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Your Child

A History Lesson: New Year’s Day

1:30

As families around the world gather together to say goodbye to 2016 and welcome the new calendar year, a look back on one of the most festive holidays, New Year's Day, is a fun history lesson to share.

Amazingly, celebrating the New Year goes back about 4,000 years!

New Year’s day hasn’t always been celebrated on the first day of January. The date has changed over the centuries as calendars have been adjusted.

The Babylonians began their new year near the end of March, a logical time to start a new year since winter was over, spring with its new life was beginning, and farmers started planting crops for the coming year.

Throughout antiquity, civilizations around the world developed increasingly sophisticated calendars, typically pinning the first day of the year to an agricultural or astronomical event. In Egypt, for instance, the year began with the annual flooding of the Nile, which coincided with the rising of the star Sirius. The first day of the Chinese New Year, meanwhile, occurred with the second new moon after the winter solstice.

But, leave it to the Romans to make the mathematical corrections needed to find the appropriate date.

In 153 B.C., the Roman senate decreed the New Year to begin on January 1 to correct the earlier calendars, which had become out of synch with the sun.

While January 1st had no agricultural or season significance, it did have a civil one. On that date the newly elected Roman consuls would step into their positions. Interestingly, the month of January is named for the Roman god Janus, who had two faces, which can represent looking back at the old year and one looking forward to the new one.

Countries around the world bring in the New Year with unique symbols and traditions related to their ancestral history.

The custom of making resolutions on New Year’s Day is as old as the holiday itself. Even the Babylonians made resolutions, the most popular one being to return farm equipment!

The ancient Romans also made resolutions for the New Year; their most popular was to ask for forgiveness from their enemies- one we can still use in this modern age.

The Anglo-Saxons, who settled what is England, had a festival called Yule, which celebrated a fertile and peaceful season. The boar was a part of this celebration and people would make solemn "boar oaths" for the coming year.

Worldwide, New Year celebrations have become intertwined with religious beliefs, good luck, wishes, superstitions…. And traditional foods!

•       In the southern US, black-eyed peas and pork foretell good fortune.

•       Eating any ring-shaped treat (such as a donut) symbolize “coming full circle” and leads to good fortune. In Dutch homes, fritters called olie bollen are served.

•       The Irish enjoy pastries called bannocks.

•       The tradition of eating 12 grapes at midnight comes from Spain.

•       In India and Pakistan, rice promises prosperity.

•       Apples dipped in honey are a Rosh Hashanah tradition.

•       In Swiss homes, dollops of whipped cream, symbolizing the richness of the year to come, are dropped on the floors (and allowed to remain there.)

Beverages have also played a large role in celebrating the New Year.

Although the pop of a champagne cork signals the arrival of the New Year around the world, some countries have their own traditions.

•       Wassail, the Gaelic term for “good health” is served in some parts of England.

•       Spiced “hot pint” is the Scottish version of Wassail. Traditionally, the Scots drank to each other’s prosperity and also offered this warm drink to neighbors along with a small gift.

•       In Holland, toasts are made with hot, spiced wine.

Fireworks are also customary in many countries. Millions of people can now watch other nations bring in the New Year on television. Every year the firework displays grow larger and more astonishing; typically set to music.

The ever-popular “Auld Lang Syne” still reverberates throughout many English-speaking countries.

The history of New Year’s Day reminds us that the past is the past, nothing we can do will change that, but a new beginning is available. We can always sweep the dust away and begin creating better tomorrows.

Happy New Year!

Story sources: http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/new-years

http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/new-years

Victoria Doudera, http://www.almanac.com/content/new-year-traditions-around-world

Your Child

Back-to-School Wellness Checkup

2:00

A new school year is coming up fast and now is the time to make sure your child has a wellness physical.

If you take care of school-aged children, you know that’s just one reason to schedule a back-to-school physical. Your school district will have specific guidelines; for some, the annual physical is mandatory. Most districts also need proof of up-to-date immunizations before your child can enter certain grades.

