Christopher C. Chang, M.D., Ph.D, Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, Jefferson Medical Colg
What incredible advances have taken place in world health during the past half century! From the mid-20th century on, discoveries like penicillin, steroids, and other drugs and vaccines have changed the trajectory of human health. Thanks to these advances, the average human life span has doubled from the mid-40s to the mid-80s in less than a century. Amazing progress!
Yet for all our success in treating polio, malaria, and bacterial infections, many diseases are far more prevalent today than they were in decades past. And despite advances in treatment, they remain hard to control. One such example is asthma. Rates of asthma are increasing every year and we don’t quite know why. Asthma is a complex condition. There seem to be factors in “westernization,” including microbial exposure, lifestyle changes, and obesity that have affected our immune systems, making them function in a different way.
Today, there are an astounding 300 million people with asthma globally. The number of people diagnosed with asthma grew by 4.3 million from 2001 to 2009. During that period, asthma rates rose the most among black children, almost a 50 percent increase, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the United States, about 22 million people have asthma, including 6.5 million children. Among kids, asthma accounts for 13 million school days lost and 200 deaths annually. Direct health care expenditures for asthma total more than $14 billion a year in this country.
Hazel Guinto-Ocampo, M.D., Nemours duPont Pediatrics/Bryn Mawr Hospital
Two-year-old Joey had been playing in the basement near the laundry room while his mom was cleaning up in the kitchen after dinner. About a half an hour later, he started throwing up while in the bath. His mom smelled laundry detergent in his vomit. Then she found an empty packet of an All laundry detergent pod – a small, single-use concentrated packet – on the laundry room floor. While being cleaned up, he could barely stand up and became unresponsive within a few minutes. His mom called the Poison Control Center hotline and his dad called 911.
On arrival to the Emergency Department, Joey was very drowsy and barely breathing. A tube was placed in his airway and he was hooked to a ventilator. He spent the night in the pediatric intensive care unit. The next day, specialists performed an endoscopy and found no damage to his breathing tube or to the lining of his esophagus and stomach. Later that day, he became more alert and was breathing on his own. He spent another day in the hospital and when he was able to eat and drink without difficulty, he was discharged home without any anticipated long-term problems.
Household cleaning products, such as laundry detergent and bleach, rank in the top five most common exposures for children 5 years and younger. Until 2012, although about 6,500 cases of young children per year came into contact or swallowed liquid or powdered laundry detergent, injuries were minor, such as mouth irritation or mild vomiting. Children often swallowed very little or would immediately spit them out because of these products’ foul taste.
Anna Nguyen, Healthy Kids blog Editor
Wal-Mart recalled about 174,000 My Sweet Love / My Sweet Baby Cuddle Care baby dolls in the United State sand Canada because they have a circuit board in the chest, which can overheat. This can cause the surface of the doll to get hot, posing a burn hazard to a child. The 16 inch doll comes in pink floral clothing and matching knit hat, and comes packaged with a toy medical check-up kit including a stethoscope, feeding spoon, thermometer and syringe.
Wal-Mart has received 12 reports of incidents, including two reports of burns or blisters to the thumb. For more information, go to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission website.
Janet Rosenzweig, MS, PhD, MPA, VP for Programs & Research for Prevent Child Abuse America
Each year, April is designated as child abuse prevention month by public officials all over the United States and it serves as a reminder of the need to focus on healthy child development. Happy, healthy children grow into happy, healthy, and productive adults and strengthen the economic and social fabric of our community.
Given the United States’ rank in child well-being in a recent UNICEF report, we need to focus extra hard this year. The UNICEF report released last May showed that the U.S. is ranked 32nd out of 34 industrialized nations in terms of child poverty, with 23.1 percent of children living in relative poverty. Other UNICEF reports have shown similar disappointments: A 2011 report shows our country is ranked 26th out of 29th for overall child well-being, and was ranked in the bottom third in every category measured including material well-being, health and safety, education, behaviors and risks, and housing and environment.
Pennsylvania Department of Health statistics tell us that in Philadelphia, more than one-third of all children live in poverty and that the city’s infant death rate is almost 50 percent higher than Pennsylvania as a whole, at 10.7 per 1000 here, compared to 7.3 for Pennsylvania. We know that almost half of all pregnant moms did not receive prenatal care in their first trimester. We know that more than half of all kids have smoked a cigarette by the time they graduate high school, and 10 percent of them smoked before the age of 13. We need to reverse these trends.
Stephen Aronoff, M.D., M.B.A., Temple University Hospital
Bacterial meningitis is a contagious and potentially lethal infection. Recent cases at Princeton and Drexel universities and the infection of an 8-year-old Collegeville elementary school student have raised concerns about the disease across the area. I hope to provide anxious parents with some understanding of the nature of this disease and its spread.
Historically, three species of bacteria accounted for the vast majority of cases of childhood bacterial meningitis: Hemophilus influenzae type b, Streptococcus pneumoniae, and Neisseria meningitides. The advent of modern vaccines has eliminated the disease caused by the first two bacteria for the most part. Neisseria meningitides remains as the most common cause of disease among healthy children and adolescents in the United States.
The disease is spread by respiratory secretions. While the disease is contagious, the attack rate is relatively low. Among household contacts of individuals with meningococcal disease, secondary cases appear at a rate of 2 to 4 in 1,000 household contacts. Children under 5, adolescents and young adults, and the elderly are the groups at highest risk for infection. Most cases occur as single instances, but outbreaks of the disease do occur, often on college campuses or in military barracks.
Denise Jeffery RD, LDN
Denise Jeffery RD, LDN is a clinical dietitian for Healthy Weight Program at The Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia.
This Sassy drink is a great way to get your kids to drink more water. Water supports the normal function of all body parts so adequate consumption daily is important..
Some of the benefits of drinking water include:
- Digestion support
- Constipation prevention
- Proper blood circulation
Anna Nguyen, Healthy Kids blog Editor
Ganz recalled about 8,200 of its Plush Grumpy Cat stuffed animal toys because the stuffed animals’ eyes can detach, posing a choking hazard to young children. The recall includes an 8-inch Grumpy Cat in laying position, a 5-inch long sitting Grumpy Cat and a 4-inch Grumpy Cat key clip.
The company received six reports of the eyes detaching from the Grumpy Cat toys. No injuries have been reported.
For more information, go to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission website.
Anna Nguyen, Healthy Kids blog Editor
Vera Bradley recalled about 98,000 of its Bear Ring Rattles and Bunny Toys because the pom-pom tail can detach from the body of the bear rattle and the bunny, posing a choking hazard to young children.
The bear ring rattle has a white teddy bear head, arms attached to an O-shaped body with a green, blue, brown and pink crisscross pattern design rattle. The bear ring rattle measures about 4.25 inches in diameter. The bunny is 10 inches tall from the top of its head to the bottom of its foot and was sold in three printed patterns.
The company received two reports that the pom-pom tail detached from the product. No injuries have been reported. For more information, go to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission website.
- Allergies and Asthma
- Anita Kulick
- Anna Nguyen
- Beth Wallace
- Child Abuse
- Christopher C. Chang
- Colds and Flu
- Driver's Ed
- Drugs and Alcohol
- Flaura Winston
- Gary A. Emmett
- Growing Pains
- Hazel Guinto-Ocampo
- Health Hazards
- Health reform
- Infectious Diseases
- Janet Rosenzweig
- Katherine Dahlsgaard
- Lauren Falini
- Learning Curve