Archive: November, 2012
Katherine K. Dahlsgaard, Ph.D., Lead Psychologist - The Anxiety Behaviors Clinic, CHOP
By Katherine K. Dahlsgaard, Ph.D.
American children receive over 30 shots for vaccinations during the course of their lives. That doesn’t include Novocain shots at the dentist’s office and injections to draw blood for tests. Yet In a recent study, 63% of children reported mild-moderate fears of receiving shots (as did about 24% of adults). Estimates vary, but studies have suggested 2-8%of children have injection phobias (i.e., extremely intense fears combined with high anticipatory anxiety that results in impairment in everyday living).
While intense fears may need counseling, parents can help kids overcome mild to moderate fears with these steps:
Katherine K. Dahlsgaard, Ph.D., Lead Psychologist - The Anxiety Behaviors Clinic, CHOP
- Do not wait until the day of the doctor’s appointment to surprise your child with the news that he’ll be getting a shot. Many parents do this, reasoning that if they tell their child in advance, “he will worry about it all week.” However, NOT telling your child in advance a) suggests that YOU think shots are so overwhelming and awful that he should, too, and b) denies your child a chance to develop and practice a good coping plan.
- Tell him about the shot matter-of-factly, modeling calm behavior. If he expresses distress, you can empathize and reassure him that it’s a normal reaction: “I understand that you’re nervous – lots of people don’t like shots.”
- Do not overly reassure your child (“It’ll be okay! It’ll be okay!”) or tell him, “Don’t worry – it won’t hurt.” First, shots do hurt, which he already knows. Second, the greater purpose here is to help him realize he can act bravely even when things are painful.
By Sari Harrar
Beth Wallace Smith, RD, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Is it just me, or is anyone else surprised that it’s time to thaw a turkey?
Ready or not, it’s time for everyone’s favorite food-filled holiday. Thanksgiving gives us the opportunity to share some time with those special to us and over a beautiful meal. But if yours is anything like my family, you will inevitably find a rotating cast of characters in their pajamas staring into an open refrigerator late into the evening hours for leftovers. (Isn’t that the best part?)
Before you saddle your family up for next day turkey sandwiches, make sure your food is safe. Along with that big Thanksgiving meal comes the increased risk of food borne illness. This year alone, one-in-six Americans will have food poisoning, and the holiday party season is a prime target. So how do you keep your family safe?
- Wash! Your! HANDS! - Seems easy enough, right? But when you are shuffling between dirty dishes and transferring leftovers, it’s easy to cross contaminate bacteria between foods. Put all the leftover food away first, washing your hands before and after, then tackle the dishes and trash.
- Chill out - Don’t let foods sit out for more than two hours. Keeping foods at the appropriate temperatures decreases the risk of bacterial growth. When you are ready to store, put small amounts of foods in shallow containers, helping to cool foods quickly and evenly. Avoid storing foods in large containers where the center may take hours to reach the safe temperature of less than 40⁰ F.
- Reheat, then eat - When you are warming up your meal the next day, use a meat thermometer to make sure your food reaches a temperature of 165⁰ F. This is a great resource on cooking and reheating foods Holiday Helper Temperature Chart
- Know when to hold ‘em, and know when to fold ‘em - Most holiday favorites can stay in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, but after that it’s time to toss them. Both cooked turkey and other meats can stay refrigerated for up to four days, or frozen for two to six months. Vegetables, soups, and stews also have a 3-4 day window in the refrigerator, and can be safely frozen for three months.
Christopher C. Chang, MD, PhD
A skin rash…itching…breathing problems…swelling. These can be warning signs that your child is having an allergic reaction to a medication he or she is taking. Some reactions -- like difficulty breathing, hives, fainting, dizziness or abdominal pain -- are a medical emergency that require a call to 9-1-1 and immediate action. But other times, drug reactions aren’t true allergies (in one Canadian study, just one in four reactions to antibiotics in children were allergies) -- but how can a parent tell the difference?
In this post, Healthy Kids expert panelist Christopher C. Chang, MD, PhD, of Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children explains the basics.
