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Your Child

New Flu Vaccine for 2015-2016

1:45

Last year’s flu vaccine wasn’t as effective as previous vaccines, but this year’s vaccine should be a much better match according to Dr. Tom Frieden, Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.   

Typically, the vaccine is 50 to 60 percent effective, making your chances of getting the flu reduced by as much as 60 percent if you get a flu shot.

This year’s flu vaccine contains the H3N2 strain, Frieden said. Last year's vaccine was only 13 percent effective against the H3N2 strain. As a result, "more seniors were hospitalized for the flu than ever before."

What's more, 145 children died from the flu, Frieden said, adding that the actual number was "probably much higher since many flu deaths aren't reported."

About 50 percent of the American population gets vaccinated every flu season. That includes pregnant women. More people, including pregnant women, need to be vaccinated, Frieden said.

The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get the flu shot every year.

Frieden said there's an adequate supply of flu vaccine this year. Companies are expected to make 170 million doses of vaccine, of which 40 million have already been distributed, he said.

People at risk of flu-related complications include young children, especially those younger than 2 years; people over 65; pregnant women; and people with chronic health problems, such as asthma, heart disease and diabetes, as well as those with weakened immune systems, according to the CDC.

Most seasonal flu activity typically occurs between October and May. Flu activity most commonly peaks in the United States between December and February.

Children younger than 6 months are at higher risk of serious flu complications, but are too young to get a flu vaccine. Because of this, safeguarding them from flu is especially important. If you live with or care for an infant younger than 6 months of age you should get a flu vaccine to help protect them from flu.

It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the flu.

The CDC encourages people to get a flu shot preferably by October. Those children aged 6 months through 8 years who need two doses of vaccine should receive the first dose as soon as possible to allow time to get the second dose before the start of flu season. The two doses should be given at least four weeks apart.

During this flu season:

•       Intramuscular (IM) vaccines will be available in both trivalent and quadrivalent formulations. (High dose vaccines, which are IM vaccines, will all be trivalent this season.)

•       For people who are 18 through 64 years old, a jet injector can be used for delivery of one particular trivalent flu vaccine.

•       Nasal spray vaccines will all be quadrivalent this season.

•       Intradermal vaccine will all be quadrivalent.

The quadrivalent flu vaccine is designed to protect against four different flu viruses; two influenza A viruses and two influenza B viruses.

It’s hard to believe that we’re about to head into the flu season, particularly with so many states still experiencing summer like weather. But we are, and getting a flu shot early can help protect you and your family from a virus no one wants to get.

Sources: Steven Reinberg, http://consumer.healthday.com/infectious-disease-information-21/flu-news-314/no-embargo-this-year-s-flu-vaccine-better-match-703392.html

http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/flu-season-2015-2016.htm

Your Teen

Serious Burns Caused By E-Cigarette Explosions

1:45

Many family members have e-cigarettes inside their homes, pockets and purses. As more adults try to quit smoking traditional cigarettes, the use of electronic smoking devices (e-cigarettes) is rapidly increasing.  Several recent studies show that not only are adults experimenting with e-cigarettes, but also teens and preteens are attracted to the candy-flavored gadgets through peer pressure, advertising and celebrity endorsements.

One aspect of e-cigarette use that hasn’t gotten a lot of attention, until now, is that these devices can un-expectantly explode causing severe burns to the face and other areas of the body.

According to a research letter published in the New England Journal of Medicine, electronic-cigarette devices are randomly exploding, burning and injuring people near them when they detonate.

The University of Washington Regional Burn Center in Seattle has treated 22 people for burns and other injuries caused by exploding e-cigarettes since October 2015, lead author Elisha Brownson, M.D., a burn/critical care surgical fellow at the hospital, told HealthDay.

The lithium-ion batteries used in e-cigarettes, Brownson said, cause the explosions. These rechargeable batteries charge a heating coil that brings liquid nicotine and flavorings to the boiling point inside the device, creating an inhalable vapor. Batteries in some of the devices are overheating, causing a fire or an explosion, she said.