Setting aside time for a general health checkup will allow the doctor to thoroughly assess your child’s physical and psycho-social development, and provide an opportunity to answer your questions. Check your health insurance for well visits to make sure you’re covered. You can also see what the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends for a wellness physical at https://www.aap.org/en-us/Pages/Default.aspx.

What can you expect from a back-to-school checkup?

The physical aspect of the exam should include an assessment of:

  • Spinal alignment to rule out scoliosis.
  • Eyes, ears, nose, skin, and mouth for any abnormalities that may need follow-up
  • Fine and gross motor development
  • Height and weight
  • Blood pressure and heart rate
  • Reflexes

Children at risk for lead poisoning or tuberculosis may be screened for those issues, and kids who are overweight or with a family history of high cholesterol may have their cholesterol checked.

Sexually active teenagers should be screened for sexually transmitted diseases, and girls should have a pelvic exam. Your doctor should also talk to older children about what to expect as their bodies begin to change at puberty.

While your at the doctor’s office, have them look at your child’s immunization records to make sure everything is up to date. If not, see if your child can get the necessary vaccines.

Sometimes, a psychological and behavioral exam, based on the child’s age, is included. The doctor should ask questions about school performance, including achievements or difficulties, and also about friendships and socialization.

Expect that your doctor may also talk about injury prevention, such as requiring your child to wear a bike helmet and protective gear when playing sports; safely storing firearms in your home; and making wise health decisions regarding drugs, alcohol, and tobacco.

Before visiting the pediatrician:

  • Make a list of the questions you want to ask. It’s easy to forget some of your questions once you’re in the office.
  • Remind your doctor if your child is homeschooled so they will include vision and hearing screenings in the visit (these are typically done at school).
  • Request age-appropriate nutrition counseling if you have a family history of heart disease, diabetes, or obesity or weight issues.
  • Direct your young athlete’s exam toward sports issues, such as training, nutrition, and exercise, and ask about signs of overuse injuries.
  • Maintain a regular schedule of well visits so your child will develop a trusting relationship with your pediatrician. This will enhance continuity of care, and the doctor will be able to assess conditions more readily because they’ll have a well-established baseline of information about your child.

Many schools will begin classes by late August or early September. Now’s the time to make sure your little one is all set to go!

Story source: Lynda Shrager, http://www.everydayhealth.com/columns/lynda-shrager-the-organized-caregiver/5-tips-for-a-successful-back-to-school-checkup/

Your Child

Tonsillectomy: Risky for Some Kids With Sleep Apnea

2:00

A tonsillectomy is the primary treatment suggested for children with sleep apnea. For a majority of children, it works well to alleviate their sleeping problems. However, for some children that have a tonsillectomy to treat sleep apnea, they are more likely to suffer breathing complications afterwards according to a new study.

Researchers found that across 23 studies, about 9 percent of children undergoing a tonsillectomy developed breathing problems during or soon after the procedure. But the risk was nearly five times higher for kids with sleep apnea, versus other children.

While some children may be at a higher risk for breathing difficulties, the researchers said that parents shouldn’t be scared of the procedure for their child, but should be extra vigilant about watching their little one for symptoms of respiratory distress, particularly during the first 24 hours after the procedure.

"After they go home, parents should be attentive for breathing problems. That includes checking on your child while he or she is sleeping, at least for the first 24 hours," said Dr. David Gozal, chief of pediatrics at the University of Chicago.

"In most instances, nothing will happen," Gozal said. "But it's important for parents to be aware that tonsillectomy can have [complications], like any other surgical procedure."

The study also noted that physicians should be aware that children with sleep apnea have higher odds of respiratory complications, such as low oxygen levels in the blood, during and shortly after the procedure.

Anywhere from 1 percent to 5 percent of children have obstructive sleep apnea, a disorder in which tissues in the throat constrict during sleep, causing repeated pauses in breathing. Loud snoring is the most obvious symptom, but daytime sleepiness and attention problems are also red flags.

