Buzz Your Way Out of Pain

As adults, we know that going to the doctor’s office can be a pain-in-the-you know what, even under the best of circumstances. But we tend to rationalize our way to our physician’s office anyway, knowing that it is in our best interest to go. Then once we arrive, we will take the visit with a grain of salt.  However, imagine if the patient is a kid.

We’ve all seen the scenario, right? Have you ever seen a child jump for joy, when they are told they are going to see their pediatrician? Of course, not. Don’t be ridiculous. Now, add to that, the child needs a shot. As parents, we have all had to come up with some type of bribe, mixed with a little extortion, for the child to allow the doctor exposure to that bicep or thigh or some other part of their anatomy.  Then after the deed is done, we have fed them candy time and time again, to alleviate that shrieking and hyperventilation, accompanied by many tears. What’s a parent to do, right?

Well, there is a Pediatric Emergency Room Physician named Amy Baxter, who believes she might have the solution we have all been waiting for. Not only is she a doctor, she is a parent as well. What other motivation do you need to start thinking about a solution. Dr. Baxter has invented a device that she has named “Buzzy.” Once you hear about the technology behind this invention, you will wonder and ask the question, “why didn’t someone invent this device a long time ago?”

So, what is this device known as “Buzzy?” It is a palm-sized unit that the caregiver presses against the skin to reduce pain. This device uses a very high frequency, low amplitude vibration along with a freeze-solid ice pack. The combination of the high frequency motion and intense cold activate nerves that run parallel with the pain nerve, and consequently jams the pain signal to the brain.

You might be asking the question, “Why haven’t we heard of this device before?” There are several reasons you might not have heard of this device. The first reason is that this device is relatively new. Secondly, something you might not know exist but there are barriers to innovation in the healthcare world. I will touch on some of them in this blog so that you will have a better understanding and appreciation of the skepticism of the medical community when it come to new / innovative devices.

Most practitioners continue to trust and practice what they learned in academia even though there is continuing education and lifelong learning. There is also the fact that it takes time for new science to permeate to practice. Not to mention that doctors and hospital systems inherently averse to taking risk largely attributed to the legal climate that exist in healthcare today. They find security in continuity to do what they know is right, what is ethical and what is sound practice. Fear of change perhaps? It makes you wonder.

At this point, you may ask the question, so why should we fall “in love” with this product? The main reason would be that the response from the patients has been overwhelmingly positive, i.e., “thumbs up.” In the interview with Dr. Baxter, she mentioned that parents are thanking her all of the time for introducing them to the devise. But don’t just take her word for it. Allow me to share with you what the research has shown.

There was a study in Italy which concluded that “Buzzy” demonstrated significant pain reduction in adolescents with severe cognitive impairment. What is the implication (importance?) of this study? It establishes the fact that this is not the result of psychological distraction. There were two studies conducted on adults in Turkey which concluded that it reduced pain from injections and blood draw about 10% more than in kids. This supports the physiological component of pain relief underlying its effectiveness. Matt, does this make sense or should I leave it off? However, the study that captivated my attention occurred at Children’s Healthcare of Philadelphia. This study concluded that “Buzzy” relieved pain from IV access as effectively as the leading topical anesthetic (Emla Cream or LMX4), but it worked 10 times faster. They were able to perform blood draws and IV starts in 3.5 minutes compared to 40 minutes with LMX4.

There are other studies which are promising and suggest that this technology may also be useful in other areas outside the injection / blood draw arena. Those areas are orthopedics, physical therapy, diabetes, chronic pain and sports medicine. Keep your eyes and ears open for more information on this product as it becomes available to us at yourkidshealth.net and hopefully you will get to meet “Buzzy” if the situation calls for him.

 

How to Keep Your Kids Healthy this Flu Season

As flu season is steadily approaching, many parents are particularly concerned about the wellbeing of their children. Kids, in particular, are quite vulnerable to flu because their immune system can get weaker as we face often drastic weather changes from summer to the fall. If you live in a big city, exposure to flu contaminants and other people can even further increase the risk.

If you are looking for the best way to protect your kids, read on to find out more about how you can keep your kids as healthy as possible during the flue season!

Prompt them to wash their hands.

Hygiene is the most important step to fight the flu or other illnesses. Encourage your children to wash their hands as often as they can throughout the day, particularly if they have been on public transportation or while at school.

