Do You Know Your Family’s Asthma Triggers?

Some people are much more likely than others to develop allergies, such as asthma, hay fever and eczema. Certain ‘triggers’, such as pollens, household cleaners or pets, can cause an allergic response.

What can trigger asthma?

Many things can make asthma worse. Keep a list of your triggers when you discover them, and discuss them with your GP or asthma nurse.

Environmental triggers include:

  • Animal proteins, such as house dust mites, animal hair and cat saliva. Read more about pet hygiene if you have asthma.
  • Household cleaners and sprays can have an irritant effect, which can trigger asthma. Strong perfume can do the same.
  • Mould spores, which are released from trees at the end of the year, or in damp housing.
  • Pollens, including trees and grass.
  • Traffic fumes.
  • Weather and changes in temperature.

Other triggers include:

  • Some people with asthma find that exercise triggers their asthma symptoms. However, exercise is good for most people, including people with asthma.
  • Emotions. Negative emotions can act as a trigger, possibly for the same reason that exercise is a trigger. Your respiratory rate (the rate of breathing) increases, which means that you take in more air.
  • Hormones. A small number of women with asthma find that changes in their hormone levels can be a trigger. This may be worse before menstruation.
  • Medicines. In a few people, asthma is triggered by medicines containing salicylates, such as ibuprofen and some other anti-inflammatory drugs. It may also be triggered by beta-blockers, a type of drug prescribed for some people with cardiac disease, anxiety, hypertension, angina and glaucoma. If you have asthma, be cautious of taking ibuprofen (which may be sold by the brand name, Nurofen) or beta-blockers. Your GP, asthma nurse or pharmacist may be able to suggest an alternative.
  • Smoking.
  • Viral infections. A cold, the flu or other respiratory infections can make asthma worse.

Visit the Asthma UK website to find out more about asthma triggers.

Find out more about living with asthma.





How to Cope with Teen Arguments, Aggression and Violence

Many parents find that when their child becomes a teenager, their behaviour becomes more challenging. But how do you cope if they become aggressive or even violent towards you?

If you’re experiencing aggression or violence from your teen, you’re not alone. A recent Parentline Plus survey found that 60% of calls (between October 2007 and June 2008) included verbal aggression from a teenager, and 30% involved physical aggression, much of it aimed at the parent themselves.

teen aggression and violenceIt is common to keep this kind of abuse behind closed doors and not confide in anyone. Many parents feel  that they have failed to control their child, or that they are responsible for the behaviour in some way – or they may not know where to turn.

However, any kind of aggression can be stressful, and can cause an atmosphere of tension and fear for the entire family, not to mention the possibility of physical harm if their teen becomes violent.

No parent should feel obliged to put up with an unruly teen, and as with any type of domestic abuse, help and support is available. You can find appropriate organisations and helpline numbers (*for the UK)  in “Help and Support” further below. There are also a number of techniques and tips that you might find helpful.

Defusing Heated Arguments

It’s useful to remember that your own behaviour can improve or worsen an aggressive situation, so it’s important to be a good role model for your teen.

Linda Blair, clinical psychologist working with families, advises: “Bear in mind that you are their principal role model. If you act aggressively but tell them not to, they won’t listen. It’s also helpful to remember that their anger is often based on fear – fear that they’re losing control.”

With that in mind, it is worth trying to maintain a calm and peaceful presence. You need to be strong without being threatening. Remember that your body language, as well as what you say and how you say it, should also reflect this.

Avoid staring them in the eye, and give them personal space. Allow them the opportunity to express their point of view, then respond in a reasoned way.

Breathing Exercises to Control Anger

If an argument becomes very heated, Linda suggests that you “stop for a moment”. Take a deep breath, hold it for a few seconds and then exhale. Repeat five times. This technique is very useful in intense situations.

If your teen is becoming aggressive during arguments, suggest this technique to them when they’re calm, so they too have a way of controlling their anger.