In children, sleep apnea often stems from chronic inflammation in the tonsils and adenoids, infection-fighting tissues in the back of the throat and nasal cavity. So surgery to remove the tissue is often recommended.

In the United States, about half a million children have a tonsillectomy each year, and sleep apnea is the most common reason why, Gozal said.

Because sleep apnea keeps children from sleeping well, they can become irritable and develop attention and behavior problems in school.

The procedure is often effective: Studies show that around 80 percent of kids see their symptoms go away or substantially improve.

The findings are based on 23 studies that looked at tonsillectomy complications. Overall, Gozal's team found, the most common issues included "respiratory compromise," bleeding, pain and nausea.

Four of the studies differentiated kids having surgery for sleep apnea from those having it for recurrent tonsil infections. Across those studies, children with sleep apnea were five times more likely to have respiratory complications.

On the other hand, they were at lower risk of bleeding -- for reasons that are unclear, Gozal said.

Gozal had another piece of advice for parents: "If tonsillectomy is being recommended to treat sleep apnea, make sure your child really has sleep apnea."

Loud snoring and daytime grogginess are symptoms, but the only definitive way to diagnose sleep apnea is through an overnight stay in a sleep lab, Gozal said.

Source: Amy Norton, http://www.webmd.com/children/news/20150921/tonsillectomy-for-sleep-apnea-carries-risks-for-some-kids-study

 

 

Your Child

Choosing a Summer Day Camp for Your Child

2:00

It may be too late to sign your little one up for the overnight summer camps, but there are still lots of day camps you can check out.

According to the American Camp Association, there are more than 12,000 day and resident camps in the U.S. About 7,000 of them are overnight camps and 5,000 are day camps.

Camp isn’t what it used to be when I was growing up! Today, there is tremendous variation in the types of activities offered as well as costs.

You can find specialty camps offering science, art, music, sports, technology, space, ballet and the list doesn’t stop there. If you can think of it, there’s a camp that will provide that experience. The possibilities are endless.

Costs can range from $100 to $1500, depending on the activity and length of the program.

Choosing the right camp for your child is a big decision. When it comes to choosing a day camp, where your children's friends attend is often the key deciding factor, says Laurel Barrie, co-owner of Camp Connection, a consultancy agency that helps parents pick a camp for their child.  (The service is free to parents, with chosen camps paying a set fee to the company.)  "Most people feel that their child will be happy as long as he or she is with school friends," she explains.  "Others prioritize price or hours of operation."

Some parents consider day camp a prelude to kindergarten or first grade. It’s a way to meet new kids and learn how to act in a more coordinated environment without the stress of grades, homework and structured learning.

Picking the right camp has as much to do with your own schedule and needs as it does with your child's personality, says Marla Coleman, a past president of the American Camp Association (ACA) and a founding director of Coleman Country Day Camp in Merrick, N.Y.  "If you plan on traveling, you might prefer a camp that lets your child attend for 4 or 6 weeks, as opposed to the whole summer," she says. "Working parents may need a camp that buses children, or provides after-camp care."

When possible, experts suggest you visit different camps and talk with the managers to get a feel for if it is a good match for your child.

Sometimes you can mix and match camps. One day camp that offers sports related activities and one that leans more towards the arts or sciences. You know your child’s interest better than anyone else, so search for a camp you think will meet his or her individual personality.

Many camps offer a half-day and a full day. Getting some input from other parents and camp managers may help you decide whether your child is old enough to spend a full day away from home or if a half-day is plenty

The ACA website provides a list of camps that are accredited as well as options for the type of camp, cost factor and locations.

The YMCA also provides traditional day camps in the summer that offer field trips, and a variety of daytime activities along with lunch and a couple of snack breaks.

Many churches provide day camps with religious instruction as well as playtime activities.

Before choosing a camp, talk with your child about what they would like to do during the summer, who they might like to have as a partner (if possible), and what expectations they have. It’s also a good time to address any fears they may have about being away from home or in a different environment.

Before signing your child up for camp make a list of questions you want answered first, such as:

•       How is staff hired, screened and trained?

