Back to School Sunscreen?

While the hot season advances, our kids love to spend time outside, even while at school.

It is actually very common for school students to spend more time outdoors during the first weeks os school to attend various activities, including PE classes or even simple recess.

In many schools, students are not allowed to use sunscreen or wear a hat outdoors. This actually could increase their potential for sunburns. However, in many cases, parents have the option to resort to a form to be signed by a physician, in order to allow their kids to use sunscreen at school. We strongly recommend taking the necessary steps forward to make this happen!

Even only 15 minutes under the hot sun can actually cause severe sunburn in children. This is the reason why parents should always be cautious and make sure that their children stay protected with the proper application of sunscreen. Many schools and educational institutions also organized field trips and other extracurricular activities during summer, to take advantage of the good weather.

A little sunburn? It’s probably no big deal!

Sunburns can be painful and annoying, but there’s more to the story than just a little bit of wear and tear affecting your kid’s skin. Though it doesn’t sound like a big deal, sunburns can actually be very dangerous because they expose your child to the risk of skin cancer. The UV rays of the sun can damage the layers of the skin, exposing sensitive tissue to dangerous radiations.

Children have a particularly sensitive skin and therefore, it is very important to make sure to protect it. Applying sunscreen a little bit before going outside under the sun should be instilled in them as a habit, just in the same way you teach your children the day need to brush their teeth before bedtime!

Thankfully, sunscreen is sold in many shapes and forms. There are many brands that sell high-quality sunscreen in compact bottles, which can be easily carried in a pocket without too much hassle for your child. Some companies even target kids specifically with fun designs and cool packaging that makes sunscreen more appealing to them!

In conclusion, sunburns should not be taken lightly. Wearing sunscreen is a very simple remedy to ensure a safer summer for your kid and dramatically reduce the risk of skin cancer and other issues!

Can Sugar in a Child’s Diet Trigger Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease?

One of the things, I truly love about becoming a nurse and working in the healthcare profession, is that it is constantly evolving and researching ways to improve the health of people like you and me.  We that are your healthcare professionals are constantly challenging conventional wisdom and thinking, as well as, reevaluating traditional treatment modalities.

This type of thinking can result in some fantastic discoveries, which can alter how diseases are treated and managed. A recent example to this is the research that has taken place with gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as, GERD. For years (approximately 80 to be exact) the healthcare community have been lead to believe that this digestive disorder was caused by stomach acids backing up into the esophagus. This can result in burning, irritation and even damage to your esophagus. However, a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) appears to be questioning this line of thinking. The research from this study seems to suggest that the damage caused by GERD is not the result of stomach acid entering the esophagus. The study proposes that the damage caused by GERD is a result of an inflammatory response prompted by cytokines, which are inflammatory messenger proteins.

The researchers took a group of 12 men who were on proton pump inhibitors to use as their sample group. Proton Pump inhibitors, otherwise known as PPI’s, is a medication that reduces the amount of acids produced in the stomach.  When you have less acids produced in the stomach you diminish the harmful effects (the burning, the irritation, and the damage). 

The men were asked to stop taking their PPI’s for 2 weeks. The researchers expected to see a resumption in the symptoms.  What the researchers did find, however, is that in 11 of the 12 men, there was changes in the esophagus. The change in the lining of the esophagus was not indicative of burns (which is what the researchers expected).  What they discovered is that the esophagus was stimulated by the stomach acid, to produce cytokines. This led to the beginning of a cascade of inflammatory processes which led back to the disease.

Their research concluded that it is not the stomach acid that is causing the problem but rather it is the cytokine messengers. They believe that the development of GERD is cytokine-mediated and not the result of chemical injury.

So now, you might be asking the question, “why is this finding and change in thinking so important?” Well, the answer is that it tells the medical community that we might be placing our focus in the wrong area.  When you consider that this is a disease that affects millions of people, this could be huge.  Perhaps, we need to place our focus on cytokine blockers and inflammation since this appears to be the catalyst to the development of this disease.

