Child Health & Safety News: Wk 49 “Wrong Food Allergy Tests Used”

Last updated on December 18th, 2016 at 09:59 am

twitter thumbIn this week’s Children’s Safety News: Reminder: Winter coats compromise child car seat safety! https://t.co/P3imlFmKlq

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 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:
Many doctors use wrong test to diagnose kids’ food allergies https://t.co/fcR2vHNPEI

Understanding Asthma and How to Overcome Its Challenges

Last updated on December 19th, 2016 at 02:29 pm

According to the charity Asthma UK, one in five households has someone living with asthma.

understanding asthmaNobody knows for sure what causes asthma, but we do know you’re more likely to develop it if you have a family history of asthma, eczema or other allergies. You’re twice as likely to develop asthma if your parents have it.

Modern lifestyles, such as housing and diet, also may have contributed to the rise in asthma over the last 30 years.

Every 10 seconds someone has a potentially life-threatening asthma attack, and the latest data shows that deaths from asthma are on the rise again.

What Causes Asthma?

There are many theories about what’s caused the increase in the number of people with asthma.

One of the most popular is the “hygiene hypothesis”. According to this theory, asthma is more common in western societies. Because western society is becoming cleaner, we have less exposure to allergens and pathogens.

When a person with asthma comes into contact with a “trigger”, their airways become irritated. The muscles tighten, the airways narrow, and the lining of the airways gets inflamed and swollen.

The main symptoms are chest “wheeze” or noisy breathing, chest tightness and breathlessness. You may also develop a cough, particularly at night, but this is more common in children.

Boys under the age of two are more susceptible to asthma because their airways are narrower when they’re younger. But they usually grow out of it, whereas girls are more likely to have asthma beyond puberty.

Obesity is also thought to make asthma more likely. Symptoms often get better when the person loses weight.

Find out more in Are we too clean for our own good?

Smoking and Asthma

Smoking also has a definite impact. Parents’ cigarette smoke will affect their child’s lung function development, and it irritates the airways. People with asthma are advised not to smoke.

Research shows that smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of your child developing asthma. Children whose parents smoke are also more likely to develop the condition.

Once you have asthma, high levels of pollution and smoking may make it worse. But there’s no proof that these triggers actually cause it.

Asthma Treatment

How to Help Yourself/Your Child

If certain things trigger your asthma, such as dust mites, minimise your exposure to them. Put mattress covers on your bed, use a damp cloth when you dust, don’t have too many soft furnishings in your house, and put down laminate or wooden flooring instead of carpets.

Asthma Triggers

Asthma triggers include pets, but studies show that getting rid of animals doesn’t improve asthma. In fact, the emotional upset of getting rid of your pet may make your asthma worse. Keep your exposure to pets to a minimum in areas such as the bedroom, and consider not getting any new pets.

Asthma Medicines

If you have symptoms more than three times a week and you need to use a reliever inhaler (usually blue), you should also use a preventer inhaler (usually brown).

But if you only have symptoms a few times a week when exercising, you can manage your symptoms safely with a reliever inhaler before you exercise.

Asthma is an inflammatory disease. This means preventative treatment is vital, and you must take it even when your asthma symptoms aren’t present. This will ensure your asthma is well controlled.

Review your treatment with your asthma nurse or GP (*family doctor) at least once a year as you might be able to reduce your dosage of medicine.

Find out more information about asthma treatments.

Taking Steroids When You Have Asthma

Because asthma is caused by an inflammation of the airways, anti-inflammatory drugs such as steroids are sometimes used to treat it.

You may be concerned about the potential side effects of steroids, such as weight gain, stunted growth (in children) and weakened bones.

The risk of side effects if you or your child are using a steroid inhaler is lower than with steroid tablets because less of the medicine gets into your system. With both steroid inhalers and tablets, the risk of side effects increases if the dose is high and if you use them for long periods.

Generally, if inhaled steroids are prescribed carefully and at the lowest dose needed, the risk of side effects is outweighed by the ability to reduce your or your child’s need for steroid tablets. Discuss the risks of steroid treatment with your doctor if you’re concerned.

If you have queries about any aspect of asthma, you can call the Asthma UK helpline, which is a free telephone helpline staffed by asthma nurse specialists on 0800 121 62 44, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

Find asthma services in your area. (*UK)

Asthma Resources in the US:

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





Child Health & Safety News Roundup: Wk 48 “Tinder for Teens”

Last updated on December 13th, 2016 at 10:32 pm

twitter thumbIn this week’s Children’s Safety News: Top transportation safety officials say it’s time to put seat belts on all school buses https://t.co/2dOSUXfzer

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 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:
Kids in the UK and Australia groomed by predators via new app “Yellow”: the ‘Tinder for teens’ https://t.co/zL8ZUcK5jl

Want to Deprogram A Materialistic Kid? Here are 8 Proven Ways

Last updated on May 28th, 2017 at 12:05 am

Am I Spoiling ThemOkay. You admit you have a materialistic little critter on your hands. Take comfort. There are proven ways to deprogram a materialistic kid. It will take time and commitment, but the benefits are profound for your child and your family. Kids who are less materialistic are more “we” oriented, than “me.” They are more concerned about others, and less worried about how they look and what they own. Their self-esteem is more authentic. But perhaps most important, research clearly shows that these children are more empathetic, caring, collaborate, compassionate and morally courageous.

