances can trigger an asthma attack—exercise, exposure to cold air, a viral infection, air pollution, noxious fumes, tobacco smoke, and for many asthma sufferers, a host of allergens. In fact, about 80% of children with asthma also have allergies. Although allergies are important in triggering asthma, severe asthma exacerbations are often set off by the good old common cold virus, totally unrelated to allergy.
Last Updated
 11/21/2015
Source
 Guide to Your Childs Allergies and Asthma (Copyright © 2011 American Academy of Pediatrics)

Head Lice… what to know

No denying… Head lice is a nuisance, but they don’t cause serious illness or diseases ~

Also, head lice can be treated at home.

The following information from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) will help you check for, treat, and prevent the spread of head lice.

What are head lice?

Head lice are tiny insects. They are about the size of a sesame seed (2–3 mm long). Their bodies are usually pale and gray, but color may vary. One “lice” is called a louse.

Head lice feed on tiny amounts of blood from the scalp. They usually survive less than a day if not on a person’s scalp. Lice lay and attach their eggs to hair close to the scalp.

The eggs and their shell casings are called nits. They are oval (about 0.8 x 0.3 mm) and usually yellow to white. Nits are attached with a sticky substance that holds them firmly in place. After the eggs hatch, the empty nits remain attached to the hair shaft.

Head lice live about 28 days. They can multiply quickly, laying up to 10 eggs a day. It only takes about 12 days for newly hatched eggs to reach adulthood. This cycle can repeat itself every 3 weeks if head lice are left untreated.

Who gets head lice?

Anyone can get head lice. Head lice are most common in preschool– and elementary school–aged children. It doesn’t matter how clean your hair or home may be. It doesn’t matter where children and families live, play, or work.

How are head lice spread?

Head lice are crawling insects. They cannot jump, hop, or fly. The main way head lice spread is from close, prolonged head-to-head contact. There is a very small chance that head lice will spread because of sharing items such as combs, brushes, and hats.

What are symptoms of head lice?

The most common symptom of head lice is itching. It may take up to 4 weeks after lice get on the scalp for the itching to begin. Most of the itching happens behind the ears or at the back of the neck. Also, itching caused by head lice can last for weeks, even after the lice are gone. However, an itchy scalp also may be caused by eczema, dandruff, or an allergy to hair products.

How do you check for head lice?

Regular checks for head lice are a good way to spot head lice before they have time to multiply and infest your child’s head.

  • Seat your child in a brightly lit room.
  • Part the hair and look at your child’s scalp.
  • Look for crawling lice and for nits.
    • Live lice are hard to find. They avoid light and move quickly.
    • Nits will look like small white or yellow-brown specks and be firmly attached to the hair near the scalp. The easiest place to find them is at the hairline at the back of the neck or behind the ears. Nits can be confused with many other things, such as dandruff, dirt particles, or hair spray droplets. The way to tell the difference is that nits are attached while dandruff, dirt, or other particles are not.
  • Wet the hair. Use a fine-toothed comb to help comb out the lice or nits. Comb through your child’s hair in small sections. After each comb-through, wipe the comb on a wet paper towel. Examine the scalp, comb, and paper towel carefully.

How do you treat head lice?

Check with your child’s doctor first before beginning any head lice treatment. The most effective way to treat head lice is with head lice medicine. Head lice medicine should only be used when it is certain that your child has head lice.

When head lice medicines are used, it is important to use them safely. Here are some safety guidelines.

  • Follow the directions on the package.
  • Never let children apply the medicine. Medicine should be applied by an adult.
  • Check with your child’s doctor before beginning a second or third treatment. A second treatment is usually needed 10 days after the first treatment. In some cases a third treatment 10 days after the second treatment is needed.
  • Do not use medicine on a child 2 years or younger without first checking with your child’s doctor.
  • Do not use or apply medicine to children if you are pregnant or nursing without first checking with your doctor.
  • Store medicine in a locked cabinet, out of sight and reach of children.
  • Ask your child’s doctor if you have any questions.