The first Seattle case Brownson treated was a man in his 20s using an e-cigarette while driving. The device exploded in his mouth, blowing out several front teeth. She said she has since treated a variety of burns and blast injuries caused by e-cigarettes, including patients with flame burns covering 10 to 15 percent of their total body surface.

"We see a lot of patients who have burns on their thigh and their hands. That's when the device has exploded in their pocket, and they're using their hands to get the device out and away from them," Brownson said. "There also have been a lot of injuries to the hands and face when people have had explosions as they've been using them. Patients tell us they had no idea this could happen. They've had little to no warning that the device is going to explode."

The flame-burn injuries have required extensive wound care and skin grafting, and exposure to the alkali chemicals released from the battery explosion has caused chemical skin burns requiring wound care.

Why do these devices explode? NBC News put the question to Venkat Viswanathan, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University in March of 2016.

“The electrolyte inside the battery is basically the equivalent of gasoline, so when these batteries short out, there's a surge of heat that causes this flammable electrolyte to combust and explode."

Well-made lithium-ion cells have a very small risk of failure. But the cheaper cells "have a much greater chance of having a manufacturing defect," which increases the likelihood for failure, Viswanathan said.

The risk goes up if the cells are overcharged or charged too quickly. This can happen if the e-cig comes with a poorly designed charger or the user switches chargers. Well-made lithium-ion batters have fail-safe mechanisms to prevent these problems. Poorly made ones do not. Just because a charger plugs into that e-cig doesn't mean you should use it.

E-cigarettes remain largely unregulated. Until recently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had made little headway in the regulation of e-cigarettes. However, the FDA has recently extended regulatory authority to cover all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, although the prospects for battery regulation remain unclear. While these explosions were previously thought to be isolated events, the injuries among our 15 patients add to growing evidence that e-cigarettes are a public safety concern that demands increased regulation as well as design changes to improve safety. In the meantime, both e-cigarette users and health care providers need to be aware of the risk of explosion associated with e-cigarettes, the paper’s researchers noted.

Story sources: http://www.physiciansbriefing.com/Article.asp?AID=715566

Herb Weisbaum, http://www.nbcnews.com/business/consumer/what-s-causing-some-e-cigarette-batteries-explode-n533516

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc1608478

Your Child

Dog Bites and Young Children

1:30

Most young kids can read a dog well enough to know if it is angry or scared, but they may be confused over whether to approach one or not, according to a new British study.

While young children often knew an angry dog was trouble, they were just as likely to approach a frightened dog as a happy one.

Co-author of the study, Sarah Rose, of Staffordshire University, and her team examined hospital statistics of children in the U.K. bitten by a dog.

"This study explored whether the explanation is that they are unable to accurately recognize a dog's emotions when approaching one," she said in a news release from the British Psychological Society.

The researchers asked two groups of kids to look at images and brief videos of dogs. The first group was 57 children between the ages of 4 and 5. The second group included 61 children, ages 6 to 7. Some of the videos and images showed dogs that appeared to be angry or frightened.

The researchers then asked the children to describe the apparent emotion of the dog and say whether they'd be willing to play with the dog.

The researchers found that children were able to recognize happy, angry and frightened dogs to a greater degree than chance would suggest.

They were most attuned to angry dogs, but less successful at recognizing happy or frightened dogs. They didn't seem to understand that they shouldn't approach a frightened dog.

Dog bites are a problem in the United States as well. They are the second most frequent cause of visits to emergency rooms from 9 activities common among children such as sports, skateboarding and All-terrain vehicles.

The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates half of all children 12 years-of-age and under have been bitten by a dog. In many cases, teasing or an unintentional provocation, such as approaching a dog while it's eating or sleeping, can lead to a dog bite or even worse, an attack.  The vast majority of dog bites are from a dog that the child is acquainted with - his or her own, a neighbor's, or a friend's dog.  Seventy nine percent of fatal dog attacks are on children.