Eat plenty of fruit and veggies.

Good nutrition and a balanced diet will help fortify the immune system and prevent the flu. Get your kids to eat plenty of fruits, particularly anything with plenty of vitamin C, such as grapefruit or oranges! Bananas, which are rich in potassium and fiber, will also offer a lot of beneficial nutrients!

Get your kids vaccinated

If possible, get your child vaccinated for this season’s flu. This will give your child the immune boost needed to help fight off the disease. Flu shots are a yearly habit for many people, and they’re a safe way to get rid of seasonal bugs.

Watch that cough!

A single cough could release thousands of bacteria and germs in the air, some of which might be able to spread the flu to people nearby. Always make sure you teach your child about proper cough etiquette, and tell them to keep a certain distance from people who seem to be coughing or ill.

Follow these tips and good luck navigating Flu Season!

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!

Controlling Your Sugar Cravings

 

If your kids are like most kids, controlling their cravings for sweets is a never-ending battle. Whether they are playing at home, at school or hanging out with friends, it is a struggle that many children experience. Can I get a witness?

At this point, some of you might be asking the question, “Is that really a problem?” Well, yes, it can be. Did you know that too much sugar consumption can lead to an unbalanced blood sugar level? An unbalanced blood sugar level can significantly increase the risk of developing conditions later in life such as diabetes, heart disease and metabolic syndrome. Conversely, maintaining a balanced blood glucose level can be a life-sustaining practice and possibly a life-saving practice. I’m not referring only to children with diabetes, but also to healthy children as well. 

Let’s be real – hidden sugar is omnipresent in the Standard American Diet (SAD). I think we can agree that most people don’t have a clue as to how much sugar we consume. How familiar does this sound to you: “I just had to have that cinnamon roll. I couldn’t resist it.” And you didn’t!  We may even be unaware of how much we crave sweets until the craving hits us. So why does the craving hits us at all? 

Let me introduce to you what we will call “The Sugar Crave Cycle.”

The Sugar Crave Cycle

Normal blood glucose levels remains even with a healthy diet. It can only take one indulgence in sugar and begins when:

  • Your child drinks that high carbohydrate drink or eats that sweet food (i.e., donut).
  • Their bloodstream becomes saturated with glucose (sugar).
  • Their body responds with a surge of insulin.
  • This surge of insulin causes the blood glucose levels to fall below the optimal level.
  • Since the brain depends on glucose for energy, it perceives a threat to its survival. The brain sends a signal to the adrenal glands to release cortisol. 
  • Cortisol, a steroid hormone, is released in response to stress and/or a low blood glucose level. Cortisol functions to increase blood glucose levels by increasing cravings for more sugar.
  • Your child reacts to these cravings and demands more sweets. After you give in, the cycle starts over again.

You may feel guilt about giving in to your child’s demands, and quite possibly the child is feeling guilty, too. Even though we know the sweets are bad for them, we give in anyway. Then, we start saying to ourselves, “I am a bad parent (or grandparent). I am weak and have no discipline”.

Let me tell you parents – there is nothing more counter-productive than negative self-talk.   What if I was to tell you, it is not all your fault? It’s not just an idea you’re battling—“I shouldn’t eat this”. It’s much more powerful. This is pure autonomic nervous system (ANS) business. You can’t override it, you can’t tell it what to do. It tells you what to do. In contrast to a computer, which you can override sometimes, the ANS cannot be overridden.

However, the situation isn’t hopeless. I believe that knowing why the sugar crave cycle happens (and knowing it is a false alarm) can be a deterrent to giving in. In fact, it can be a powerful deterrent. Intellectually, you know they don’t need that high sugar item. We also know that if you allow your child to indulge, you will place that child right back on the sugar craving cycle. We can say “no”.  

[Doesn’t that remind you of the anti-drug campaign?]

Parents, there is no reason to beat yourselves up. Did you know that imbalances in the chemicals in the brain (responsible for managing your moods) are to blame for at least 70-80% of the cravings.

So, what is a parent to do? We know we can just say “no.” But now, we also know that it doesn’t take just good old-fashion willpower. It also takes good health-sense.

Several decades ago, a rock band by the name of The Beatles wrote a song entitled, “With A Little Help From My Friends.” These three ‘friends’ will help you overcome those unhealthy sugar cravings.

