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Coping with Chickenpox

It’s the summertime and most children spend all afternoon playing outside with their friends. But if in the last few days your kid begins to feel weak with colds and a slight fever you might want to check for the presence of rashes in the skin that can tell you that your child had just contracted chickenpox.

Chickenpox is a viral disease caused by varicella zoster. It can cause reddish spots that form like blisters throughout the body. The spots can range from the size of a mongo bean to as big as a dime and it is often very itchy. Most kids get chickenpox in the hot season as they play outside with other kids who may have had recent chickenpox.

Chickenpox also known as varicella is a common childhood disease and almost all children will have it before their adolescent years. Chickenpox is contagious just like any other viral disease. It can spread through sneezing, coughing, sharing toys and food with someone who has the disease. Most children who have chickenpox do not realize that they have it because the appearance of the rashes does not come until 2 to 3 days of the active infection. Children are highly contagious 2 to 3 days before the blisters appear and after the blistered have fully healed and crusted off.

What are the symptoms of chickenpox?

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue and body weakness
  • Appearance of rash 2 to 3 days after other symptoms are felt

Chickenpox is diagnosed by a doctor upon seeing the symptoms on a child. Medications are usually not necessary as the immune system will fight off the virus over time. Treatment will just focus on isolating the child to prevent disease transfer to other individuals in the household. Interventions to prevent the child from scratching will also need to be implemented to avoid infection. Here are some tips and advices you can do when your child has chickenpox.

  • Keep children cool because sweating makes the blisters more itchy
  • Cut your child’s fingernails to avoid scratching and skin tearing that can lead to re-infection
  • Oatmeal baths can help sooth itchy skin
  • Calamine lotion can also alleviate itching
  • Do not use aspirin for fever as most children develop Reye’s syndrome, a very serious condition.

In the old days many people die of chickenpox. It’s good thing that now there is a vaccine available given at the age of 1. It may not assure you of not getting infected with the disease in later life but the symptoms and complications will be much milder compared to those who have not received the vaccination.

Posted in Chickenpox, Diet and Nutrition, Growing Pains, Infections0 Comments

Dealing with Ear Aches in Children

The ear is an important organ we use everyday for hearing. Imagine how difficult it would be to converse if lose our sense of hearing. The ear collects sound waves and transmits them to the brain. Sound is collected from the outer ear and travels to the middle ear through the ear canal and then it hits the eardrum and the vibration made causes the tiny bones inside the inner ear to move and this movement sends the signals to the brain to be interpreted as sounds.

Ear aches are caused by bacteria or a virus that infects the lining of the Eustachian tube, this tube connects the middle ear through the back end of the nose. The purpose of the Eustachian tube is to drain fluid out of the middle ear; if the fluid is not drained properly bacteria can proliferate and cause pressure inside the ear which causes the pain that most children feel. The Eustachian tube can be blocked by allergens, colds, infections and other blockages like the adenoid glands close to the ear when they become inflamed. Children are more common to ear infections because their Eustachian tubes are shorter and narrower compared to adults and this anatomical difference makes them prone towards various infections.

Most children complain of pain inside the ear and sometime a ringing sound. Ear infections usually take around 1 to 2 weeks to heal while in some cases it can become a chronic condition. For toddlers and infants who cannot communicate well enough you may only associate symptoms if they cry a lot, pulls their ears or tugs the ear frequently. Ear pain is quite uncomfortable and will leave your child restless and agitated.

Treatment of ear infections depends if the infection is caused by bacteria or viruses. Doctor may prescribe antibiotics in the presence of a bacterial infection. Make sure to follow the dosage and complete the duration of the antibiotic therapy to avoid recurrent infections. Pain relievers may help ease the pain and reduce fever if there is any. Avoid giving your children Aspirins as this is known to cause Reye’s syndrome, a condition that damages the brain and liver and cause death in severe cases. Some doctors can prescribe ear drops to promote comfort and alleviate the pain.

To avoid ear aches in children we must take steps in preventing its cause – ear infections. If your child is fond of swimming you can advise him to use ear plugs to avoid fluid in the middle ear that easily attracts bacteria and viruses. Keep your child’s immune system healthy and strong by giving him nutritious foods to eat with lots of vitamins and minerals. Avoid frequent use of cotton swabs in the ear as this may cause more damage to the eardrums and can introduce bacteria into the inner ear. Avoid second hand smoke as this is one of the risk factors for ear infections along with frequent episodes of colds and flu.

