National School Backpack Awareness Day

Backpacks are essential back-to- school items for kids.  They come in different colors, sizes and shapes and most importantly they help children to carry their belongings.  Backpacks are preferred by many in comparison to shoulder bags because when worn correctly, they evenly distribute weight across the body.  However, if worn incorrectly they can cause back pain or injuries and eventually lead to poor posture.

To prevent problems associated with improper backpack use, parents should first purchase a backpack that has the following features:

  • Lightweight
  • Wide and padded straps
  • Multiple compartments
  • Padded back
  • Waist belt
  • Correct size (A backpack should never be wider or longer than your child’s torso).

Practicing these safety tips will further reduce the chance of back pain or injuries caused by backpacks:

  • When packing, heavier items should be placed to the back and center of the backpack. Lighter items should be in front. Sharp objects such as scissors or pencils should be kept away from your child’s back.  Utilizing different compartments can help in distributing weight.
  • Do not over pack. Doctors recommend that children should not carry backpacks that weigh more than 10-15% of their body weight.
  • Ensure that children use both straps. Using a single strap can cause muscle strain.
  • Adjust the straps so that the backpack fits closely to your child’s back and sits two inches above the waist. This ensures comfort and proper weight distribution.
  • Encourage children to use their lockers or desks throughout the day to drop off heavy books.

The Pediatric Orthopedic Society of North America recommends that parents should always look for warning signs that indicate backpacks may be too heavy. If your child struggles to put on and take off the backpack, they are complaining of numbness or tingling or if there are red strap marks on their shoulders -It may be time for you to lighten their load.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

How to prevent head lice

It is back to school season for millions of children across the United States. Undoubtedly at this time of year, there will be several who come home with more than new books. They may also come home with symptoms of a head lice infestation.

Head lice are very tiny, wingless insects that live on the heads, eyelashes and eyebrows of people. They feed on their host’s blood.

The symptoms of a head lice infestation include itching of the scalp, sores that come from scratching the scalp, and sometimes difficulty sleeping caused by the irritation of the scalp.

Since lice do not have the ability to fly, they are transferred from person to person who is in close contact with someone who is already infected. Although uncommon, they can also be transferred by coming in contact with a comb or a brush, a hat, or a shared pillow.

Ways to prevent the transfer of head lice include avoiding:

  • Head-to-head contact with other children
  • Sharing personal items that people typically place on their heads
  • Sharing towels or pillows
  • Storing items that go on the head in close proximity to the items of a person with lice
  • Keeping long hair braided or in a ponytail

Anyone can get head lice. It is not a reflection of cleanliness or socio-economic status. If a school alerts parents that someone has been reported to have them, a good first step would be to check your child and everyone else in the home. Checking for head lice involves very careful inspection of the hair and the scalp. Usually this is done while the hair is wet and a very fine comb is used. Proper lighting is also important. If you are uncertain about how to check for head lice there are professionals in most towns who can provide this service. Some schools will also have staff members who will examine each student at the beginning of the school year as a precaution.

Once it has been confirmed that head lice are present, there are several medications that are available over-the-counter to treat it. Some of these products will contain natural products such as rosemary, lemongrass, tea tree, citronella, and eucalyptus. It is important to follow the directions carefully so that the treatment will be successful. It is important to be vigilant after being treated so as to avoid being infested again.

 

 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Mumps

Pediatrician examining lymph nodes

Are you concerned that your child may contract mumps?  First, we have to find out what mumps is!

Mumps is a viral infection that affects the parotid glands, which are located slightly below and in front of the ears.  If a child has contracted mumps, these glands can swell causing discomfort. Although rare, mumps can potentially cause hearing loss, meningitis, encephalitis and orchitis (in males).

Mumps was common in the United States until a mumps vaccination became available.  After the vaccination, health officials saw the number of cases drop significantly.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), symptoms of mumps usually appear within two weeks of exposure to the virus. Flu-like symptoms may be the first to appear, including:

  • fatigue
  • body aches
  • headache
  • loss of appetite
  • low-grade fever

A high fever (up to 103 degrees Fahrenheit) and swelling of the salivary glands follow over the next few days. The glands may not all swell initially. More commonly, they swell and become painful. The mumps virus is most contagious to another person from the time you come into contact with the virus to when your parotid glands swell.

There isn’t a course of treatment for mumps, so applying warm or cold packs to the swollen glands that are tender can be helpful.  Additionally, health professionals encourage children between the ages of 12 through 15 months of age to receive their first measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination and their second dose at 4 through 6 years of age.