If an argument feels out of control, you can also try explaining to them that you are going to walk away, and that you’ll come back again in half an hour. Given the chance to reflect and calm down, you and your teen will both be more reasonable when you resume your discussion.

As with toddlers, if you give in to teenagers because their shouting and screaming intimidates or baffles you, you are in effect encouraging them to repeat the unreasonable behaviour as a way of getting what they want.

Counselling for Teenagers

Family Lives is a charity dedicated to helping families. They suggest that if very heated arguments happen frequently, it may be worth suggesting counselling to your teen. They’ll benefit from talking to someone new and unbiased, someone who isn’t in their family and who won’t judge them.

Read more about the benefits of talking treatments.

Remember they may not know how to handle their anger, and this can leave them frustrated and even frightened. Some guidance from an outsider can be very helpful.

Dealing with Violent Behaviour

Sometimes, teen aggression can turn into violence. If they lash out at you, or someone or something else, put safety first.

Let your teenager know that violence is unacceptable and you will walk away from them until they’ve calmed down. If leaving the room or house isn’t helping, call the police – after all, if you feel threatened or scared, then you have the right to protect yourself.

Family Lives offer this advice for coping with, and helping, a violent teen:

  • Give them space – once they have calmed down, you may want to talk to them about what has happened and suggest that they let you find them some help.
  • Be clear – teenagers need to know that you will stand by the boundaries you set. They need to know that any kind of violence is unacceptable.
  • Talk to their school and find out if their aggressive behaviour is happening there as well. Some schools offer counselling.
  • Arrange counselling – if your teen admits they have a problem and is willing to get help, book an appointment with a counsellor or psychologist as soon as possible. Speak to your GP (*pediatrician  or family doctor) or their school about what help is available.

Help and Support (*in the UK – see end for resources in other locations)

There are many organisations that offer emotional support and practical advice. Getting some support can help you and your child. At such an important development stage, it’s important that they learn how to communicate well and express anger in a healthy way.

  • You can call Family Lives’ Parentline on 0800 800 2222 any time, or email parentsupport@parentlineplus.org.uk for a personalised reply within three days. They also offer i-parent modules to help you learn more about communicating better with your teen.
  • You can call the Samaritans on 08457 909090 any time to talk about any type of distress and to get confidential support and advice.
  • Youth Access has details about youth organisations and services offering teens counselling, advice and support.
  • Young Minds is a charitable organisation supporting children and young people with mental health issues, and their parents. They provide information to help young people with anger issues. If you discuss your child’s behaviour with them and they are open to getting help, you might like to direct them to the information on the Young Minds website.

Concerned about Mental Health Issues?

If you’re worried that your teen has a mental health problem such as depression, talk to your GP (*pediatrician  or family doctor). In the UK, he or she can refer them to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, who in turn can refer all or some of you for Family Therapy. Or contact the Young Minds Parents’ Helpline on 0808 802 5544 for advice and support concerning mental health issues in young people.

If you are having trouble coping with your teenager, and you suspect you may have symptoms of depression or other mental health problems, discuss this with your GP (*pediatrician  or family doctor). He or she can then suggest suitable treatment. You may, for example, be referred for counselling, or directed to support groups or other services in your area.

Editor’s Note: *clarification provided for our US readers.

US Resources for Family and Teen Challenges:

Canadian Resources for Family and Teen Challenges:

Australian Resources for Teen Aggression:

 





Child Health & Safety News 4/24: Salon for Kids with Disabilities

twitter thumbIn this week’s Child Health News: Concussion expert on youth football study: Extent of brain injuries ‘took my breath away’

Welcome to Pediatric Safety’s weekly “Child Health & Safety News Roundup”- a recap of the past week’s child health and safety news headlines from around the world. Each day we use social media to communicate relevant and timely health and safety information to the parents, medical professionals and caregivers who follow us. Occasionally we miss something, but overall we think we’re doing a pretty good job of keeping you informed. But for friends and colleagues not on Twitter or FB (or who are but may have missed something), we offer you a recap of this past week’s top 15 events & stories.