Here are a few of the best parenting solutions from my latest book, UnSelfie to help you succeed:

1. Watch those TV commercials!

Research shows that the fewer commercials kids see, the less materialistic they become. When kids’ TV viewing was cut by one-third; they were 70 percent less likely than their peers to ask parents for a toy the next week.

Solution: Hit the mute button on your television remote and talk whenever those commercials are on. Turn your child toward more commercial-free television shows or even TVO his “have-to-see” favorite so he can cut out the commercials all together.

2. Spend more time than money on your kids

Materialistic kids go on far more shopping outings with their parents. So be honest: How many outings stress non-material values?

Make a conscious effort to spend time together doing things that don’t cost a dime: Go to the park and the museum, talk, take bike rides, build forts, bake cookies, watch the clouds, and play Monopoly. Show your kid the “other” side of life.

3. Rotate “stuff”

Instead of letting your child view his stockpile of matchbox cars, action figures, CDs or whatever, store some away in a closet for a week or month.

Your new rule is when stowed, items are returned, while new ones are stored in their place.

The simple solution of rotating stuff makes bedroom cleanups easier, and helps kids learn they don’t need so much to have a good time. Best yet, the returned items are more appreciated and treated like new.

My girlfriend was master at this. She figured out quite early that her kids didn’t need all those toys and so she would simply “store” items her kids didn’t play with as often in a closet. Then a month later she’d rotate the toys – taking out the stored items and putting away toys that weren’t so popular for a later day. Most amazing – her kids were elated to find the “new” toys!

Try it!

4. Curb those $$$$$ rewards

I’ll do it if you’ll buy me those jeans.” “How much will you give me?” “But I wanted the X-Box!”

If you’ve heard those words from your kid chances are he’s been reward with monetary prizes and material possessions for behaving, working or just plain breathing. And materialistic kids keep upping the ante, they want more. From this moment on your new response is to just expect your child to do the job or behave without compensation.

Instead put away your wallet, and give praise, hugs and pats on the back whenever they are earned.

5. Stop hoarding

Materialistic kids tend to be pack rats and the more stuff the better. So take a Reality Check. Might your child be the next poster kid for the reality show, “Hoarders?” If so, it’s time for serious action.

To break your child’s hoarding habit provide three boxes labeled with one of these words: “Trash” (for ripped, torn, or broken items; “Memories,” (items with special meaning); and “Charity” (gently used toys, accessories or clothing that other kids may appreciate). Then encourage him to go through his drawers, closets, and shelves.

Explain that he should keep what he really needs, uses and wears, and put the rest into the specified box. Make sure that he helps you take the “Charity” box to an organization such as Goodwill or Red Cross to help him realize that not everyone is so fortunate.

6. Teach “Needs” vs.Wants”

Materialistic kids often want things “N.O.W.” and don’t stop to consider if the item is even necessary.

Solution: Whenever your kid pleads for some nonessential thing he just “must have” ask: “Is it something you really need or just want?” Consistency is crucial…don’t back down!

Then outlaw nonessential, “have to have it” NOW spending.

7. Teach the habit of “giving” not “getting”

“Hands on” giving helps counter materialism more powerfully than almost anything else. So take your kids with you to bring dinner to a sick neighbor or to volunteer in a soup kitchen together.

Require your kids give part of a weekly allowance to needy kids. To stretch empathy, have your child shut his eyes and visualize the recipients’ reactions to the child’s gift.

Choose a cause as a family: adopting an orphan through Save the Children; befriending the lonely neighbor. Let your kid feel the power of giving.

8. Model restraint

Research shows that parents who are materialistic raise the most materialistic kids. You’re the best role model for helping your child cope with our complicated material world, so what kind of example are you setting for your kid?

Or just use the simplest parenting solution: the next time your kid says “I want….” say, “Honey, I want to boost your self-esteem and decrease your chance for depression, so NO!”

On this note, research is clear: money does not buy happiness. In fact, the wealthier are exactly less happier. Don’t think you’re doing your child any favor by buying to think it will create a more content critter. Instead, help your child learn constraint and to monitor “impulsiveness” by not spending ASAP. And focus your efforts on boosting your child’s “inside” qualities. Who she is on the inside, matters far more for self-esteem and happiness than the brand she wears.

For more solutions, signs of materialism, the latest research on how to curb it, or dozens more practical and proven parenting tips on 101 hot-button topics see The Big Book of Parenting Solutions: 101 Answers to Your Everyday Challenges and Wildest Worries

Meanwhile, what are you doing to help raise a less materialistic kid in a materialistic world? If you have ideas you’d like to pass on, please post your best tip! I’d love to hear from you.