Our first friend is named Gymnema Sylvestre. This product has been used in India and Asia for thousands of years to balance blood sugar levels and reduce the sugar craving. In fact, this product works so well, in Hindu its name (gurmar) means “destroyer of sugar”. Naturally, it derives from a plant leaf. Research has shown that, in its supplemental form, it contains an acid which has a molecular structure that is similar to sugar. It is strongly believed that these molecular structure attaches to the same taste receptors that glucose (sugar) uses. This attachment occurs not only in the mouth but also in the intestines. Consequently, sugar absorption in the intestines also decreases. Talk about a little help from our friends… this is enormous! 

But there is more to this product. It has also demonstrated an ability to increase the amount of insulin in the body by aiding the regrowth of pancreatic beta cells. These are the cells that produce insulin. What a huge bonus! For those who may be interested in trying the supplement, the recommended dosage is 400 milligrams per day.

Our second friend is an alkaloid extracted from plants by the name of Berberine. This product was utilized before the discovery of insulin and was recognized for its anti-diabetes effect. Berberine works by stimulating the uptake of glucose into your cells. This results in lower blood glucose levels. And, if this wasn’t enough, it also possesses extra beneficial effects. Those benefits include an increase in insulin sensitivity and a decrease in glucose production in the liver. Some experts say Berberine is as effective as Metformin but without the unwanted side effects (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and upset stomach) associated with that drug. The recommended dosage for this supplement is 1000 milligrams per day.

Thirdly, we can get by with a little help from our friend Chromium. Many of us know that chromium is an essential trace mineral. However, few of us know that it plays a role in maintaining a healthy blood sugar level. Chromium is essential in the transportation of blood glucose out of the bloodstream and into the cells throughout your body. Once within the cells, the glucose converts proteins, carbohydrates and fats into energy. There are studies that have proven that a chromium-deficient diet can lead to an increase in blood sugar levels.

Like our two other friends, there is a bonus involved for chromium. Studies have revealed that chromium can help manage diabetes by assisting people with weight loss. If you are interested in this supplement, it comes in two forms: chromium dinicocysteinate and chromium picolinate. The recommended dosage for chromium is 400 milligrams per day.

In conclusion, I don’t want you to be misguided. No supplement can overcome a diet filled with pastries, ice cream and pasta. These supplements may suppress that craving, but nothing can take the place of a nutrient-heavy diet and moderate exercise. And your health-care professionals at yourkidshealth.net always recommend that you consult your doctor before starting any of the supplements featured in this blog.

References:

Ware, Megan. “Chromium: health benefits, sourses, and potential risks” Medical News Today. Updated May 22, 2017. Last accessed June 13, 2017.

“Chromium—Topic Overview” WebMD. Published NA. Last accessed June 13, 2017.

“Gymnema” Published NA. Last accessed June 13, 2017.

Passero, Kevin. “Gymnema Sylvestre: Reduce Sugar Cravings and Balance Blood Sugar!” GREEN HEALING WELLNESS. Published May 9, 2016. Last accessed June 13, 2017.

Creative ways to keep your kids hydrated this summer

Summer is a truly amazing time. It allows children to experience the outdoors and parents to spend a little more time playing with them, helping them grow and discover the world. However, the summer heat also brings forth an unsuspecting danger than many people overestimate:

Dehydration!

Especially when they are really young, children can be affected by the symptoms of dehydration very quickly. Just a couple of hours of play time under the hot sun could indeed already produce dangerous effects, such as a general sense of weakness, dizziness or headaches, among other signs that your kids might be exposed to too much heat and too little water.

In order to understand how to prevent dehydration, it might be useful for you to gain a clearer understanding of what it actually really is. Essentially, this is what happens when a human body doesn’t have as much water as it needs. About 60% of the human body actually consists of water, and when we are not able to stay consistently hydrated, some issues might arise. Naturally, we lose liquids every single day through a wide variety of process, ranging from peeing to secreting tears and even saliva and sweat. The weather will have a really significant impact on the amount of water we lose, with heat causing us to dehydrate much faster. For children, keeping their liquid intake consistent is even more important, since their constitution relies on it even more so than a fully developed adult.