"Young children are relatively good at accurately identifying the emotion that a dog is displaying," Rose said. "However, children's understanding of safety around dogs is lacking, as they only demonstrated caution about approaching angry dogs. They appeared to be unaware that there might be problems approaching frightened dogs. This finding should help inform dog bite prevention campaigns."

Studies have shown that even a single dog bite prevention lesson incorporated into a regular school day has been shown to dramatically reduce high-risk behaviors toward unfamiliar dogs in both very young (kindergarten) and middle school children.

Most children learn about dogs and other animals from their home environment. Parents can go the extra step in helping to prevent dog-related injuries by teaching their children that scared dogs are similar to angry dogs in how they react to being approached.

Young children, particularly toddlers, should never be left unsupervised around a dog- even a family pet.

Story sources: Randy Dotinga, https://consumer.healthday.com/kids-health-information-23/misc-kid-s-health-news-435/young-kids-unaware-of-the-risks-of-approaching-scared-dogs-714883.html

http://www.safetyarounddogs.org/statistics.html

 

 

Your Teen

Teen’s E-cigarette Use Linked to Family and Friends

2:00

For many teens, e-cigarettes have taken the place of the traditional combustible cigarette. A new study suggests that teenagers are more likely to use electronic cigarettes if their friends or a family member uses them.

It’s a pretty safe bet that no teen ever started smoking traditional cigarettes because they tasted good. More than likely it was because someone thought it was cool, felt like walking on the edge of rebellion, watched family members light up on a daily basis or a friend pressured them to give it a try.

These days, the reasons teens smoke e-cigarettes are pretty much the same as they are for regular cigarettes. However, these new nicotine packed products have a number of appealing differences for those just starting out. They don’t smell bad or leave a lingering aroma, they taste a little like candy, and no one is quite sure whether they are producing unhealthy side effects that will come back to haunt you later in life.

“There is a lot of concern by the public health community that e-cigarettes may be recruiting a whole new group of people who never smoked cigarettes," said lead author Jessica Barrington-Trimis of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

Other studies have linked e-cigarette and traditional cigarette use, but this new study suggests that teens who begin smoking with e-cigarettes may belong to their own unique group.  

Researchers found that many of the teens in the study that said they'd recently used e-cigarettes, had never smoked traditional cigarettes. This was their first venture into smoking.

"If you think of e-cigarette and cigarette use as two circles, the overlap isn’t as big as expected," Barrington-Trimis said.

Using data collected in 2014 from 2,084 Southern California teens, the authors found that about 25 percent reported ever using e-cigarettes and about 20 percent reported ever using traditional cigarettes.

This finding is a cause for concern because e-cigarettes were the dominant tobacco product used, and a substantial proportion of e-cigarette users had no history of cigarette use, the authors noted in their report.

Fourteen percent of teens thought e-cigarettes are not harmful, compared to about 1 percent who thought cigarettes are not harmful. The teens also felt their peers were more likely to accept their e-cigarette use than traditional cigarette use.

Like many other studies on the use of e-cigarettes, this one can’t say with absolute certainty that smoking e-cigarettes leads to smoking traditional cigarettes. However, the researchers suggest that the more accepted these products become by teenagers, the more they contribute to the “re-normalization” of tobacco products.

"Our findings really suggest there’s a lot of kids who are using these e-cigarettes," Barrington-Trimis said.

The lack of research makes it difficult to know what to tell people about e-cigarettes, she added.

She said parents should tell their children that while research into the health effects of e-cigarettes is still in its infancy, nicotine is known to impact youngsters' developing brains.

Nicotine is also highly addictive and one of the most difficult drugs to break free from.  The longer you smoke – whether it’s e-cigarettes or combustible cigarettes – the harder it is to quit. Plus, little is known about the chemicals used to create the sweet tasting flavors of e-cigarettes.