•       What is the camper to counselor ratio?

•       What is your return rate?

•       How old are the counselors?

•       How do you handle conflicts between campers, or discipline?

•       What type of child best succeeds at this camp?

•       What is a sample daily schedule?

•       What happens if my child takes medication?

•       How do you handle separation anxiety?

•       What are your safety and medical procedures?

•       What precautions do you take to make sure the right person is picking up my child from camp?

Day camp can be a great way for kids to exercise a little independence, meet new friends and learn new skills.

This school year is rapidly coming to a close and once the novelty of being away from classes wears off, boredom often sets in. Right now may be a good time to consider a day camp for your child. But don’t wait too long though- these camps fill up fast!

Story sources:

http://www.acacamps.org

https://www.care.com/a/pick-the-right-day-camp-for-your-kid-1103251307

http://www.fatherhood.org/bid/193109/6-Tips-for-Picking-the-Right-Summer-Camp-for-Your-Child

 

Your Child

Should Schools Ban Peanut Butter?

As a result of the increasing number of peanut allergies, some parents are petitioning schools to ban peanut butter from lunch menus and snacks.Peanut Ban

Nearly 400,000 children are allergic to peanuts and many parents do everything they can to make sure their child is not exposed. As a result of the increasing number of peanut allergies, some parents are petitioning schools to ban peanut butter from lunch menus and snacks.

“Over the past few years because of the increased incidences of peanut allergies, more and more schools have been banning peanut butter and 18% of schools have bans in place and that number seems to be growing. But there is a lot of controversy around this on both sides of the equation,” says pediatrician Dr. Sue Hubbard. Dr. Hubbard says it is very hard to ban an entire student body from taking anything with peanuts as it requires a large amount of label reading education by children and parents. She says it is important to have a dialogue with your child’s teacher, school and school nurse to alert them to a food allergy. “The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network does not believe the peanut butter should be banned in schools. They are of the belief that you should have something called a “PAL” plan to protect a life from food allergies

Your Child

Why the HPV Vaccine is Important for Girls and Boys

1:45

The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine has been embroiled in controversy almost from the day it was announced.  Many parents found the idea of giving their young daughter or son a vaccine to prevent a sexually transmitted disease (STD) repugnant. When some states included the vaccine as a requirement for school entry, the cry of government overreach rang out loud and clear.

However, as more information about the benefits of the vaccine becomes known, vaccinations have slowly been climbing.  Health officials say that compliance is nowhere near what it should be and that the opportunity to reduce 6 cancers is being lost.

Cancers linked to the sexually transmitted HPV keep rising in the United States, even though most cases are preventable, health officials said in a recent report.

Cancer experts say the public perception of the vaccine needs to change.

"In order to increase HPV vaccination rates, we must change the perception of the HPV vaccine from something that prevents a sexually transmitted disease to a vaccine that prevents cancer," said Electra Paskett. She is co-director of the Cancer Control Research Program at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer in Columbus.

"Every parent should ask the question: If there was a vaccine I could give my child that would prevent them from developing six different cancers, would I give it to them? The answer would be a resounding yes -- and we would have a dramatic decrease in HPV-related cancers across the globe," Paskett added.

At current rates, these sexually linked cancers are developing in almost 12 of every 100,000 persons, the CDC said. In the previous five-year period, fewer than 33,500 of these HPV-linked cancers were diagnosed annually.

Using data from national cancer registries, CDC analysts looked for certain cancer types -- cervical, head and neck, and anal, among them -- that have links to HPV.

When looked at closely, researchers confirmed the HPV connection in 79 percent of cases.

The agency estimates that as many as 28,500 of these were preventable with recommended HPV vaccination.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends routine HPV vaccination of males and females at 11-12 years of age. The vaccine is most effective if administered before the onset of sexual activity, and antibody responses to the vaccine are highest at ages 9 through 15 years. Immunization of children against HPV infection will help prevent cancers and genital warts caused by HPV.