Note: The comb-out method (removing head lice without medicine from damp hair with a fine-toothed comb) often fails. Also, home remedies, like using petroleum jelly, mayonnaise, tub margarine, herbal oils, or olive oil, have not been scientifically proven to work. Never use dangerous products like gasoline or kerosene or medicines made for use on animals!

What head lice medicines are available?

Here is a list of head lice medicines approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. Check with your child’s doctor before beginning any treatment.

Head Lice Medicines
TreatmentDescription
Permethrin cream (1%)Available without a prescription

Applied to shampooed and towel dried hair, then rinsed off after 10 minutes

Approved for use in children 2 months and older

Pyrethrin-based product (shampoo or hair mousse)Available without a prescription

Applied to dry hair and rinsed off after 10 minutes

Should not be used in people who are allergic to chrysanthemums

Malathion lotion (0.5%)Prescription needed

Applied to dry hair and rinsed off after 8 to 12 hours

Approved for use in children 6 years or older

Flammable; may cause chemical burns

Benzyl alcohol lotion (0.5%)Prescription needed.

Applied to dry hair and rinsed off after 10 minutes. Repeat in 7 days.

Contains no neurotoxic pesticide.

Approved for use in children 6 months and older. Not recommended for infants younger than 6 months.

Spinosad topical suspension (9%)Prescription needed.

Applied to dry hair and rinsed off after 10 minutes.

Approved for use in children 4 years and older. Not recommended for infants younger than 6 months.

Made from a naturally occurring soil bacterium that causes lice to become paralyzed and then die. Also contains benzyl alcohol.

Ivermectin lotion (0.5%)Prescription needed.

Applied to dry hair and rinsed off after 10 minutes.

Approved as a one-time-use, topical treatment of head lice in children 6 months and older. If there is leftover medicine, it needs to be thrown out, not reused.

Lindane shampoo (1%)Prescription needed

No longer recommended by most experts

What else do I need to know about treating head lice?

You do not need to throw away any items belonging to your child. However, you may want to wash your child’s clothes, towels, hats, and bed linens in hot water and dry on high heat if they were used within 3 days before head lice were found and treated. Items that cannot be washed may be dry-cleaned or sealed in a plastic bag for 2 weeks.

Do not spray pesticides in your home; they can expose your family to dangerous chemicals and are not necessary when you treat your child’s scalp and hair properly.

If your child has head lice, all household members and close contacts should also be checked and treated if necessary.

About “no-nit” policies

Some schools have “no-nit” policies stating that students who still have nits in their hair cannot return to school. The AAP and the National Association of School Nurses discourage such policies and believe a child should not miss school because of head lice.

Remember

Head lice don’t put your child at risk for any serious health problems. If your child has head lice, work quickly to treat your child to prevent the head lice from spreading.

Additional Information

A New Sleep Book for Parents…

What Every Parent Needs to Know

American Academy of Pediatrics

Edited by: Rachel Moon, MD, FAAP

Description

New! Sooner or later, most parents face challenges at bedtime. From infants and toddlers, to school-age kids and adolescents, sleeptime problems can affect everyone in the family. And no matter what your child’s difficulty may be – getting to sleep, staying asleep, bed-wetting, fears or nightmares – it’s never too late to take steps to correct it.
The latest in a series of parenting books from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), Sleep: What Every Parent Needs to Know helps caregivers like you better understand sleep, answering questions and examining conflicting theories in order to help you make the best decisions for your family.
Topics include:
• The functions of sleep and how much your child needs
• Newborn sleep patterns
• Sleep theories and strategies for success
• Bedtime routines and rituals
• Coping with fears and nightmares
• Tips for solving common problems
• Helping regulate multiples’ sleep
• Changes during adolescence
Sleep: What Every Parent Needs to Know was written and edited by pediatricians – many of whom have been sleep-deprived parents at one time or another – and who have helped many families in their care. They recognize that there is not always an easy, one-size-fits-all answer to a sleep problem. With their recommended strategies for establishing good sleep habits, and your unique understanding of your child, this book can help ensure you and your family get all the rest you need.