Parents should make sure they know if their child or their child’s friends are using e-cigarettes. Unfortunately in this day and age, discussions about smoking and drug use have to begin early in a child’s life. Waiting till your child is a pre-teen or teenager to talk about e-cigarettes may be too little too late.  

Source: Andrew M. Seaman, http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/07/27/us-health-teens-smoking-ecigarettes-idUSKCN0Q11YC20150727

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2015/07/21/peds.2015-0639.full.pdf+html

Your Teen

More Teens Getting Tattoos and Piercings

2:00

To many a parent’s chagrin, tattoos and piercings have skyrocketed in popularity among teenagers. While mom and dad may not want to have a serious discussion about the pros and cons of getting a tattoo or body part pierced with their adolescent, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says pediatricians should be taking to their patients about the health risks and providing safety guidelines.

The AAP released its first report this week regarding tattooing and piercing for adolescents and young adults. The report discusses health risk issues from tattoos and piercings as well providing guidelines to talk to about important safety measures.

"Let's face it, kids are getting tattoos or piercings now," said Dr. Jay Greenspan, chairman of pediatrics at Nemours/A.I. Dupont Hospital for Children. "We know it's mainstream and we want the medical community to be a part of it."

It's unclear how many American teenagers have tattoos and piercings. The report cited a Pew Research Center study that said about 38 percent of young people ages 18 to 29 have at least one tattoo.

In some states, it’s illegal for someone to tattoo or body pierce a minor without the parent’s written consent. But we’re talking about teens here, and where there is a will; there is often a way found around any constraints.  That’s why Greenspan believes that an honest discussion is necessary.

Ten years ago, there was an association between tattoos and alcohol, drug use, violence, sexual activity, eating disorders and even suicide. But that's not the case anymore, the report said.

Today’s teens are more likely to associate tattoos and body piercings with celebrities and sports figures than with the seedier side of life.

Seventy-two percent of teens that have tattoos have them in places that can be covered, the report said. High-ear cartilage is one of the most common visible piercings, followed by navel, tongue and nipple and genital. 

While the rate of tattoo complications is unclear, the AAP believes it's likely low. Common tattoo complications can be inflammation, infections and neoplasms. Preexisting conditions like psoriasis, systemic lupus and sarcoidosis can lead to reactions.

Data on body piercing complications is also minimal. What is known is that teenagers who have a higher risk of infection, particularly those who are diabetic or taking blood thinning medication, may have a greater risk of complications when getting a piercing. 

For piercings, stainless steel posts and studs are recommended to avoid skin reactions. Cheaper products typically have lower quality materials that can lead to a reaction.

So, what do you do if your teen wants a tattoo on their arm or stud placed in their eyebrow? Once you’ve talked it through and if you decide that you’re ok with it, make sure to find a reputable parlor (there are many) and consult with your doctor beforehand to learn how to care for and what to expect during the healing process. Tattoos and body piercings may have become a trend that won’t go away, but they still involve needles and require that certain precautions be taken.

Story source: Meredith Newman, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/09/20/young-people-tattoos-and-piercings-report/686360001/

 

Daily Dose

HPV Vaccine

1:30 to read

I don’t think I have posted the latest good news about vaccines. As you know I am a huge proponent of vaccinating children (and ourselves), and remind patients that there continue to be ongoing studies regarding vaccine safety, as well as efficacy.  The CDC and ACIP recently announced that the HPV vaccine may be protective and effective after just 2 doses of vaccine rather than the previous recommendation of a series of 3 vaccines.  That is good news for teens, especially those that are “needle phobic”!  

 

The ACIP (Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices  recommended  a 2 dose HPV vaccine series for young adolescents, those that begin the vaccine series between 11 and 14 years.  For adolescents who begin the HPV vaccine series at the age 15 or older, the 3 dose series is still recommended.