Even though no parent likes to think about their child growing up and being sexually active- most children will become young adults and eventually have families of their own. This vaccine protects against HPV, a disease that is strongly linked to 6 deadly cancers. It is most effective when administered to children between the ages of 9 and 15. That is why it is important for young boy and girls – as simple as that.

Story sources: Margaret Farley Steele, http://www.webmd.com/cancer/news/20160707/hpv-linked-cancers-still-climbing-in-us

https://www.aap.org/

Your Child

Make Your Backyard a Safe Haven

2.00 to read

Summertime means backyard time for kids. There’s forts, trampolines, swings, pools, trees –everything you need to spark the imagination and capture the energy of youth. While there is no sure-fire way to prevent all kids from getting injured, there are some strategies that are a good start to creating a safe haven for your kids.

Plants: Make sure there are no poisonous plants in your backyard. Little kids often put things in their mouth that they shouldn’t or crawl into spaces that could cause them to end up in the emergency room.

Keep an eye out for poison ivy, poison sumac and poison oak around fence lines and on trees.

A short list of common posionous plants includes Oleander, the most common toxic plant with every bit of the plant being harmful. Lilly of the Valley can cause nausea, vomiting, pain and diarrhea. Hydrangea blooms will cause stomach pain if ingested and possibly itchy skin, weakness and sweating as well as a possible breakdown in the body’s blood circulation.

You can find photos and more toxic plants at http://www.safetyathome.com.

Home playgrounds. Just like public playgrounds, home playgrounds need to be monitored and checked for loose screws, cracked wood and rusty metal.

http://children.webmd.com has a great list of precautions parents can take to help prevent injuries.

- Cover areas under and around the playground equipment with shock-absorbing material, such as sand, rubber, or mulch, 9-12 inches deep.

- Make sure swing seats are made of soft rubber, not hard wood.

- Don't suspend more than two swing seats in the same section of the equipment's support structure. Most home playground injuries can be blamed on swings.

- The equipment should have ladders with steps rather than rungs for easier access, or rungs with more than nine inches or less than three and a half inches of space between them, to prevent children from getting stuck.

- Cover all protruding bolts.

- Do not attach ropes or cords to the play set, which could become strangulation hazards.

- Plastic play sets or climbing equipment should never be used indoors on wood or cement floors, even if they're carpeted. All climbing equipment should be outdoors on shock-absorbing surfaces to prevent children's head injuries.

- Slides and platforms should be no higher than six feet for school-age children, or four feet for pre-schoolers.

- Platforms, walkways, ramps, and ladders should have adequate guardrails.

- Protect against tripping hazards such as tree stumps, concrete footings, and rocks.

- During hot summer days, check the temperature of the slides and swings, because they can become hot enough to cause burns to the skin.

Treated wood. Treated wood is a common product found in backyard fences and decks. Many treated outdoor wooden structures contain arsenic. The wood industry phased out production of this type of wood in 2003, but there are plenty of wood products around that were manufactured before then. Arsenic in pressure treated wood used in play sets and picnic tables pose an increase risk of cancer according to the EPA.

Pools and spas. Pools and spas pose their own special kind of risks. Drowning is a leading cause of death to children under 5. And many drownings  occur at home. Take these simple precautions:

- Always supervise children who are in and around a pool or spa.

- Have fences or walls at least four feet high completely around the pool. Gates should be self-closing and self-latching, with latches out of reach of children.

- Keep rescue equipment by the pool.

- Steps and ladders for aboveground pools should be secured or removed when the pool is not in use.

- Use a cover for the pool when it is not in use.

- Make sure drain covers are properly fitted and paired or have vacuum suction releases to prevent being trapped under water.

- Consider installing a pool alarm that can alert if someone enters the pool.

- Spa water temperatures should be set to 104 degrees Fahrenheit or lower to avoid elevated body temperature, which could lead to drowsiness, unconsciousness, heatstroke, or death.

- Keep a cell phone with you when you’re at the pool with your kids. Seconds count and you don’t want to have leave your child to find the phone.