Posted in Allergies, Child Safety, Growing Pains1 Comment

What To Do With Children Prone To Pinworms

What are pinworms?

Children are more prone to pinworms because they don’t often wash their hands and most toddlers still practice thumb sucking which further spread the disease. A pinworm or also known as Enterobius vermicularis, is a parasite that lives in human’s intestines. It grows up to 3mm to 10mm long from sucking the nutrients absorbed in the intestines and can cause intense itching in the anal area especially at night. It itches intensely because the female pinworms get out of the rectum to deposit their eggs.

How can my child get pinworms?

When a child touches soil where the eggs of the parasite can be found it gets dislodged in their fingernails and when kinds puts their hands in their mouths the eggs are transferred inside the body where they grow to be adult parasites which eventually lay eggs and can accumulate into the small intestines. Spread from one person to another is easily done because when an infected person gets in contact with things that are commonly shared among children like toys, beddings and clothes. Although children are more prone pinworms can also affect adults. Pinworm infection rapidly spreads among persons who live in a crowded place such as dormitories, public hospitals, mental institutions and prisons. It can also be ingested through poor food sanitation.

How can you tell if a child has pinworms?

The most common sign of pinworm infection is itching in the anal region which becomes intense at night. This occurrence leaves a child sleepless at most nights and you can see them scratching their butts as the female pinworm deposits her eggs in the peri-anal tissue. For some female patient the itching progresses in the vagina as spread of the worms occurs although this is very rare. In severe infections, some children may show signs of irritability, restlessness and loss of appetite. A definitive diagnosis of pinworm can be obtained by looking for pinworm on the anus at night time or on bed sheets of the person affected. The pinworms are visible to the naked eye. Another method use by health practitioners is to pat the anal region with the adhesive side of a sticky tape in the morning to look for eggs or worms on the tape to be further examined under a microscope. Pinworms can also be seen in a child’s stool.

How to treat pinworms and prevent it from recurring?

The medication of choice for pinworms is a one time dose of mebendazole to kill the adult pinworms. This dose is to be repeated after two weeks to ensure that the newly hatched eggs are also eradicated. It is often advised that everyone in the household needs to be treated to prevent the spread of infection once and for all. Apart from medication all household items such as beddings, toys and clothes needs to be washed thoroughly with detergent and warm water. Parents should teach their children to frequently wash their hands especially before eating and to avoid putting their hands in their mouths.

Posted in Child Safety, Diet and Nutrition, Growing Pains, Infections0 Comments

Parenting Tips: Providing Choices

When it comes to disciplining a child the commanding and dictating way isn’t always the trick to make your child obey you. In most cases commanding or always telling them what not to do without properly explaining why leads to children who become rebellious and angry because they feel they are always dismissed and misunderstood. Children who are often told what to do will become irresponsible adults unable to decide what path to take in life in which they end up lagging behind or being stagnant.

When raising a child it is important to make them feel that what they have to say matters to be able to foster the value accountability or owning one’s actions. Parents should practice giving their children choices and guide them how to make wise and informed decisions. When parents provide choices this teaches the child to become responsible and independent and it will also develop their skill in problem solving. It makes them feel in control which boosts their self esteem even more.

If you think about it, providing your children with choices will make it easier for you because you can screen the choices you’ll present to them which are accepted by your own terms. By giving them the power to choose as opposed to commanding them what they ought to do they will feel empowered and will most likely follow the choice they made. It is a win-win agreement for both parties. Empowering children to make their own choices will give them a feel of being a grown up and this is a good opportunity to teach them the value of being responsible for their own decisions and the consequences that comes along with it. Parents need to communicate the choices well enough for children to understand the consequences of each choice. Do not be frustrated if your child made a wrong choice, sometimes you need to let them experience making bad decision because in this they get to learn how to do better next time. Avoid showing feelings of disapproval or anger towards their decision instead show empathy and support that whatever decision they make you will be there to support and guide them all the way.