 

This recommendation was based upon data presented to the ACIP and CDC from clinical trials which showed that two doses of HPV vaccine in younger adolescents (11-14 years old) produced an immune response similar or higher than the response in older adolescents (15 yrs or older). 

 

The HPV vaccine, which prevents many different types of cancer caused by human papilloma virus, has been routinely recommended beginning at age 11 years  approved to use as young as 9 years), but unfortunately only about 42% of girls and 28% of teenage boys has completed the 3 dose series.  

 

By showing that a 2 dose series (when started at younger ages) is effective and protective the hope is that more and more young adolescents will complete the series.  The two doses now must be spaced at least 6 months apart and may even be given at the 11 year and then 12 year check up which would not require as many visit to the pediatrician.

 

According to the CDC more HPV - related cancers have been diagnosed in recent years, and reported more than 31,000 new cases of cancer each year (from 2008 - 2012) were attributable to HPV, and that routine vaccination could potentially prevent about 29,000 cases of those cancers from occurring.  But, in order to see these numbers shrink, more and more adolescents need to be immunized…before they are ever exposed to the virus. Remember, the HPV vaccine is protective against certain strains of HPV, but does not treat HPV disease.

 

So..once again a good example of using science based evidence to provide the best protection against a serious disease…with less shots too!! Win - Win!!

 

 

Your Teen

10 Reasons Teens Act The Way They Do

2:30

Anyone in the midst of raising a teen knows that the adolescent years can be some of the most difficult to get through and understand.

As a parent or guardian of a teenager that wants to be more independent, but also needs supervision and guidance, the times can be challenging indeed.

If that’s the position you find yourself in, you may be asking – what’s going on in that youngster’s brain? Actually, there’s a lot happening!

There are several scientific reasons an adolescent brain can be similar to a toddler’s: After infancy, the brain's most dramatic growth spurt occurs in adolescence. Here’s 10 things you may not know about your teen’s brain.

10. Critical period of development. Adolescence is generally considered to be the years between 11 and 19. It’s easy to see the outward changes that occur in boys and girls during this time, but inside, their brains are working on overdrive.

"The brain continues to change throughout life, but there are huge leaps in development during adolescence," said Sara Johnson, an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Parents should understand that no matter how tall their son has sprouted or how grown-up their daughter dresses, "they are still in a developmental period that will affect the rest of their life," Johnson told LiveScience

9. The growing brain. Scientists used to believe the greatest leap in neuronal connections occurred in infancy, but brain imaging studies show that a second burst of neuronal sprouting happens right before puberty, peaking at about age 11 for girls and 12 for boys.

The adolescent's experiences shape this new grey matter, mostly following a "use it or lose it" strategy, Johnson said. The structural reorganization is thought to continue until the age of 25, and smaller changes continue throughout life.

8. New Thinking Skills. This increase in brain matter allows the teenager to become more interconnected and gain processing power, Johnson notes.

If given time and access to information, adolescents start to have the computational and decision-making skills of an adult. However, their decisions may be more emotional than objective because their brains rely more on the limbic system (the emotional seat of the brain) than the more rational prefrontal cortex.

"This duality of adolescent competence can be very confusing for parents," Johnson said, meaning that sometimes teens do things, like punching a wall or driving too fast, when, if asked, they clearly know better.

Sound familiar?

7.  Teen tantrums. While teens are acquiring amazing new skills during this time, they aren’t that good at using them yet, especially when it comes to social behavior and abstract thought.

That’s when parents can become the proverbial guinea pig. Many kids this age view conflict as a type of self-expression and may have trouble focusing on an abstract idea or understanding another's point of view.

Particularly in today’s heavy media influenced world, teens are dealing with a huge amount of social, emotional and cognitive flux says Sheryl Feinstein, author of Inside the Teenage Brain: Parenting a Work in Progress (Rowman and Littlefield, 2009.)

That’s when they need a more stable adult brain (parents) to help them stay calm and find the better path.