These are just a few suggestions for helping parents create a safe backyard where kids can have fun and hang out. Have a great Summer!

Sources: http://children.webmd.com/guide/make-backyard-safe

http://www.safetyathome.com/seasonal-safety/summer-safety-articles/dangerous-plants-in-your-backyard/

Your Child

The Most Common Childhood Injuries

2:00

Like many folks, most of my injuries happened when I was a child. Kids - with their excess energy - like to run, climb, jump, hide, swim, dive, bike, rollerblade, skateboard, and fall from heights – to name just a few activities!

Hands, elbows, and knees are the places most likely to get hurt. You can treat minor bumps and bruises at home.

For cuts and scrapes, rinse the area under running water until it’s clean. You can use mild soap. Apply some antibiotic ointment and cover it with a bandage. Call the doctor if the cut is large, deep, or if the area becomes red and swollen, or you see pus -- these are signs of infection. 

For bruises, soothe the swelling with an ice pack wrapped in a wet cloth. If your kid has trouble walking or moving, or the swelling doesn’t go down, call the doctor.

A relatively new phenomenon in kids’ injuries is back and shoulder problems from carrying backpacks. If your child lugs around a backpack that’s too heavy or carries it on one shoulder, he or she can develop back, neck, and shoulder pain, along with posture problems. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that kids always use two shoulder straps, and backpacks shouldn’t weigh more than 10% to 20% of the child’s body weight. (You can use the bathroom scale: If your child weighs 80 pounds, the backpack should weigh between 8 and 16 pounds.)

What child doesn’t eventually pick up a splinter in the hand? It’s relatively easy fix if you can keep your child’s hand steady. Use a needle sterilized with rubbing alcohol to gently prick the skin over it, then pull it out with clean tweezers. If that doesn’t work, try touching the area with tape to see if that helps get it out. Once the splinter is removed, use an antibiotic ointment to help keep it from getting infected.

Various sports can cause strains and sprains in young athletes.  Baseball, soccer, gymnastics, football, tennis, even golf can lead to torn muscles, ligaments and tendons.

If it happens to your kid, they’ll need to rest the injured location.. Apply ice, wrap it snugly, and keep it raised. Over-the-counter pain medication like acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help. Call the doctor if he or she can’t walk or move the injured area. It could be broken, and may need to be X-rayed.

Fractures are more serious. They can happen in a variety of ways. Skateboard, monkey bar and bicycle falls as well as many contacts sports can lead to broken bones. Breaks are most common in arms because it’s natural to throw your hands out to try to break a fall. The area will swell and be painful to press on or move. Call 911 if you can see the bone through the skin. If you suspect your child has broken a bone, take him or her to an ER.

Concussions are a hot topic and unfortunately, a fairly common injury. Kids in the U.S. have 1 million to 2 million sports and recreation-related head injuries each year. For children under 14, the top causes are cycling, football, baseball, basketball, and skateboards or scooters. If your child has taken a hit to the head, keep an eye on him. Symptoms of concussion usually show up right away, but not always. 

Call the doctor immediately if your child loses consciousness, appears dazed, or complains of blurry vision or a headache that won’t go away.

A busted mouth and broken teeth are painful, but not unique as a childhood injury. It’s probably a good thing we get two sets of teeth. Another common childhood injury is broken, chipped, and knocked-out teeth. Nearly 50% of kids will have some type of tooth accident during childhood. The reasons: trips, falls, sports, and, yes, fights. The front teeth take the brunt of it. 

Call the dentist if a tooth is broken, loose, or sensitive. If a baby tooth is completely knocked out, don’t try to place it back in the gums. But if it’s a permanent tooth, rinse it with clean water, put it back in the socket as fast as possible, and head to the dentist. It may save the tooth.

There are other injuries that childhood enthusiasm can produce, but these are some of the most common. Fortunately, most of us survive this chaotic time with bumps, bruises and maybe a few stiches. Anytime you’re uncertain about how severe your child’s injury may be; it’s best to have him or her checked out by a doctor.