Some Helpful Allergy Tips

When to Suspect an Allergy

  • Repeated or chronic cold-like symptoms that last more than a week or two, or develop at about the same time every year. These could include a runny nose, nasal stuffiness, sneezing, throat clearing, and itchy, watery eyes.
  • Recurrent coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, difficulty breathing, and other respiratory symptoms may be a sign of asthma. Coughing may be an isolated symptom; symptoms that increase at night or with exercise are suspicious for asthma.
  • Recurrent red, itchy, dry, sometime scaly rashes in the creases of the elbows and/or knees, or on the back of the neck, buttocks, wrists, or ankles.
  • Symptoms that occur repeatedly after eating a particular food that may include hives, swelling, gagging, coughing or wheezing, vomiting or significant abdominal pain.
  • Itching or tingling sensations in the mouth, throat and/or ears during certain times of year or after eating certain foods.

Common Allergies on the Homefront

  • Dust mites (dust mites are microscopic and are found in bedding, upholstered furniture and carpet as well as other places)
  • Furred animal allergens (dogs, cats, guinea pigs, gerbils, rabbits, etc.)
  • Pest allergens (cockroaches, mice, rats)
  • Pollen (trees, grasses, weeds)
  • Molds and fungi (including molds too small to be seen with the naked eye)
  • Foods (cow’s milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish)

How to Manage Allergic Nasal Symptoms

  • Nasal allergy symptoms can be caused by a variety of environmental allergens including indoor allergens such as dust mites, pets, and pests as well as outdoor allergens such as pollens.  Molds, which can be found indoors and outdoors, can also trigger nasal allergy symptoms.
  • Allergy testing should be performed to determine what, if any, of these environmental allergens your child is allergic to.
    An important step in managing allergy symptoms is avoidance of the allergens that trigger the symptoms.
  • If your child is allergic to pets, the addition of pets to your family would not be recommended. If your child has allergy symptoms and is allergic to a pet that lives with your family, the only way to have a significant impact on your child’s exposure to pet allergens is to find the pet a new home.
  • If your child is allergic to pests, professional extermination, sealing holes and cracks that serve as entry points for pests, storing foods in plastic containers with lids and meticulous clean up of food remains can help to eliminate the pests and reduce allergen levels.
  • Dust mites congregate where moisture is retained and food for them (human skin scales) is plentiful. They are especially numerous in bedding, upholstered furniture, and rugs. Padded furnishings such as mattresses, box springs, and pillows should be encased in allergen-proof, zip-up covers, which are available through catalogs and specialized retailers. Wash linens weekly and other bedding, such as blankets, every 1 to 2 weeks in hot water. (The minimum temperature to kill mites is 130 degrees. If you set your water heater higher than 120 degrees, the recommended temperature to avoid accidental scald burns, take care if young children are present in the home.)
  • If your child is allergic to outdoor allergens, it can be helpful to use air conditioners when possible. Showering or bathing at the end of the day to remove allergens from body surfaces and hair can also be helpful. For patients with grass pollen allergy, remaining indoors when grass is mowed and avoiding playing in fields of tall grass may be helpful. Children with allergies to molds should avoid playing in piles of dead leaves in the fall.

Medications to Control Symptoms

Your child’s allergy treatment should start with your pediatrician, who may refer you to a pediatric allergy specialist for additional evaluations and treatments.

  • Antihistamines – Ones taken by mouth can help with itchy watery eyes, runny nose and sneezing, as well as itchy skin and hives. Some types may cause drowsiness.
  • Nasal Corticosteroids – Highly effective for allergy symptom control and are widely used to stop chronic symptoms. Safe to use in children over long periods of time. Must be used daily.
  • Allergy Immunotherapy – Immunotherapy, or allergy shots, may be recommended to reduce your child’s allergy symptoms. Allergy shots are only prescribed in patients with confirmed allergy. If allergen avoidance and medications are not successful, allergy shots for treatment of respiratory allergies to pollen, dust mites, cat and dog dander, and outdoor molds can help  decrease the need for daily medication.
  • Ask your doctor about additional therapies.