Why should we reduce cytokines?

The problem with cytokines is that when activated, they drives chronic, low-grade inflammation process. This type of inflammation is linked to certain diseases such as Diabetes,

Cancer ‘and Heart Disease.  In regards to the link between cytokines and GE Reflux Disease, we certainly need to see more research, to justify changing our treatment modalities but it does sound promising.

So, the question you might ask at this point is, what if additional research does prove that cytokines are the cause of the damaging effects of GERD?  What would be the next step? The next step would probably be to find ways to lower their presence in your body. And that would not be hard to do, considering there are cytokine blockers currently in use to treat some of our most formidable inflammatory diseases, such as, Arthritis, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Crohn’s) and Psoriasis. Some clinical trial leaning in that direction might prove them to be effective against GERD. To the medical community and sufferers of this disease, this is exciting news! 

So, what could you do in the meantime? Well, your healthcare professionals at yourkidshealth.net have several suggestions to offer. One way you can help your child is by lowering their intake of sugar.  It is sugar that triggers the release of cytokines.  You can also increase your intake of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. If taking omega-3 supplements aggravates your child’s reflux (which has been known to happen in some cases) you can always eat foods rich in omega-3. Meals containing salmon, mackerel, trout, albacore tuna, and sardines two or three times a week would be adequate. And, of course, with GERD you want to avoid highly acid foods (oranges, lemons, tomatoes, etc.) and spicy foods.

Reference

Dunbar KB, et al. JAMA. 2016;315(19):2104-112.

When is Diagnostic Radiation Unsafe?

When it comes to modern medicine, many of the decisions that you make concerning your child’s health, involves a risk verses benefit factor.

The healthcare profession is extremely fortunate to have the diagnostics tools that are available for us to use. These powerful diagnostic tools have truly revolutionized our ability to accurately diagnose our patient’s condition. Consequently, this leads to prescribing the proper treatment modalities which results in successful outcomes for our patient’s. This is beneficial to the patient, am I right? However, these broadly used diagnostic tools also pose a danger to your child, thus we have our risk. What are the tools I am talking about? I’m talking about diagnostic tools such as CT scanners, X-ray machines, PET scanners, etc.  Although, these tools have revolutionized health care, your exposure to the high levels of radiation they emit can be hazardous to your health.  We’re talking about diagnostic medical radiation.

So, what exactly is diagnostic medical radiation? It is radiation that simply goes under our skin and reveals what a doctor’s skilled hands can’t palpate and what can’t be seen by the naked eye. Diagnostic radiation comes in different amounts and forms. Now, to address the amounts of radiation, an example of a small amount is the amount used for dental x-rays.  An example of a very large amount, is the amount your child could be expose to while undergoing a CT scan or PET scan procedure. Can you believe these scans can deliver the equivalent of up to 1000 or more chest x-rays?  Well, believe it.

But these tools are so valuable. They can spot precursors to certain disease processes and the early presence of so many others, such as, appendicitis, cancer, cardiovascular disease, infectious diseases, traumas, kidney stones and musculoskeletal disorders.  And because of their accuracy and speed, the need for some of the procedure once done routinely (exploratory surgeries, biopsies and other invasive procedures) has been curtailed.

Now the question you are probably asking at this point is, what is the down side to diagnostic radiation?  When it comes to radiation, all radiation creates what science calls “free radical.” Free radicals can cause damage to your child’s DNA. This can occur immediately but sometimes the damage can occur in the future. What becomes concerning is that the damage DNA is dangerous. What parents need to know is that radiation accumulates in the body. When your child is exposed to radiation, it doesn’t pass through them completely. A percentage of it will stay in their body and build up over time.