Although mumps is no longer very common in the United States. From year to year, mumps cases can range from roughly a couple hundred to a couple thousand. For more information on how to track mumps outbreaks state, you can visit the CDC site –     https://www.cdc.gov/mumps/outbreaks.html

If you are interested in making an appointment with a pediatrician at Flushing Hospital Medical Center, you can schedule an appointment at our Ambulatory Care Center at 718-670-5486.

 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

BACKPACK = BACKPAIN

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With school in full swing, you may have noticed that your children are carrying, in some cases, more than their body weight in books and supplies affiliated with their school work.  Below is a link with some tips on how to save your childs back from their heavy backpack-

http://www.activebeat.com/your-health/children/back-to-school-backpack-safety-tips/

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

What You Should Know About Your Premature Baby

rbma_0019Learning that your baby will be arriving early can be overwhelming.  You may grow anxious as you wonder; what happens next?  Having a premature baby does have its challenges; however you can better prepare yourself for what to expect through education.

A baby’s birth is considered premature when they are born before the 37th week of pregnancy. There are different levels of prematurity, each of which is influenced by how early your baby was born.  The levels of prematurity are:

  • Late preterm– Babies born between 34 and 36 weeks of pregnancy
  • Moderately preterm– Babies born between 32 and 34 weeks of pregnancy
  • Very preterm- Babies born at less than 32 weeks of pregnancy
  • Extremely preterm– Babies born at or before 25 weeks of pregnancy

The earlier the birth is the higher the risk of health complications that may affect your baby:  Some of the health complications you could encounter are:

  • Heart problems
  • Respiratory problems
  • Eye disease
  • Intestinal problems

To ensure that your baby receives optimal medical attention after delivery, your team of doctors and nurses will take measures needed to stabilize him or her, which means they may need to:

  • Clear the airways and assist the baby in breathing
  • Regulate and monitor the heart rate. If the baby’s heart rate is exceedingly low, CPR may be performed
  • Transfer the baby to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) if he or she is critically ill

If transferred to the NICU, your baby will receive round-the-clock care. NICU’s are well equipped with the technologies needed to monitor and regulate babies’ health. While in the NICU, be sure to:

  • Form a relationship with caregivers
  • Consult with a lactation consultant to ensure your baby is receiving a fresh supply of milk. Breast milk is best. If you are unable to produce milk, speak with your consultant about receiving donor milk.
  • Become your baby’s health advocate. If you have a concern or have noticed something unusual do not be afraid to speak up
  • Touch your baby as much as allowed
  • Talk to your baby as much as possible; your voice will become familiar and offer comfort

The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Flushing Hospital Medical Center is equipped with the latest technology to care for infants born prematurely or with complications. Even the tiniest babies can be cared for in this unit, which provides specialized testing and the use of modern equipment to manage medical and surgical illnesses. The unit is staffed by highly specialized, Board Certified physicians, certified neonatal nurses, nurse practitioners and social workers. NICU babies continue to receive specialized care after discharge. To learn more about the NICU or Obstetrical Unit at Flushing Hospital, please call the Department of Pediatrics at 718-670-5486.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

The Common Core of Common Chores for your Children

Chores

Many parents wrestle with the question of whether or not their children should be required to do chores around the house, and if so, should they be paid for it? There’s really no simple answer.

There are pros and cons to every method of administering an allowance to children. Some think kids should earn money in exchange for doing chores, others believe kids should not be paid for regular contributions that are expected of every family member.  No matter which side you agree with, the point of an allowance is to teach your kids money management skills.

Age appropriate, weekly chores, whether it’s taking out the garbage, emptying the dishwasher, folding clean laundry, walking the dog or light yard work like raking leaves, can help a child develop character. Paying them for their contributions also helps them to develop a respect for earning money.

You might decide on a definite set of weekly chores that your child must complete before being paid, or choose to make a list with a set price per chore and leave it up to them. Bigger tasks like shoveling snow, earn more money, and things like making their bed, earn less.

The method you end up using may not be what you started with, every child is different and the family dynamic and responsibility varies. However you structure it, be flexible. Even if you offer your child an allowance with no strings attached, you shouldn’t hesitate to ask them to do something periodically.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

How Important is Eating Breakfast?

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How important is eating a healthy breakfast to you? Please share your daily morning routine with us. Do you make the time for a healthy breakfast every morning?

Here’s what we know, breakfast is STILL the most important meal of the day.  It provides you with the energy and nutrients that lead to increased concentration whether in the classroom or at work.