6. Intense emotions. Remember the limbic system mentioned earlier (the more emotional part of the brain)? It’s accelerated development, along with hormonal changes, may give rise to newly intense experiences of rage, fear, aggression (including towards oneself), excitement and sexual attraction.

Over the course of adolescence, the limbic system comes under greater control of the prefrontal cortex, the area just behind the forehead, which is associated with planning, impulse control and higher order thought.

As teens grow older, additional areas in the brain start to help it process emotions and gain equilibrium in decision-making and interpreting others. But until that time, teens can often misread parents and teachers Feinstein said.

5. Peer pressure. As teens become better at abstract thinking, their social anxiety begins to increase.  Ever wonder why your teen seems obsessed with what others are thinking and doing?

Abstract reasoning makes it possible to consider yourself from the eyes of another. Teens may use this new skill to ruminate about what others are thinking of them. In particular, peer approval has been shown to be highly rewarding to the teen brain, Johnson said, which may be why teens are more likely to take risks when other teens are around.

Friends also provide teens with opportunities to learn skills such as negotiating, compromise and group planning. "They are practicing adult social skills in a safe setting and they are really not good at it at first," Feinstein said. So even if all they do is sit around with their friends, teens are hard at work acquiring important life skills.

4. Measuring risk.  "The brakes come online somewhat later than the accelerator of the brain," said Johnson, referring to the development of the prefrontal cortex and the limbic system respectively.

At the same time, "teens need higher doses of risk to feel the same amount of rush adults do," Johnson said. Not a very comforting thought for parents.

This is a time when teens are vulnerable to engaging in risky behaviors, such as trying drugs, sex, getting into fights or jumping into unsafe water.

So what can a parent do during this risky time? "Continue to parent your child." Johnson said. Like all children, "teens have specific developmental vulnerabilities and they need parents to limit their behavior," she said.

It’s when being a parent to your child instead of trying to be their “friend” is more difficult but much more important for their physical and emotional safety.

3. Yes, parents are still important. According to Feinstein, a survey of teenagers revealed that 84 percent think highly of their mothers and 89 percent think highly of their fathers. And more than three-quarters of teenagers enjoy spending time with their parents; 79 percent enjoy hanging out with Mom and 76 percent like chilling with Dad. That’s not 100%, but it’s probably more than you thought.

One of the tasks of adolescence is separating from the family and establishing some autonomy, Feinstein said, but that does not mean a teen no longer needs parents – even if they say otherwise.

"They still need some structure and are looking to their parents to provide that structure," she said. "The parent that decides to treat a 16 or 17 year old as an adult is behaving unfairly and setting them up for failure." 

Listening to your teen and being a good role model, especially when dealing with stress and the other difficulties life can present, can help your teen figure out their own coping strategies.

2. Sleep. Ah, yes, sleep. Although teens need 9 to 10 hours of sleep a night, their bodies are telling them a different story. Part of the problem is a shift in circadian rhythms during adolescence: It makes sense to teen bodies to get up later and stay up later, Johnson said.

But due to early bussing and class schedules, many teens rack up sleep debt and "become increasingly cognitively impaired across the week," Johnson said. Sleep-deprivation only exacerbates moodiness and cloudy decision-making. And sleep is thought to aid the critical reorganization of the teen brain.

"There is a disconnect between teen’s bodies and our schedules," Johnson said.

Shutting down the electronics an hour before bedtime has been shown to help teens as well as adults get to sleep quicker and sleep better. No computer, TV, video games or cell phones.

1.The “I am the Center of the Universe” syndrome. You may have noticed that your teen’s hormones are causing quite a bit of havoc. Experts say that’s to be expected. But you may still wonder- what the heck is going on with my kid?

The hormone changes at puberty have huge affects on the brain, one of which is to spur the production of more receptors for oxytocin, according to a 2008 issue of the journal Developmental Review.