The question you may be asking right now is, how much radiation is too much? Well, there are two schools of thought involved with this question.  Some health care professionals believe that all diagnostic radiation is somewhat harmful, regardless of the amount.  But there is not any evidence to back this assumption.  When you look at this from a risk versus benefit perspective, particularly in the areas where radiation exposure is the highest, (i.e., CT scans, PET scans, etc.) the benefits outweigh the risk tremendously.  However, the other school of thought, is in complete contrast to the one, mentioned previously. Proponents of this school of thought believe that diagnostic radiation is extremely risky and have studies to back their claim.  There was a study involving CAT scans which concluded that the scan alone will increase the number of cancer cases in our nation by 2 percent (nearly 30, 000 cases). This could also result in, they concluded, about 14,500 deaths.  There was another study which concluded that the overuse of CT scans could lead to an estimated 3 million radiation-caused cancers over the next 20 to 30 years.

How is radiation measured?

Radiation can be measured by comparing radiation received from a medical procedure with natural background radiation. Background radiation is the radiation one receives simply from living on this planet. It has several sources. Cosmic rays (radiation from the Sun and stars), radiation from the earth (from the rocks and the soil), and radiation from Radon (odorless, colorless gas that is formed from the breakdown of radioactive elements in the ground).

Below, you will find profiles of some of the most common radiological procedures and how they compare to your child’s natural background radiation exposure:

Procedure                                                                                                                        Days of Natural Background Radiation                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

CAT scan (this procedure consists of hundreds of X-rays at different angles, which are   combined by a computer to produce a 3-d image)

 up to 2000

(5.5 years)

 

Chest X-ray

2.5

Dental X-ray
        <1
   Screening mammogram
Routine preventive screening/Diagnostic mammogram
(these are additional X-rays examining specific problem areas)PET Scan with this procedure, a tracer, that is radioactive, will be injected into the bloodstream or it is swallowed. As it moves through the body, radiation is emitted.
          5
PET Scan

(with this procedure a tracer that is radioactive, will be injected into the bloodstream or it is swallowed. As it moves through the body, radiation is emitted.

  2500 (6.8 years)

In view of these facts, your next question is probably, “when should I say no and what are my alternatives?” Good question. The answer to this question should be discussed with your doctor.  Your doctor would be aware of the risk involved in radiation-based diagnoses.  The doctor would be able to advise you as to when to say no. 

Sometimes, it just takes using some common sense.  For example, we all know that dental visits often require taking an x-ray of your teeth and jaw. From my experience, it is rare for the Dental Tech to ask you for permission.  Even though, it is a small amount of radiation, there is no such thing as a “small” amount of DNA damage. 

So, what about the procedures that emit a large amount of radiation, i.e., your CT scans, PET scans, etc.  Those in the medical community are aware of the fact, that many children who presents to the emergency room with abdominal pain or headache, have automatically bought themselves a CAT scan. The technology is so good that it has often been overused. It is estimated that 85 million CAT scans are performed every year.  So, what can a parent do to avoid the radiation based diagnostic tools?  There are a couple of alternatives that are as effective, if not more effective. The alternatives are ultrasounds and MRI’s. I need to point out that there are exceptions, where radiation-based procedures are required. My recommendation is that you mention your preference to avoid radiation based procedures to your child’s Pediatrician and allow the physician to advise you.

However, there are times when radiation based diagnostics are unavoidable. Fortunately, God has provided us ways to protect against radiation damage and some of them are delicious. What I am about to share with you are items that have high concentrations of antioxidants.  These antioxidants protect against DNA damage. These antioxidants can be found in teas made from the Chaga mushroom extract.

Blueberries is another natural food item that contains protective antioxidants and specialized anti-cancer compounds.  It is recommended that your child eats 45 berries a day or try a supplement containing the extract. If your child doesn’t like the taste of plain blueberries, you can always add it to pancake or muffin mixes. Have you ever added them to a homemade smoothie? Very delicious. Foods that contain vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin D will have antioxidants, as well.  Or you can give them the supplemental equivalent. For Vitamin A, the recommended daily intake is 5,000 IU, for Vitamin C it is 1,000 mg and for Vitamin D, it is 5,000 mg. Lastly, the product, Curcumin is a powerful tumor-inhibiting product. If you get Curcumin in a supplemental form, 500 mg. should be suffice, just be sure it is in a “bioavailable” formulation.   And always, consult with your Pediatrician before considering any behavioral, dietary or supplemental changes.