Some benefits of eating a healthy breakfast are:

  • Reduces the chance of developing diabetes
  • Reduces the incidence of heart disease
  • Improves cognitive functions related to memory

Additionally, studies have shown that breakfast can be important in maintaining a healthy body weight.

Translation – Eating breakfast is a smart move!

 

 

 

 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Does Your Child Have a Vision Problem?

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When a child can’t see well, you might expect them to verbalize their inability to see clearly or complain of headaches, but a child may not say that they are having trouble with their vision because they don’t realize that the world isn’t supposed to be blurry.

Surprisingly, as many as one out of four children in school have vision problems and a large number of children with vision problems go undetected.  When vision impairment goes undiagnosed, their behavior can be misdiagnosed as a learning disability.

Some common signs of vision problems are:

  • Omitting letters, words or phrases
  • Writing that is difficult to read, crowded or inconsistent in size
  • Mistaking words with similar beginnings
  • Miscalling or omitting “small” words
  • Losing place while reading
  • Misaligning digits in columns of numbers
  • Writing uphill or downhill
  • Reversing letters (d for b) or words (saw for was)
  • Rereads or skips words while reading
  • Lip reading or whisper reading to reinforce comprehension

Parents and educators may assume that when a child passes a school vision screening, there is no vision problem.  However, school vision screenings often only test for visual sharpness.  A child who can see 20/20 can still have a vision problem.

If your child exhibits any of the signs and symptoms listed above, you may want to make an appointment for an eye exam with an Ophthalmologist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Ophthalmology Center.  For an appointment, call 718-206-5900.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Benefit of the Annual Physical

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The greatest benefit of an annual physical is knowledge for both you and your physician.  An annual visit establishes a baseline for your personal health.  Armed with this information, your doctor can detect unhealthy trends before they become risk factors.

Nearly one third of the population with a chronic disease is unaware that they have the disease.  According to the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease, as many as 100,000 lives could be saved each year by increasing preventive care services.

Health screenings, such as blood glucose and blood pressure tests can easily detect the two most chronic conditions, diabetes and hypertension before they cause serious health issues.  The Centers for Disease Control cites that seven out of every 10 deaths are caused by chronic disease.  Proper management of these conditions can prevent unnecessary hospitalization.

In order to get the most out of your annual physical, take a moment to prepare:

  • Make a list of your health concerns
  • Make a list of all the medications you are taking
  • Get a copy of your medical records and your family medical history

Dozens of Patient Care Specialists, on staff at Flushing Hospital Medical Center, are ready to provide you with your annual check-up.

Flushing Hospital is a certified Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) in its Ambulatory Care Center. The Center offers more than 50 outpatient general and specialty services for children adolescents and adults.

Flushing Hospital’s ambulatory care services accepts most major insurances, is centrally located and has convenient patient hours.  Call 718-670-5486 to schedule an appointment.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Foods That Can Be Unsafe for Babies

asian baby eating 497032104The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends the best age for babies to begin eating solid foods is around the age of six months.  Before making the transition to solids, parents should learn the necessary safety measures needed to protect their baby’s health.

The first thing parents have to do before introducing solids to babies is making certain that the infant is able to sit up in a highchair and has good neck and head control.  Additionally, there are certain foods that they should exclude from their child’s menu because their bodies may not be developed enough to digest them. Here is a list of some of these foods:

  • Honey (or foods made with honey): Honey can be harmful to children under the age of one. The spores of the bacteria, Clostridium botulinum, are found in honey and can cause botulism. The symptoms of this illness include; paralysis, shortness of breath, difficulty swallowing, vomiting and abdominal cramps.
  • Cow’s milk: Babies younger than a year old should not consume cow’s milk because it is difficult for them to digest.
  • Smoked or cured meats: Smoked or cured meats such as bacon or bologna usually contain nitrates and other chemicals that can be harmful to babies’ health.
  • Fruit juices: The AAP suggests that fruit juices should be given to infants under the age of six months very minimally or not at all because these juices may contain added sugars. Added sugars are not beneficial for babies’ health and also contain acids that attack enamel in babies’ teeth.
  • Teas: Teas may contain substances such as tannin that can prevent infants from absorbing Iron from food.
  • Salt: Avoid giving infants under 12 months foods that contain too much salt because their kidneys are not fully developed enough to process salt.
  • Fish high in mercury: Some fish such as shark or swordfish are high in mercury and should not be given to babies because they can have a negative effect on their nervous systems.

By following these precautions, parents can safely introduce solid foods to their baby’s diet. Also, keep in mind that if you have a family history of food allergies to consult your pediatrician before giving foods that may cause allergic reactions such as nuts, shellfish or eggs to your child.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.