Story source: http://www.webmd.com/children/ss/slideshow-kids-injuries

Your Child

Low Pollen Levels Can Trigger Asthma

2.00 to read

Asthma in children has been on the increase since the 80s and the current estimated number of American children with asthma is between 6 and 9 million. It is the leading cause of chronic illness in kids under 18 years old. If your child is sensitive to pollen, a new study suggests that even low levels can increase the chances of an asthma attack. . 

Yale and Brown University researchers tracked more than 400 children with asthma, as well as the daily pollen levels near each child's home, over the course of five years. Researchers found that there was a 37% increase in respiratory symptoms in children who were sensitive to pollen- even though pollen levels were very low- and they were taking daily medications to control their asthma.

“In some respects, it's common sense that if a child is asthmatic and allergic to pollen, when they're exposed to pollen, they would bear some risk of asthmatic symptoms," said lead author Curt DellaValle, of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

"The biggest thing, though, is seeing these effects even with the lowest levels of pollen," he told Reuters Health. "It leads us to believe that parents of these asthmatic children should be aware that even when pollen levels are low, their children will experience asthmatic symptoms."

The study also revealed data that surprised researchers. Pollen-sensitive kids that were part of the study had fewer symptoms when ragweed – a major irritant- was at high levels. DellaValle said it may mean that the children's parents reacted to high pollen reports and took extra precautions.

"It suggested that they modified their children's behavior by keeping them inside, in air conditioning or by using air filters," DellaValle said.

Here’s how the study worked:

DellaValle's team recruited 430 children with asthma between the ages of four and 12 in New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts between 2000 and 2003. Each kid's mother kept a calendar tracking her child's asthma symptoms and use of asthma medications. The researchers also tested the children's blood for sensitivity to pollens from trees, grass and weeds.

To get a better picture of realistic pollen exposures, every year during the Northeast's pollen season -- generally from late March to early October -- the researchers used a model to analyze the amount of pollen within 1.2 miles of each child's home. They also tracked daily and seasonal weather, foliage, when pollen seasons began and ended and peak pollen periods.

Among kids with sensitivities to particular types of pollen, even small amounts in the air could trigger asthma symptoms.

Children not on maintenance medication who were sensitive to grass pollen, for example, wheezed, coughed and had trouble breathing and other nighttime symptoms when they were exposed to more than two grains per cubic meter of grass pollen.

Kids on daily maintenance therapy and sensitive to weed pollen could have similar symptoms and a need for rescue medication at pollen levels above six to nine grains per cubic meter.

Among the kids sensitive to weed pollen, low-level exposures raised their risk of symptoms by 37 percent. That compared to a 23 percent rise in risk during the highest weed-pollen periods -- hinting that kids may have stayed indoors when pollen levels were known to be high, the researchers note.

Pollen levels were not tied to an increase in asthma symptoms in kids without allergies to specific pollens.

Parents with asthmatic children often follow pollen reports and adjust their children’s outdoor activity accordingly. This study shows that even low levels of pollen can affect a sensitive child’s breathing and general health.

Although there is no cure for asthma, it can be managed with proper prevention and treatment. There is often a genetic compound.

Asthma symptoms can be mild or severe, and many children’s symptoms become worse at night.

Symptoms may include:

- Frequent, intermittent coughing.

- A whistling or wheezing sound when exhaling.

- Shortness of breath.

- Chest congestion or tightness.

- Chest pain, particularly in younger children.

- Trouble sleeping caused by shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing.

- Bouts of coughing or wheezing that get worse with a respiratory infection, such as a cold or the flu.

- Delayed recovery or bronchitis after a respiratory infection.

- Trouble breathing that may limit play or exercise.

- Fatigue, which can be caused by poor sleep.

If your child experiences any of the above symptoms, make sure he or she is seen by a pediatrician or family doctor. 

 

 

Sources:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/12/01/us-pollen-levels-idUSTRE7B02HG...

http://www.mayoclinic.com

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DR SUE'S DAILY DOSE

Count your blessings this Thanksgiving!

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