Reference

Weighing the Risks and Benefits of Youth Football

Participating in sports is an amazing experience for children and young people. Sports engage the body as well as the mind in a very comprehensive way. However, there might be certain risks involved, including injuries and in some cases, even stress and depression. A sport such as football is extremely popular, but are the benefits truly worth facing the risks?

Parents are often fearful or hesitant when their kids express a desire to play contact sports: concussions and accidents are every mom and dad’s nightmare! Sport-related injuries are indeed a focus of ongoing debate in the healthcare industry, and effort are consistently being made in order to help people get familiar with issues commonly associated with concussions.  It is also important to recognize the amazing advancements that have been made with equipment and even artificial surfaces designed to reduce impact injuries without compromising performance.

However, although concussions might be dangerous, they are easy to manage and prevent with the proper precautions, including utilizing proper sportswear, as well as simply raising awareness on the issue.

Don’t let the headlines scare you: the risk of injuries is inherent with being a child.  Regardless of what they do, children can get hurt, as its in their nature to explore their own limits and the world around them. Sometimes, they are bound to take some missteps! The world of youth football and other contact sports is no more or less dangerous than any other sport or outdoors activities, and there are many incredible benefits in playing youth football.Such benefits include improved coordination, mobility and fitness, but also other perks on a personal and educational level. Being a part of a team, or a social group is a great life lesson, as well as remaining focused on the game’s development and rules! 

Talk with your doctor, friends who have kids in football and other trusted sources to make a decision that is right for your family!

Is Too Much Screen Time Doing Damage To Your Child?

 We live in some interesting times, don’t we? With all the advances in technology, life has become so convenient, hasn’t it? Think about it, with just the click of a button, you can reach someone on the other side of the planet in a minutes notice.  It is uncommon not to find our children staring into a cell phone, or a laptop computer or a tablet. But how much screen time is too much screen time?

 The American Optometric Association (or AOA) tells us that the average American worker spends seven hours a day on the computer. I wonder how much time the average American kid spends. Perhaps about the same; maybe even more? It also may surprise you to find out that the technology advances has brought along with it some health problems. One particular problem, I read about recently is called the Computer Vision Syndrome.

The AOA defines Computer Vision Syndrome as a group of eye and vision related problems that result from prolonged computer, tablet, e-reader, and cell phone use. Another name for this disorder is Digital Eye Strain.

So, as a parent, I found myself asking the question, how do I know if my child is experiencing CVS?

Well, here are some of the common symptoms associated with this disorder.

Your child may experience headache, dry eyes, blurred vision and eye strain. Surprisingly, neck and/or shoulder pain is also a symptom of this disorder.

You might see a retreat in many of the visual symptoms once you separate from the screen. However, some of the symptoms might hang on, and some can recur or worsen if you don’t address the cause.

So, what are the causes of CVS?

Let me preface the answer by stating a fact: A digital page on a screen is very different from a printed page.

The characters on screen will not appear as sharply defined as the characters you see on paper. There tends to be less contrast between the characters and the screen background.  The glare that is present from inside the devices tends to make your eyes work harder. Also, the reflections of light sources outside the device, such as lamps, natural light through the windows or overhead light sources can also contribute to work increase on your eyes.  These two factors can increase your risk of CVS.

There is also a momentous, difference in how far or near you are to a printed page versus a screen, as well as, in the angle at which you’re viewing your source. This can challenge your eyes in terms of movement and focus.