Managing Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis):

  • Steroid creams are very effective. When used sparingly and at the lowest strength that does the job, they are very safe.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory creams or ointments can be used for itching and redness and decrease the need for steroid creams.
  • Antihistamine medication may be prescribed to relieve the itching, and help break the itch-scratch cycle.
  • Long-sleeved sleepwear may also help prevent nighttime scratching.
    Soaps containing perfumes and deodorants may be too harsh for children’s sensitive skin.
  • Use laundry products that are free of dyes and perfumes and double-rinse clothes, towels and bedding.
  • Lukewarm soaking baths are good ways to treat the dry skin of eczema. Gently pat your child dry after the bath to avoid irritating the skin with rubbing. Then, liberally apply moisturizing cream right away.
  • Eczema, particularly when severe, may be associated with food allergies (e.g., milk, egg, peanut).
  • Launder new clothes thoroughly before your child wears them. Avoid fabric softener.

Choosing Over-the-Counter Medicines for Your Child

“Over-the-counter” (OTC) means you can buy the medicine without a doctor’s script. Talk with your child’s doctor or pharmacist before giving your child any medicine, especially the first time.

All OTC medicines have the same kind of label. The label gives important information about the medicine. It says what it is for, how to use it, what is in it, and what to watch out for. Look on the box or bottle, where it says “Drug Facts.”

Check the chart on the label to see how much medicine to give. If you know your child’s weight, use that first. If not, go by age. Check the label to make sure it is safe for infants and toddlers younger than 2 years. If you are not sure, ask your child’s doctor.

Call the doctor right away if..

Your child throws up a lot or gets a rash after taking any medicine. Even if a medicine is safe, your child may be allergic to it.

Your child may or may not have side effects with any drug. Be sure to tell the doctor if your child has any side effects with a medicine.

Over-the-Counter Medicines

Type of medicine

What it’s used for

What else you need to know

Aspirin

Never give aspirin to your child unless your child’s doctor tells you it’s safe. Aspirin can cause a very serious liver disease called Reye syndrome. This is especially true when given to children with the flu or chickenpox.

Hydrocortisone (high-druh-KOR-tuh-zohn) or cortisone cream

Treats insect bites, mild skin rashes, poison ivy, and eczema (EGG-zu-muh).

Ask the doctor how often you can put it on your child’s skin. Don’t put any on your child’s face unless the doctor says it is OK.

Never use this cream on burns, infections, cuts, or broken skin.

Pain and fever medicine

Helps fever and headaches or body aches. Also can help with pain from bumps or soreness from a shot. Examples are acetaminophen (uh-SET-tuh-MIN-uh-fin) and ibuprofen (eye-byoo-PROH-fin). Tylenol is one brand name for acetaminophen. Advil and Motrin are brand names for ibuprofen.

Saline (saltwater) nose drops

May help if your baby is having trouble eating or sleeping because of a stuffy nose.

Put 1 to 2 drops into each side of the nose. Then use a bulb syringe to suck our the drops and mucus.

Using a bulb syringe can make the nose sore, so try not to use it too often.

Stomach medicines

Treats problems like heartburn, gas, not being able to pass stool (constipation), or loose, runny stools (diarrhea).

There are different kinds of medicines, depending on what the problem is. Talk with your child’s doctor before using any of them.

Most of these problems go away on their own. Sometimes just changing your child’s diet helps.

Some stomach medicines also contain aspirin, which can harm your child. See “Aspirin” on the first page of this handout.

via HealthyChildren.org – Choosing Over-the-Counter Medicines for Your Child.

Immunization Status

Are Kids Up-To-Date on Their Vaccines?

There are many life-threatening infectious diseases – such as pertussis, diphtheria, mumps and measles – which were witnessed first-hand by our parents and grandparents.  These diseases are now largely preventable because of vaccines, but if children are not fully immunized, history can repeat itself.

The Protect Tomorrow campaign brings to life the memories of these diseases, reminds parents how devastating these illnesses can be, and urges them to talk with their pediatricians about vaccinating their children.

Click here to view this compelling video about the importance of immunizing children.

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