 

PedSafe Child Health & Safety News Headline of the Week:
This Mom Is Raising Money To Open An Accessible Salon For Kids With Disabilities

The Fate of the Furious is Sensory Friendly Tomorrow Night at AMC

AMC Entertainment (AMC) has expanded their Sensory Friendly Films program in partnership with the Autism Society. This Tuesday evening, families affected by autism or other special needs have the opportunity to view a sensory friendly screening of The Fate of the Furious, a film that may appeal to older audiences on the autism spectrum. 

As always, the movie auditoriums will have their lights turned up and the sound turned down. Families will be able to bring in snacks to match their child’s dietary needs (i.e. gluten-free, casein-free, etc.), there are no advertisements or previews before the movie and it’s totally acceptable to get up and dance, walk, shout, talk to each other…and even sing – in other words, AMC’s “Silence is Golden®” policy will not be enforced during movie screenings unless the safety of the audience is questioned.

Does it make a difference? Absolutely! Imagine …no need to shhhhh your child. No angry stares from other movie goers. Many parents think twice before bringing a child to a movie theater. Add to that your child’s special needs and it can easily become cause for parental panic. But on this one day a month, for this one screening, everyone is there to relax and have a good time, everyone expects to be surrounded by kids – with and without special needs – and the movie theater policy becomes “Tolerance is Golden“.

AMC and the Autism Society will be showing The Fate of the Furious tomorrow, Tuesday, April 25th at 7pm (local time). Tickets are $4 to $6 depending on the location. To find a theatre near you, here is a list of AMC theatres nationwide participating in this fabulous program (note: to access full list, please scroll to the bottom of the page).

Coming in May:  Guardians of the Galaxy  Vol. 2 (Tues 5/9 and Sat 5/13) 

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Editor’s note: Although The Fate of the Furious has been chosen by AMC and the Autism Society for a Tuesday Sensory Friendly screening, we do want parents to know that it is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America for prolonged sequences of violence and destruction, suggestive content, and language. As always, please check the IMDB Parents Guide for a more detailed description of this film to determine if it is right for you and your family.

Teachers, Counselors, Coaches: How To Keep Your Kids Hydrated

Welcome to Fire Academy!  It is now 7am and the PT or Physical Training is about to begin.  The instructor for the class has many things on his/her mind but none more important than two things we preach most, Safety and Hydration.  Before any work is done it is the job of the instructor to make sure that the class has hydrated and is prepared for what is about to take place.  The importance of being safe no matter what you do can never be understated, hydration has a role in your safety as well.

While you may not be a Fire Academy Instructor, if you are caring for kids this summer you have the same job and should be thinking in the same way. How can I keep these children safe and have we hydrated for what we are about to do, what we are doing, and what we have done?

Teachers, it does not matter if you are at a large school or a small daycare. You have had these children placed in your care and it is your job to incorporate regular hydration into your schedule. Hydration should be done before going out to play or recess, the children should have access to water while playing by a water fountain or bottle of some kind, and the children should be given an opportunity to hydrate when outside time is through. This will ensure that the kids are properly hydrated at all times and ready for whatever activity you have planned next.

Parents, if you are in charge of mommy or daddy daycare then you too have the job of making sure your kids are properly hydrated.  It will be easy to let the kids play and drink whatever they can grab out of the fridge but having a supply of water on hand rather than super sugary drinks will pay dividends for your family by not only keeping them hydrated, but also not loading them up with a ton of sugar as well.  Parents please remember that kid’s bodies burn at a much higher rate than ours so even if the kids are not as active as they should be and they are lounging around the house, they still need to have plenty of water.

Counselors, if you are in charge of children then you need to be the one looking after the hydration of the group. I know that camps during the summer plan constant activities and go many places, so not only do you have the responsibility of watching the kids in multiple situations, but you also need to be monitoring their hydration as well.  Make sure everyone has water on or near them during activities. You know the kids have some sort of juice in the lunch they brought with them, so please do your part to make sure they are getting plenty of water before, during, and after activities.