Uncorrected or under-corrected vision problems—even minor ones can contribute to the development of CVS. Another challenge that will facilitate the development of this disorder is poor posture. You’ve seen it and are likely guilty yourself. Ask yourself as you read this blog, are you sitting with your back curved and shoulders hunched?   Are you leaning in toward the screen? This is where neck and shoulder pain obtains its origin as a symptom of CVS.

Fortunately, there are ways to prevent or minimize these symptoms and your health care professionals at yourkidshealth.net encourage you to implement some of these interventions.

Here are some prevention and reduction interventions that you and your child can do.

First of all, CVS symptoms can be caused by many non-CVS conditions. So a proper eye exam is, of course, necessary to determine whether your child has it.  If your child does have it, then the question becomes, to what extent and what can you do about it. If your child wear corrective lenses, make sure they’re up to date.

Here are some more clues you need to be looking at.

The more time in front of your screen seems to correlate with more CVS discomfort.

Research has shown that spending two or more nonstop hours onscreen puts you in the highest CVS risk group.

You think?

We know what you’re saying. Their school work requires a lot more than two hours onscreen.

We also know how many of us are coaxed by “recreational surfing.” How many times have you found your child, or yourself, on the internet wandering from emails to news, and sports, then to games, and eventually to movies?  The answer is probably, often. The internet just draws us in and makes it all easy to wander.  Perhaps having the knowledge of the CVS risks lurking in your mind, will be the impetus for making your child cut back?  Could it be the catalyst? Hopefully, it will be.

During my research, I also stumbled upon a concept known as the 20-20-20 rule.

What the rule encourages is that for every 20 minutes you’re onscreen, you should take a 20-second break and look at something 20 feet away. This allows your eye muscles to remain limber.

Another, do-it-yourself technique that is simple and immediately effective speaks to positioning and posture.  And not only is it effective and easy to implement, it also delivers good health benefits, as well. Unfortunately it is dreadfully easy to forget to do. This is assuming your child is at a desk, with a desktop computer, not a laptop.

Body position: remember what your parents and teachers told you? Sit up straight, shoulders back.  Stress this to your kids. This is important because hunching over and forward can lead to muscle pain and spasms.

Chair: the chair they sit in should be padded, comfortable, and placed at the proper height to allow their feet to rest flat on the floor. If it has adjustable arms, set them to provide arm support while they type. They should never rest their wrists on the keyboard or desktop when typing.

Screen position: most people prefer looking downward 4–5 inches, in contrast to looking straight ahead, at the screen 20–28 inches from the eyes. Your child should avoid any position where light comes in from behind the screen. An example of that scenario would be from a window. You should adjust the blinds or shades for your child, if you need to.

Lighting:  You will also need to adjust the screen for your child in order to accomplish the least reflected glare from windows or overhead lighting. Also, use low-wattage bulbs in any desk lamps.

Anti-glare, anti-reflective screens can also be helpful.

Breaks: Monitor your child’s use and prompt them to rest their eyes for 15 minutes after two hours of continuous time onscreen.

Blink. Encourage your child to blink frequently, which will keep their eyes moist and minimize the risk of dry eyes.

Special lenses: There are special lenses available for those who don’t otherwise need eyeglasses. This eyewear is specifically designed for computer use. They comprise of special lens design, tint /coatings and power that can magnify visual   abilities, as well as, provide comfort to the eyes.

Vision therapy: There are special exercises that can improve eye-brain coordination and function. Ask an optometrist about this.

 

How to Keep Your Kids Safe from the Zika Virus US Outbreak!

Zika virus!  Zika virus! All this fuss about the Zika virus.  You hear it on the news shows, hospitals are screening incoming patients about their recent travel destinations and on and on.  So, this blog is an attempt to inform you of what you need to know about this virus.  Zika virus is a member of the Flaviviridae and is transmitted by a daytime- active mosquitos.  It originated from the Zika Forest of Uganda were the virus was first isolated in 1947. Since the 1950’s, there had been evidence of its presence along a narrow equatorial belt stretching from Africa to Asia. Sometime between 2013 and 2014, the virus spread across the Pacific Ocean. In 2015, Zika outbreaks had reached pandemic proportions in South America, Central America and Mexico.

