Is your kid allergic to her phone?
Did you know this is “Get Smart About Antibiotics” Week? The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics have teamed up to raise awareness about when doctors should — and should not — prescribe these potent drugs. Educated parents can help by not asking doctors for antibiotics for every illness their child gets. Colds, upper respiratory infections and sore throats are most often caused by viruses and won’t be cured by antibiotics. And since misuse of antibiotics is causing a rise in “superbugs” that are resistant to the drugs, you and your pediatrician should err on the side of caution. In other news:
Is your kid allergic to her phone? If your child is glued to her cell phone — and has dry, itchy irritated skin on her face, along her jaw or on her ears — she may have an allergy to cobalt or nickel. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), Blackberry smartphones (as well as many standard flip phones) contain those common allergens. One solution, switch to an iPhone or Droid, neither of which contain those metals. A cheaper fix: Equip your kid’s phone with a plastic case and clear film on the screen to minimize direct exposure with the skin.
Another reason to get a flu shot: The CDC recommends flu shots for pregnant women, and now new research adds more urgency to that advice. A study of nearly 97,000 children in Denmark found those whose mothers had the flu while pregnant were twice as likely to be diagnosed with autism. And women who suffered from flu-induced fevers for seven days or more during their pregnancy had triple the chance of having kids with autism. Other common infections (such as colds or sinus infections) did not seem to correlate with an increased autism risk. So if you’re expecting and haven’t gotten your flu shot yet, go get one now.
Get your kids moving—quickly: We all know that kids need exercise, but how much is enough? According to a new study, as little as seven minutes a day is all they need to prevent weight gain, obesity and related health issues. The trick is those seven minutes must be a high-intensity workout (such as running around). More moderate activity, such as taking a walk, didn’t correlate to the same health benefits even when done for a longer period of time. One way to inspire your kids to move more: Get going yourself. Instigate a game of backyard tag, encourage them to play sports or go for a family bike ride every weekend.
Eggs and allergies: If you have a child who’s allergic to eggs you probably make sure she steers clear of the holiday season’s baked goodies. But research presented at the ACAAI annual meeting found that 56 percent of allergic children can tolerate eggs when they are baked at 350 degrees. And introducing eggs into the diet through baked goods can begin to build a food tolerance that helps kids outgrow the allergy. The researchers caution that children who have previously had severe allergic reactions to eggs (rapid swelling, difficulty breathing or life-threatening anaphylaxis) are less likely to outgrow their allergies. Be cautious, and consult your allergist before giving your child any eggs — baked or otherwise.
Heads up: According to the CDC, only one in four kids between the ages of 4 and 15 wear a helmet when riding a bike, and teens rarely wear one — even though a helmet can reduce the risk of severe brain damage from an accident by up to 88 percent. To encourage more helmet use, a program at Georgia Health Sciences University has created a brain-injury education program, which includes hands-on demos like comparing a brain to an egg. A month after completing the program, more than 92 percent of kids were still wearing their helmets. Help protect your kids by making sure they have correctly sized helmets, teaching them why it’s important to wear one and encouraging helmet use by wearing one yourself.
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