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UnSelfie 140x210Teens today are 40 percent less empathetic than they were thirty years ago. Why is a lack of empathy—along with the self-absorption epidemic Dr. Michele Borba calls the Selfie Syndrome—so dangerous? First, it hurts kids’ academic performance and leads to bullying behaviors. Also, it correlates with more cheating and less resilience. And once children grow up, it hampers their ability to collaborate, innovate and problem-solve—all must-have skills for the global economy. The good news? Empathy is a trait that can be taught and nurtured. UnSelfie is a blueprint for parents and educators who want activate our children’s hearts and shift their focus from I, me, and mine… to we, us, and ours. It’s time to include “empathy” in our parenting and teaching! UnSelfie is AVAILABLE NOW at amazon.com.

Holiday Food Allergy Wish List: From Our Family To Yours

Last updated on October 26th, 2017 at 04:15 pm

pretzel-lightChances are most of us knows someone with a food allergy. With the holidays practically beating down our door and food arriving from every direction, what steps can we take to ensure that everyone is kept out of harm’s way? After all, the holidays are about giving, eating, sharing and loving. How can we accomplish all of this when some of us are still unsure of the safety rules? I feel that I am safe to speak on behalf of most families who have food allergies; we all have unspoken wish lists that fill our hearts with joy whenever anyone abides by them.

  • Include Us We understand that this can be tricky and even cause extra work for many of you. We know that your lives are just as busy as our own. We also know that many people truly want to include people with food allergies in their plans but they just don’t know how. Begin by including us in your plans rather than making us feel as if we are invading your plans. We will help you every step of the way because the mere fact that you care for us enough to offer means so very much to all of us.
  • Listen to Us This might be the most difficult part for you; your mind is already spinning in multiple directions. If you want to include us, listening is an absolute necessary part of planning for safety. If you ask a question about menus or foods or products, realize that whatever we tell you is for a precise reason. Write it down, ask us multiple times if you have too but please be sure and listen to what we say.
  • Consider Our Journey Remember that none of us with food allergies asked to have a food allergy. No matter what you think we say, do or request is some secret way to cause aggravation that is not our purpose at all. Our food requests are not about you- they are all about us. Is this a bit selfish- yes but it can mean life or death so it must be this way.
  • Be Honest With Us If you feel unsure at any time with what we have told you to stay safe, tell us. Many of us are still trying to figure out all of the rules about our allergies so we absolutely don’t expect you to understand them either. Tell us you want us there but that you don’t feel that you can offer us safe foods. Honesty is like a safety hug.
  • Discuss the Menu with Us Go over the menu and ask us if there is anything that we are able to eat. We do ask that you be patient with us when we ask what may seem like thousands of questions. This is how our lives are and we are just used to investigating every single detail about our foods. You may learn things that you didn’t even know about your foods from us.
  • BYOF It’s perfectly fine to ask us to bring our own food! In fact, many of us travel with foods most of the time so that we are safe and there is no added pressure to us or to our hosts. We love our food just as much as you do but in the end, being safe and spending quality time with our friends and family is what counts the most.

There are just a few more wishes for the people who visit us in our homes as well. You might even say it is just part of our routine rather than wishes. Remember not to be offended or think that we are exaggerating- we will welcome you with open arms but it’s our house and our rules. These were put into place because this is what our home needs to avoid an allergic reaction. Remember – it’s my child’s life – I can’t care if people get offended – he could die, period. It’s not my job to make everyone else feel comfortable – only to keep my son safe and alive. That trumps everything! Trust me when I say that nothing turns a holiday into a bad memory faster than watching an allergic reaction. So all that said, I think you’ll understand a little more clearly why we insist on the following:

Wash your hands Do not stop to shake hands, do not touch my child’s face, do not touch any of our foods until you have washed your hands please. We are not afraid of germs- we are afraid of what allergic ingredients are hiding on your hands. That candy bar that you moved around inside of your purse to get to your lipstick? That could be fatal to us.

Please Don’t Debate Washing your hands or following our safety rules is not up for discussion. Our family has special needs and you must follow our request. You do not know all of the reasons and you don’t need too. We don’t need to know why you don’t agree with some of them. Please respect us enough to keep us safe- we will do the same for you.

Ask Before You Bring Food Don’t take this the wrong way- again, we love our foods. We appreciate that you want to share with us and feed us. But chances are, we won’t be able to eat what you have spent your time and effort to make for us. If you are thinking of bringing food, ask us what products we like and make us a gift bag of those items (keep them in the package- even preparing allergy-friendly items has its own set of safety rules).

Every family has a holiday routine and we would love to learn yours. This year, spending time with each other can be the best gift we are given. Take pictures, swap recipe ideas and cook with each to learn new methods of cooking and how to use new ingredients. If you are wondering what you should bring to the table, kindness is always an absolute winner.