Zika fever, which is the disease caused by this virus, is primarily contracted through the bite of a mosquito. The mosquito that spread this virus will bite either daytime or night.  They will typically bite someone who is infected with the virus and then bite someone who has not been infected.  The virus can also be transmitted from a pregnant mother to her fetus during pregnancy.

Fever, rash, conjunctivitis (redness to the eyes) and joint pain are the common symptoms. These symptoms can last up to a week in duration and are mild in severity. Statistically, 1 in 5 persons infected with this virus will become sick. And because the symptoms are so mild, many that are infected will not realize they have been infected. Most recently, however (February 2016), there appears to be evidence that this virus in pregnant mothers can cause abnormal brain development in their fetuses which can result in miscarriages and microcephaly (small, underdeveloped brain).

As of 2016, there are no drugs or vaccine to treat this disease. Treating the symptoms and rest is the course of action you should take if you find yourself infected by this virus. Since there are no drugs or vaccines to treat this disease, prevention is the best defense and there are several steps that can be implemented.  

Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents. This spray can be applied on the clothing, as well as, the skin.  However, do not place the repellent on the skin and cover it with clothing.  Always follow the product’s label instructions.

Wear long sleeve shirts and pants.

If you are wearing a sunscreen, apply it first, and then the repellent.

  • Stay in areas that have air conditioning, windows and door screens.
  • If you have a baby or child, do not use insect repellent on babies less than 2 months of age.
  • Cover cribs, baby carriers and strollers with mosquito netting.
  • Repellent should not be applied onto a child’s hands, eyes, mouth, and cut or irritated skin.
  • The repellent can be sprayed into an adult’s hands and then applied to the child’s face.
  • Wear permethrin treated clothing, which offers protection even after several washings.
  • Avoid traveling to areas that has a Zika virus outbreak.

In January 2016, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued travel guidance and enhanced precautions for those considering a trip to affected countries. Your healthcare professionals at yourkidhealth.net  are recommending that you visit their website if you are considering a trip to one of these countries in the near future.

 

Zika-prevention-your-kids-health

The Dangers of Pokemon Go

Pokemon Go has been downloaded over 10 million times to Android phones. On the surface, it seems like a game that brings people together, encourages exercise, and in general makes for a good alternative to sitting on the couch. However, there is more to this game than meets the eye. It presents very real dangers to children, teenagers and anyone who plays it.

Since the game’s launch early last week, there have been countless stories regarding accidents and real life dangers.  

Because of the virtual reality nature of Pokemon Go, people are now wandering the streets trying to track down ‘Pokemon’ and capture them to attain new levels in the game. Gamers have to use their camera phone to spot creatures, and everyone knows how dangerous that can be.

Here are a few ways players are putting themselves in harm’s way by playing the game.

Car Accidents

People are now not only texting while driving, but some have even been caught “Pokemoning” and driving. The game uses distance as a variable, which means the more ground you cover, the more creatures you can catch. Players have caught on to this and are using their vehicles to win the game and level up. Clearly, driving while playing is illegal (in most states) so not only is this dangerous it’s also criminal. A few accidents have even been reported and linked to the game.

Physical Harm

Some people have even ran into lampposts and trees. One Redditor even admitted to having fractured a bone in their foot within just thirty minutes of playing the game—the Redditor lied to ER staff and told them they had been walking their dog.

The issue has gotten so bad that the Austin, Texas, police department even issued a statement this week regarding the game asking citizens to “Stay aware, and watch out for trees.”

Crime

Besides broken bones, players are also facing robbers. Criminals in St. Louis recently lured a gamer to an isolated location and robbed him. A similar incident happened in Austin, when a player was robbed at gunpoint. It’s easy to see why the Austin Police Department felt the need to issue a warning.