By Christopher C. Chang, MD, PhD
By Rima Himelstein
They’re known as study drugs ... party drugs ... vitamin R, the smart drug, addy, a-bomb ...
Regardless of the slang or street names, they’re actually stimulants like ‘Ritalin’ and ‘Adderall’, which are commonly prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). But like many other prescription drugs, they are getting in the wrong hands for the wrong reasons. Look on the Internet for a crash course on what our kids may be learning in between classes.
By Frances Zappalla, DO
After reading a recent study released in Pediatrics that looks at mounting research showing that a child's media use may be linked to their body weight, we decided to call in a top doc to get some tips on how to combat the growing problem. Here, Dr. Zapalla shares her top 10 ways to entice a screen-loving kid to get moving:
- Do you have parks, playgrounds or trails nearby?
Take children to places where they can run, jump, and climb. Don’t discount your child’s imagination…kids are great at inventing new games and entertaining themselves, they just need the opportunity and encouragement to play.
- If your child doesn’t like organized sports, try to figure out why so you can suggest other options.
Does he have trouble with hand-eye coordination? Try biking, walking or running short distances together. I’m a big believer in yoga, for children as well as adults. Check out yoga classes for kids in your area.
- Exercise videos and video games that get your body moving, like Dance, Dance Revolution (DDR) and Wii games are a good way for kids to get physical activity.
Movement-oriented videos and games are a fun alternative to traditional exercise and still provide some of the same health benefits.
- Schedule a regular daily time for physical activity.
For example, after homework and before dinner, take a one-mile walk. Moderate activity can be as simple as walking in the neighborhood or tossing a football around. Try to engage in more vigorous activity three times a week or as often as possible.
- Put your kids on a TV/computer budget to not exceed two hours a day.
Give kids a TV allowance and help them to choose shows they really want to watch. Turn the TV on for pre-selected shows and turn it off afterwards. Keep the TV in a central location and out of kids’ bedrooms.
- Declare “Manual Labor Day.”
Labor-saving devices have lowered our calorie-burning by as much as 500 calories a day. To counter these effects, go manual one day during the week: hang sheets out to dry, weed the garden, wash the dishes and the windows by hand, dust and mop, take the stairs rather than escalators or elevators and put down the remote.
- Get an exercise buddy for yourself and your children.
Walking or working out with someone else increases your chances of staying with the program. Set walking dates with friends, decide on the amount time (for example, a 30-minutes) and make it at least a weekly commitment.
- Make physical activity a family challenge.
Challenge each other to do a few more reps or to go a little further with each walk. Make a chart and have kids record the family’s activity to help you keep track.
- Kick it old school in your own backyard or a local park.
Get a group of kids and grown-ups together for a cookout or campfire and some of those fun picnic games we all remember playing: duck-duck-goose, hot potato, and Simon says.
- Plant a tree.
Talk about what kind of tree you want – one that will flower, provide shade, be a home for birds, etc. – and then as a family choose a tree and plant it. Kids will take pride in watching it grow, knowing that they helped.
Frances Zappalla, DO, is a pediatric cardiologist with the Nemours Cardiac Center at the Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, DE. She trained in pediatric cardiology at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and also completed a fellowship in integrative medicine at the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine.
Garry A. Emmett, M.D., F.A.A.P.
By Garry A. Emmett, M.D., F.A.A.P.
I can blog again now that my married children and their families are out of my apartment in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy -- with one family back in Hoboken and one family finishing their travels on working airplanes! My granddaughter, Rachel, is 2 ½ and is a lot of fun, but as our week together went on, this toddler was increasingly nervous about why her family had to leave home so suddenly and what had happened to her home and school (both, luckily, suffering almost no damage).
Children in general do not like change – disruptions of routine can make them very anxious. Preschool children especially may not understand that loss of a house or a beloved animal is permanent. Their parents also get very anxious. And while adults understand what is happening much more clearly, you may feel uncertain about how much to share with kids -- or how to talk with them about a disaster that’s affected your own family, others in your community or people you hear about via the news media.
- 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