The increased sensitivity caused by oxytocin has a powerful impact on the area of the brain controlling one’s emotions. Teens develop a feeling of self-consciousness and may truly believe that everyone is watching him or her. These feelings peek around age 15.

While this may make a teen seem self-centered (and in their defense, they do have a lot going on), the changes in the teen brain may also spur some of the more idealistic efforts tackled by young people throughout history.

"It is the first time they are seeing themselves in the world," Johnson said, meaning their greater autonomy has opened their eyes to what lies beyond their families and schools. They are asking themselves, she continued, for perhaps the first time: What kind of person do I want to be and what type of place do I want the world to be?

Until their brains develop enough to handle shades of grey, their answers to these questions can be quite one-sided, Feinstein said, but the parents' job is to help them explore the questions, rather than give them answers.

And there you have it. Teen’s brains are exploding with new data, confusing signals and dueling desires. It’s a tough time in one’s development- but rest assured, what you teach them by example and compassion as well as how you gingerly help guide them will last a life-time. Even when you do the best you can, there are no guarantees that they will turn out the way you’re hoping they will – they are after all- individuals with a will and a mind of their own. But now you know a little more about why your teen acts the way they do.

Story Source: Robin Nixon, http://www.livescience.com/13850-10-facts-parent-teen-brain.html

Your Teen

Teens and Contact Lenses

2:00

As kids with vision problems grow older, many choose to switch from wearing eyeglasses to contact lenses. Teenagers often prefer the no-glasses look and the convenience of not having to keep track of their glasses throughout the day. Contacts are a great alternative to glasses, but they do require attentive hygiene care and should be removed when swimming and sleeping or napping to help prevent eye infections.

A recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows more than 85 percent of adolescent contact lens wearers report habits that increase eye infection risk.

The CDC report is the first to analyze wear and care habits of the roughly 3 million U.S. adolescents age 12 to 17 who wear contact lenses, the agency said.

"Contact lenses are a safe and effective way to correct your vision when they are worn and cared for as recommended," Dr. Jennifer Cope, medical epidemiologist in CDC's Waterborne Disease Prevention Branch, said in a press release. "However, adolescents and adults can improve the way they take care of their contact lenses to reduce their risk of serious eye infections."

Researchers noted that the habits that put teens at highest risk for eye infections are sleeping with their contacts in, not being examined by an eye doctor once a year and swimming without removing their lenses first.

In addition, 52 percent of the teens didn’t replace their lenses as often as prescribed.

The most common eye infection from wearing contacts is keratitis, a contamination of the cornea - the clear outer covering of your eye. Sometimes they are called corneal ulcers. Viruses, bacteria, fungi, and a rare but serious eye parasite can cause keratitis.

The signs of an eye infection can include:

·      Redness

·      Swelling

·      Extra tears or sticky gooey drainage from your eye

·      Blurry vision

·      Light sensitivity

·      Itching, burning or feeling like there is something in your eye.

·      Eye pain

If your teen complains of any of these symptoms or you notice that your teenager seems to be having eye problems, get him or her to an eye doctor as soon as possible and make sure they don’t wear their contacts until they are examined.

Eye infections from poor contact lens hygiene habits can lead to serious problems, including blindness, the CDC warns.

Teens are often in a hurry and have a lot on their plates these days. It’s easy to get a little lax about going through the steps to make sure that their contacts are cleaned properly and when you’re really tired, you can simply forget to remove them before bed. You may have to occasionally remind your teen to do these things.

Of course, teens aren’t the only young age group that wears contacts. Kids as young as 10-12 years old can wear them, but experts recommended waiting until a child is 13-14 years old.

I can tell you from experience- once you’ve had an eye infection from not handling your contacts properly, you’ll remember the next time you wear them to make sure they are clean and to take them out when you go to sleep or swim. It’s an ugly and painful experience!