Losing Your Way

Others have gotten lost while playing the game, simply because they weren’t paying attention to their surroundings. Wandering off into the countryside isn’t exactly a good idea, especially since you likely won’t have a map to find your way back!

Staying Safe

If you do play Pokemon Go, or allow your children to, make awareness a top priority. If your kids are playing it, ask them to always go out as a group, and make sure they turn the game off while in the car. Stress the issue strongly, as it could keep them out of harm’s way.  Ask your kids to ask themselves if a Pokemon creature is worth losing their life over. We certainly don’t think so, and we’re confident you don’t either.

Know the risks of Dry Drowning before your next family pool trip!

Dry Drowning and also called Delayed Drowning

Most parents stay on guard when their child goes swimming. Playing lifeguard pool or shore side is just one more duty parents have to handle. By the time the kiddos are toweled off, most parents think their lifeguard duties are over. Not so fast.

The dangers of drowning, unfortunately, do not end after your child leaves the water. They are still at risk. Doctors call this condition ‘dry drowning,’ or ‘delayed drowning’. Let’s define what dry drowning is and how you can be on the lookout for it.

What is Dry Drowning?

The name ‘dry drowning’ can be confusing. Put simply, dry drowning is the same thing that comes to mind when you think of drowning except it happens outside of the water.

Dry drowning can also happen up to 24 hours after your child has left the water. Accidental consumption of an extreme amount of water can lead to drowning from the inside, rather than being physically drowned from the outside. When a child inhales water into their lungs, their vocal cords begin to spasm. This can cause death if left untreated.

Delayed drowning is a bit different in that water gets into the lungs where it prevents oxygen from making it to the blood. Your child will start to have difficulty breathing over the course of a few hours thereafter if they’re delayed drowning.

Red Flags to Look For

Unfortunately, since you likely can’t keep your eyes on your child every second, it’s important to know what the warning signs are. It’s difficult to know if your child has inhaled or swallowed water, but if they have there are a few symptoms to keep in mind. These include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Coughing
  • Chest Pain
  • Vomiting
  • Major Fatigue
  • Blue Lips & Pale Skin
  • Changes in Mood

Seek Medical Attention

If you notice any of the above symptoms, seek medical attention immediately. The hospital will perform an X-Ray and will also start an IV if necessary. The sooner you recognize these symptoms the better chance your child has of survival.

Don’t Panic!

While this condition is very serious, it only happens in about 2% of drowning cases. Most drowning incidents occur in the water, and as long as you watch your children while they play most problems can be avoided.

The only real way to protect your child from dry drowning is to get in the water with them. Staying within arm’s reach prevents any serious incidents from occurring. It’s also a good idea to get your child into swim lessons so they can safely enjoy the water.

Don’t let your child become a victim. Stay alert and know the signs of dry drowning to prevent your child from getting hurt.

 

Heatstroke

sun

Heatstroke (aka; sunstroke) can be defined as a body temperature of greater than 40.6 °C(105.1 °F) resulting from environmental heat exposure accompanied by the absence of thermo regulation of heat by the brain. Another contributing factor to heatstroke can be dehydration. Heatstroke is a form of hyperthermia where the body temperature increases dramatically. It is considered a medical emergency and can be fatal if it is not promptly and properly treated. Infants and small children rank highly among those vulnerable to having a heatstroke. Heatstroke is known to be the leading cause of non-crash vehicle related deaths in children.

Typically, the body generates heat through its metabolism and is able to rid itself of heat through heat radiating through the skin, as well as, cooling off through the evaporation of sweat. However, in an extremely hot environment, high humidity environment, coupled with vigorous exercising under the sun, the body may not be able to rid itself of the heat fast enough and the body temperature climbs. It can climb as high as 106 degrees or higher.