How can you keep your kids hydrated? The obvious solutions are to give them enough to drink and make sure they don’t spend a lot of time directly exposed to the heat of the sun without any proper protection or time to chill in the shade. However, there are many other fun ways and strategies that will help you keep your kids hydrated, without making them feel like you are constantly worried, hovering over them and watching their every step. The trick is to turn hydration into a game, or in some cases, into a fun treat!

– A fun alternative to water: Water is a great and primary source of hydration, but sometimes, you could spice it up by offering your kids a nice, healthy treat. Coconut water is a particularly great alternative. It makes for a sweet, refreshing drink that also has the extra bonus of being full of electrolytes, particularly calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. Think of it as nature’s sports drink! 

-Coconut water is not your only healthy, natural alternative to offer something nutritious to your kids: make them a nice fruit juice or smoothie, which will help keep them hydrated, with the extra benefit of giving them all those vitamins and fiber that make fruit and veggies really important for any kid’s (or anyone else’s) diet.  If you want to up the ante a little bit, make the drinking more fun with some cool straws or mini cocktail umbrellas! Kids will look forward to enjoying their hydrating treat even more.

– Fresh Fruit is a great everday hydrator! Fruit like watermelon, apples and grapes are made of mostly water, not to mention the healthy benefit of eating fresh whole foods!

– Feeling a little extra indulgent and in the mood for something sweet? Even an icicle, a slush or a snow-cone helps hydration, Just keep the sweets as special treat rather than an option to use on a regular basis.

If you see your kids energy level or their lips chapping then you know your starting to lose the hydration battle.  Stay ahead of the game by using these suggestions  – your kids will feel great all day!

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.

Five Best Foods to Give Children Before they Exercise

Physical exercise is very important for children. It helps them develop their body-motion coordination and their physical strength. In addition to that, exercising can also have positive mental effects on kids. Sports and other forms of training have indeed been found to increase positivity and self-esteem, as well as help children develop their intellect and cognitive skills. As they say, “a healthy mind in a healthy body!”

Even though exercise is obviously very important, the right nutrition is absolutely vital. In some cases, physical activity without good nutrition can actually produce adverse effects and cause problems that can lead to dangerous health issues. For instance, dehydration is a very common problem among kids who practice sports and fail to drink plenty of water. Diets that are low in iron can also cause energy drops and a general sense of weakness. In this article, we will explore 5 different foods that are particularly great for children, before they exercise!

Banana:

This fruit is easy to find and inexpensive, but it packs a lot of amazing nutrients and health benefits. A banana is a full of minerals, such as potassium, which has a really positive effect on the body. Electrolytes and vitamins also aid to the energy-efficiency and nutritional perks of the banana! This fruit is also sweet and tasty, which makes it easy for most children to quickly eat it without complaining!

Oats:

Oats are absolutely perfect to add some fiber to any diet. They are a slow-release source of carbs, which means they deliver some energy that doesn’t “burn out” quickly and suddenly, but provides more overtime fuel! Besides the ability to provide consistent energy levels, oats are also rich in B vitamins!

Wholegrain Bread:

Wholegrain bread is excellent as a source of carbs, and it can easily be turned into delicious and healthy sandwiches. Eating a huge sub before a workout might not be the best idea, especially for a child, but a small to medium-sized sandwich can actually offer a lot of nutrients and energy. For instance, wholegrain slices can be enjoyed with peanut butter, which is a source of protein, as well as hard-boiled eggs and even turkey (for some lean, high-energy protein) and cheese.

Yogurt:

High quality, sugar-free (if possible) yogurt is a great pre-work out food, especially for kids. Yogurt features active bacterial cultures, which are highly beneficial for the body. In addition to that, yogurt is also a great source of protein, and it can be paired up with other ingredients for maximum nutritious punch…and improved taste! For instance, you can add a generous serving of blueberries and add some honey to boost the amount of vitamins and anti-oxidants. You could even sprinkle some whole-grain cereals. This will not only augment the yogurt pre-workout snack with a delicious crunch, but it will also add a nice amount of carbs and fiber! The dream combo? Greek yogurt with whole-wheat flakes, blueberries and honey!

Water and lemon:

Drinking water is very, very important, because children should always stay hydrated before and after workouts. Add some lemon juice to improve the quenching effect and the intake of vitamins!
Take these tips with you on your next trip to the store and your kids will feel, perform and recover at a higher level.

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

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.

 

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.