Our Child’s Allergy Symptoms: The Day We Forgot To Avoid Pollen

Last updated on March 2nd, 2018 at 02:16 pm

Managing a child’s health condition can be complex and challenging, even something as common as seasonal allergies. I’ve written before about the challenges we’ve had with Elliott’s spring allergy agonies, and it’s still an issue. For him to get through spring relatively unscathed requires a daily routine of allergy pills and eye drops, a short “allergy-season” haircut, and a host of preventative actions to keep the pollen away.

We fully appreciate the need for a multi-pronged attack to avoid the sneezing jags, swollen eyes and scary nosebleeds, but a recent experience – when we FAILED to follow pollen avoidance recommendations – really brought home just how important the basics of prevention can be in managing our child’s (or anyone’s) health.

Our Prevention “Failure”

It was a busy weekday evening, with flowering bushes and trees in full bloom, when Elliott – and coach “Dad” – had a Rugby double header for fifth and sixth graders. Given the travel time and need for post-game food-on-the-run, husband and son got home late, still with some homework to complete. This led to the fateful decision to skip a post-game shower (I know…yuck!).

Interestingly, this decision went almost unnoticed – like we hadn’t even thought about the implications for his allergies. Maybe we’d become so used to his hay fever that we didn’t realize how much benefit came from the preventative measures we (and he) had employed over the years. In fact, the next morning – when he woke up with a sore throat and congestion – our first reaction was to think of a cold and start strategizing who would stay home with a sick kid, even though these symptoms were combined with swollen eyes and a puffy face.

Thankfully my husband thought to send Elliott off for a shower first, just to see if this had any effect. And amazingly, a totally rejuvenated 11-year old emerged from the shower – his face and eyes were less puffy and he no longer had the congestion or irritated throat. Elliott declared himself cured and proceeded to get ready for school. What a lesson in the power of the basics of prevention! And to be safe we threw his bedding straight into the washer to remove any residual pollen.

While we kicked ourselves for not getting him into the shower the night before, there was an upside to our “failure.” Now Elliott is highly motivated to shower right after sports practices – and even gets permission from teachers at school to go wash his hands and face after outdoor activities like gym class. That kind of tween motivation was worth a minor lapse in child health management!

Child Health & Safety News Roundup: 04-28-2014 to 05-04-2014

Last updated on May 14th, 2014 at 08:16 pm

PedSafe girls Square Button FinalWelcome 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 Twitter and Facebook to communicate relevant and timely health and safety information to the parents, medical professionals and other caregivers who follow us. Occasionally we may miss something, but we think overall we’re doing a pretty good job of keeping you informed. But for our friends and colleagues not on Twitter or FB (or who are but may have missed something), we offer you a recap of the past week’s top 15 events & stories.

PedSafe Child Health & Safety Headline of the Week:
Grooming: How Do Sexual Predators Get Into Our Lives? http://t.co/52ikJmKWaO

Treating ADD and ADHD: a Pediatrician’s Perspective – Part II

Last updated on March 12th, 2018 at 09:43 am

Visiting the doctorAfter the appropriate diagnosis is made and the correct testing and observation has been performed (see Diagnosing ADD or ADHD: a Pediatrician’s Perspective), a more secure diagnosis can now be entertained and we can move on to treatment.

At first, parents might very well take the stand of further observation as their children change classes and friends. This is not at all unreasonable, especially if medications are discussed, but medication for ADD or ADHD should be the last resort on the list of possible treatment options to help your child use all of his/her resources to reach the best goal. The first and the “easiest” intervention should be educational. Teachers should receive the results and suggestions deriving from those results that are directly related to the organizational aspects of the classroom. Many educational institutions are fully capable of employing the suggested techniques regarding the special nature of teaching children with such problems. Many schools are limited by space or funding for such programs but every effort should be made to involve the school first.

As I alluded to in part one of this series of posts, there are many conditions that mimic ADD or ADHD in presentation and actions. If any of these are found, the appropriate psychological help and input should be sought. Even in the absence of such specific emotional or psychological problems, I feel that counseling should be obtained for the entire family, as it can be a struggle for family members to deal with such a child. Counseling can help family members to handle certain situations in an appropriate and non- traumatic way to them and the children.

Finally, when all treatment options are brought to bear in an effort to ameliorate the issue and the problems still exist, medication should be discussed and considered. There are several ADD and ADHD medications available on the market right now. Generally they are broadly divided into stimulant and non-stimulant medications, and there are several medications within each division.

  1. Of the stimulant medications there are derivatives of methylphenidate and amphetamines: different forms of these medications allow for various routes of administration, side effects and overall effects on the child. Side effects of all of these medications are very similar but are not very common. The most common of these side effects can be decreased appetite and even slow weight gain as a result. Others include poor sleeping, increased activity and heart rate and a period of downtime as the medications wear off. All of these are usually short lived and can be altered by changing the type and/or dosage of these medicines.
  2. The second broad category of medicines are the non-stimulant variety. Although these are “non-stimulant” in chemical nature, the end effects of both types of medications can be the same, with the same side effects.

Having said all that, if the appropriate medications are used for the correct diagnosis in the proper dosage and form, the results can be astounding and lead to a much more stable and enjoyable family situation. There is much written about these medications (see recommendation below) and certainly no medicine should ever be used for an inappropriate reason.


Dr. Joe Recommends:

  • Running on Ritalin: A Physician Reflects on Children, Society, and Performance in a Pill by Lawrence Diller, M.D.

Editor’s Note:

  • A terrific example of using a psychological approach to help manage some of the symptoms of ADHD can be seen in a post called ADHD and “Menditation” by pediatric psychologist Dr. Lynne Kenney.


Baby Sleep Solutions for a Safe & Well Rested 1 Year Old

Last updated on June 7th, 2014 at 10:03 pm

Safe Sleep Solutions for BabyYour baby is growing rapidly and acquiring new skills during the last legs of his first year. All of this change and progress affects his sleep, of course. By now, he’s probably been weaned off his nighttime feeding routine. It’s likely, though, that he still wakes up every few hours during the night. Check out these baby sleep solutions to help ensure that your little one stays safe and gets the rest he needs.

Put in the hours

Your older baby requires less sleep than he did as a newborn – about 14 hours in a 24-hour period. However, he’ll still be taking his usual two naps per day, which are important for growth and development.

Keep it consistent

A regular bedtime routine is a big step toward no-fuss nights. However, you may notice that as your baby gets older, his interests change. If your routine isn’t working as well as it used to, consider switching one of the activities in your bedtime routine (say, read a book instead of singing lullabies). Just remember to keep the activities quiet and calming, and do them in the same order every evening so your baby knows to expect bedtime at the end of the nightly ritual.

Don’t linger in your baby’s room

At this age, one developmental milestone is that your baby starts understanding object permanence, or the fact that people and things still exist even when they can’t be seen. Knowing that you’re somewhere else in the house, your baby may make a fuss when you leave the room in an attempt to get you to come back. If you do hear your baby cry out, poke your head back into the room but avoid turning on the light, picking her up, or staying too long. This will help teach your baby to soothe herself back to sleep on her own.

Ensure your baby’s room is safe

At around 12 months, another developmental milestone your baby may reach is the ability to pull herself up to a standing position without help. Be sure that the crib’s mattress is placed on the lowest setting and that the crib is away from all windows, draperies, and cords. You’ll also want to remove any artwork or decorations that she may be able to reach from her crib.