Causes

Some of the causes of heatstroke can be link to substances that prevents cooling and causes dehydration. Substances such as alcohol, caffeine, medications and stimulants, as well as, age-related physical changes can make a person vulnerable to heatstroke. Those child deaths from heatstroke related to hot cars are the results of parents / caregivers forgetting that the child is in the car, parents intentionally leaving the child in a car without understanding how hot a car can get, and with children climbing into a car to play.

Other Signs/Symptoms

  • Fast heartbeat
  • Rapid and shallow breathing
  • blood pressure may be elevated or lowered
  • absence of sweating
  • Irritability, confusion or unconsciousness
  • Lightheadedness and dizziness
  • fainting
  • Nausea
  • headache

Prevention

  • Keep cars locked to prevent children from entering them while playing.
  • Place something in the backseat with the child that you will need when you reach your final destination, like a purse or briefcase or your cell phone.
  • Dress your child in light, loose fitting clothes which allows perspiration to evaporate and cool the body. Wear hats with vents that allow perspiration to cool the head.
  • Avoid strenuous activity during daylight hours in hot weather.
  • Use air conditioning and rest regularly.
  • Drink plenty of fluid to replace fluid lost from sweating but avoid drinks containing caffeine and alcohol.
  • Dress your child in light colored / cloth clothing (plastic clothing does not facilitate heat loss through the evaporation process).
  • Monitor the color of your child’s urine. Urine becomes dark colored when your child is dehydrated. Try to maintain light colored urine for this is a sign that your child is hydrated adequately.
  • If you see a child left alone in a car, call 911.

Treatment

It is imperative that the body temperature is lowered immediately. Always call 911, first.

  1. The child should be moved to a cool area and clothing removed to facilitate heat loss.
  2. You can apply ice packs to the child’s armpits, groin, neck and back.
  3. Place your child under a fan or a dehumidified air conditioner.
  4. Immersing your child in a cool water bath can be very helpful.
  5. Some experts say cold water / ice water immersion is counterproductive, because it causes the blood vessels to constrict and thus prevents heat from escaping, others consider it the gold standard for life-threatening heatstroke.
  6. If a bath tub is not available, applying damp clothes to the body should be employed. You can also cool your child off with a water spray.

kidsinthegrass

Drowning

kidswimming

Drowning is the process of experiencing breathing impairment from submersion/immersion in liquid. It is the 3rd leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide, second most common cause of death in children in the US and when it does not result in death, may still result in significant/permanent impairment.

Contributing Factors

Age is considered one of the most significant factors and In general, children under 5 years of age have the highest drowning mortality rates worldwide.

Alcohol use, on or around bodies of water can also play a significant role through physical impairment.

Easy access to water, lack of supervision and underlying medical conditions that can cause physical impairment such as epilepsy can increase the risk of drowning.

Recognizing a Person at Risk

Drowning is most dangerous because it can be a silent killer. A person at risk for drowning may not present as panicked and shouting for help. Other less obvious signs a person may be in trouble include:

  • Mouth beneath the surface, unable to speak
  • The child is upright in the water, but not kicking to help resurface
  • Bobbing to the surface in short intervals, gasping
  • Still/motionless in the water
  • Floating on the water’s surface
  • Silence
  • Pale/blue discoloration

Prevention

There will never be any preventative measure as powerful as keen, sober, undistracted observation.

That being said there are steps you as a caregiver can take to decrease risk of drowning and those include:

  • Fencing off pool/bodies of water
  • Covering wells and open cisterns
  • Emptying buckets/kiddy pools and storing them upside down
  • Emptying baths immediately
  • Removing standing water through appropriate drainage
  • Swimmers education
  • Learning CPR
  • Do not use floatation devices as a substitute for supervision
  • Securing easy access sources of water (IE: toilet)

What to do if you suspect your child suffered a near drowning:

All parents/caregivers suspecting drowning should activate an emergency response and seek out medical attention AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

While the actual time varies from person to person it is believed brain tissue death begins after 3-6 minutes of oxygen deprivation.

Immediate initiation of CPR can preserve brain function and often make the difference between life and death.