Story sources: Amy Wallace, https://www.upi.com/Health_News/2017/08/17/CDC-Adolescent-contact-lens-wearers-employ-bad-hygiene-habits/3651502994271/?utm_source=sec&utm_campaign=sl&utm_medium=5

http://www.webmd.com/eye-health/contact-lenses-eye-infections#1

Your Toddler

AAP: Winter Car Seat Safety

2:00

So far in Texas, this year’s El Nino weather pattern has made for a pretty mild winter compared to previous years. But, other areas around the country are being hit hard with a wintery punch and it’s only a matter of time till temperatures drop and snow and ice find their way to the Lone Star State.

Winter can be a bit tricky for child car seat use. While it sounds like the opposite might be true, bulky clothing such as coats and snowsuits should not be worn under the car seat harness.

More padding - more cushion right? That seems logical until you know what happens when a car crashes. In a wreck, fluffy padding immediately flattens out from the force, leaving extra space under the harness. A child can then slip through the straps and be thrown from the seat.

So how can you keep your little one warm and protected while buckled up? The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has these tips to help strike a comfortable and safer balance.

·      Use a coat or blanket over the straps. You can add a blanket over the top of the harness straps or put your child's winter coat on backwards (over the buckled harness straps) after he or she is buckled up. Some parents prefer products such as poncho-style coats or jackets that zip down the sides so the back can flip forward over the harness. Keep in mind that the top layer should be removable so your baby doesn't get too hot after the car warms up.

·      Use a car seat cover ONLY if it does not have a layer under the baby. Nothing should ever go underneath your child's body or between her body and the harness straps. Be sure to leave baby's face uncovered to avoid trapped air and re-breathing. Many retailers carry car seat bundling products that are not safe to use in a car seat. Just because it's on the shelf at the store does not mean it is safe!

·      Dress your child in thin layers. Start with close-fitting layers on the bottom, like tights, leggings, and long-sleeved bodysuits. Then add pants and a warmer top, like a sweater or thermal-knit shirt. Your child can wear a thin fleece jacket over the top. In very cold weather, long underwear is also a warm and safe layering option. As a general rule of thumb, infants should wear one more layer than adults. If you have a hat and a coat on, your infant will probably need a hat, coat, and blanket.

·      Don't forget hats, mittens, and socks or booties. These help keep kids warm without interfering with car seat straps. If your child is a thumb sucker, consider half-gloves with open fingers or keep an extra pair or two of mittens handy — once they get wet they'll make your child colder rather than warmer.

·      Get an early start. If you're planning to head out the door with your baby in tow on winter mornings, you need an early start. You have a lot to assemble, and your baby may not be the most cooperative. Plus, driving in wintry conditions will require you to slow down and be extra cautious.

·      Tighten the straps of the car seat harness. Even if your child looks snuggly bundled up in the car seat, multiple layers may make it difficult to tighten the harness enough. If you can pinch the straps of the car seat harness, then it needs to be tightened to fit snugly against your child's chest.

·      Remember, if the item did not come with the car seat, it has not been crash tested and may interfere with the protection provided in a crash. Never use sleeping bag inserts or other stroller accessories in the car seat.

·      Store the carrier portion of infant seats inside the house when not in use. Keeping the seat at room temperature will reduce the loss of the child's body heat in the car.

·      Pack an emergency bag for your car. Keep extra blankets, dry clothing, hats and gloves, and non-perishable snacks in your car in case of an on-road emergency or your child gets wet on a winter outing.

·      Make sure your cell phone is charged. If there is an emergency, you want to be able to reach 911 or call for assistance in case of a flat tire or engine trouble.

This is a time when there is a lot of holiday travel from state to state or just down the road to grandma’s house.

Remember, it’s not just children in car seats whose coats shouldn’t be tucked under the harness, adults and older children should make sure their coats are on the outside of the seat-belt.

Little steps can make a big difference in everyone’s safety.

Source: https://healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/on-the-go/Pages/Winter-Car-Seat-Safety-Tips.aspx

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