Coaches, You, out of all the other categories, are the closest to Fire department instructor.  Your job is to make safety and hydration a priority. Have you thought about the safety involved in what your team is about to do? And has your team hydrated properly so that they can not only perform, but avoid risking dehydration? It is your added responsibility to monitor the hydration status of your team.  Some sports may have helmets and uniforms that make it difficult to see faces and other signs of dehydration, so the job of hydration becomes that much more important. Before, during, after, and even on the days off as well.

Parents, Teachers, and Counselors can get creative with younger children and have them color their own water bottles or something along those lines to make it fun while making sure they are drinking enough water.

The goal of hydration is to avoid Heat Related Emergencies.

There are varying levels of Heat Related Emergencies and signs that can let you know if a Heat Emergency is near or already happening.

When looking for heat related emergencies be on the lookout for the following:

  • Nausea / vomiting
  • Cramps
  • Dizziness
  • Skin is red in color but dry to the touch
  • Loss of consciousness / Fainting
  • Headaches
  • Altered mental status ( not acting how they normally do )
  • Low Energy / Weakness

While these are all signs of dehydration, please be aware that these are the signs seen most during activities such as playtime or sports. 

All of these require bringing the child out of the sun, into a cool place, and re-hydrating the child slowly. If the child faints, has any other medical issue, or has an altered mental status please take them to a cool place, hydrate them slowly and call 911. There are many causes for altered mental status and severe dehydration is one of them so having an emergency unit there will only help the situation.

  • To slowly re-hydrate a child let them drink slowly, a little bit at a time.  Having them drink too much, too fast may cause them to vomit.
  • To slowly cool a child down you can place a cool wet towel over the back of their neck and/or ice-packs in the under arm area, as well as between the thighs.  I know we have all seen the NFL players jump into huge garbage cans of ice, Please do not attempt this with any children as this is a last resort option and one that should be done only by trained professionals under medical supervision.

As, always I will tell you that when in doubt call 911.  These are children and while they may not be your children, you have a responsibility to them to keep them safe and act in their best interest.  Mom and Dad will thank you later.

Good luck, Have a great summer and be safe!

Tomorrow AMC Has A “Sensory Friendly” Smurfs: The Lost Village

Since 2007, AMC Entertainment (AMC) and the Autism Society have teamed up to bring families affected by autism and with other special needs ”Sensory Friendly Films program“ – a wonderful opportunity to enjoy their favorite “family-friendly” films in a safe and accepting environment.

The movie auditoriums will have their lights turned up and the sound turned down. Families will be able to bring in snacks to match their child’s dietary needs (i.e. gluten-free, casein-free, etc.), there are no advertisements or previews before the movie and it’s totally acceptable to get up and dance, walk, shout, talk to each other…and even sing – in other words, AMC’s “Silence is Golden®” policy will not be enforced during movie screenings unless the safety of the audience is questioned.

Does it make a difference? Absolutely! “It can be challenging enough to bring ANY child to a movie theater” says PedSafe Special Needs Parenting Expert Rosie Reeves. “For a parent with a special needs child attempting an outing like this may seem overwhelming. And yet getting out, being with the community and sharing in an experience with an audience can be invaluable for just such children”.

AMC and the Autism Society will be showing Smurfs: The Lost Village tomorrow, Saturday, April 22nd at 10am (local time). Tickets are $4 to $6 depending on the location. To find a theatre near you, here is a list of AMC theatres nationwide participating in this fabulous program (note: to access full list, please scroll to the bottom of the page).

Also in April and Coming in May: The Fate of the Furious (Tues, 4/25) and Guardians of the Galaxy  Vol. 2 (Tues 5/9 and Sat 5/13) 

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Editor’s note: Although Smurfs: The Lost Village has been chosen by AMC and the Autism Society for a Sensory Friendly screening, we do want parents to know that it is rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America for some mild action and rude humor. As always, please check the IMDB Parents Guide for a more detailed description of this film to determine if it is right for you and your family.