This method of providing choices for children is seen by experts as an effective way of disciplining your child and teaching them to be mindful of their actions and take accountability to their decisions. Be cautious in giving your child too much freedom to choice instead make the choices favorable in your own terms and make sure that they are acceptable in both ways so that whichever choice the child makes it will still have a similar goal. To give you a better picture of how providing choices can discipline your child, see the following examples.

“Would you rather finish your homework today or finish them alone on the weekend when the family is out enjoying the theme park?”

“Would you rather clean up your art materials now or would you choose to have them locked in the cabinet for 1 week?”

Posted in Adolescence, Communication, Growing Pains0 Comments

What To Do When Your Child Suffers From Fifth Disease

Fifth disease is a condition that commonly affects younger children of ages 5 to 15. It is characterized by a distinctive rash of the cheeks that causes a “slapped cheek” appearance. The rash can also be seen in the child’s extremities, trunk and back.

Fifth disease is a viral disease which can resolve on its own in a short time and without further complications. Some parents are initially alarmed because of the rash that appears but it is generally a non-serious condition. Fifth disease is also known as erythema infectiosum and is caused by the parvovirus B19. This parvovirus is different from the virus found in animals and cannot be passed on from humans to animals and the other way around.

What are the signs and symptoms of Fifth disease?

Children with Fifth disease experiences mild fever, headache and flu-like symptoms because of the viral nature of the disease. After above symptoms pass the appearance of a red rash occurs days later. The red rash usually appears on the face and eventually spreads to other parts of the body. The soles of the feet and palms are not affected. Some kids experience itching while most kids affected does not report any signs of being sick at all. The rashes may take 2 to 3 weeks to clear and usually does not leave any permanent marks or scars. Rarely in some kids can symptoms of Fifth disease include swollen glands, sore throat and bruises. For older kids symptoms may include joint pains on the knees, hands and wrists.

Children affected with fifth disease are highly contagious before the rashes appear. It can spread through droplet transmission by coughing, sneezing and close contact with the person affected. When a child has already experienced fifth disease chances of re-infection is minimal.

The parvovirus B19 can cause anemia in fetuses in the womb when a pregnant woman is infected. If infected in the first trimester of pregnancy the risk of developing severe anemia in the baby is high and can cause fetal death.

How can we prevent fifth disease?

There is no available vaccine for the parvovirus causing fifth disease. Isolation of affected individuals may prove to be inefficient as the disease is only diagnosed upon the appearance of the rash wherein the patient is no longer contagious at that time. The patient is only highly contagious at the time period before the rash usually appears. Frequent hand washing is the best way to prevent spread of the disease from one person to another. And since it is a viral infection treatment with antibiotics is not advised and the only way to manage the disease if rest. Treatment is geared towards having a good rest, avoiding scratching the rashes and relieving discomfort from fever and joint pains.

Children often recover from fifth disease easily and they usually feel well even with the appearance of rashes. But for children with pre-existing conditions that makes their immune system weak the effects can be worse and they can appear really sick when infected with the parvovirus B19. For children with anemia the symptoms may be exacerbated as the parvovirus disrupts the production of red blood cells and can further worsen the effects of anemia.

Posted in Growing Pains, Infections, Medical Care0 Comments

The Deal about Broken Bones

 Children especially those within the toddler years are very active and playful. They run around the lot with other kids and sometime get rough with playing with their playmates. They hop on bicycles, skates and skateboards without fear of falling or sliding off. They get up on monkey bars and attempts to perform tricks to impress their peers not knowing the danger they are putting themselves into.

 Kids aged 5 to 8 years old are very prone to falls and slips which cause broken bones. Like a stick or a twig that can easily snap a kids bone is prone to breakage as it has not developed fully unlike adult bone. And with kids’ extreme energy they can break a fall with their forearm which commonly results to a fracture injury.

 A fracture is a break in the bone that can range from a thin line to a complete breakage splitting the bone into two. Clinically fractures are classified into the following.

  1.  Complete fracture – when a bone is split in to two broken pieces.
  2. Greenstick fracture – the bone breaks only on one side. It does not break all the way through.
  3. Single fracture – characterizes a fracture in just one place.
  4. Comminuted fracture – a bone breaks into more than two pieces or is crushed.
  5. Bowing fracture – usually happens in kids wherein the bone bends and does not show signs of breakage.
  6. Open fracture – a traumatic sight wherein the bone breaks and sticks out through the skin.

 The pain from a fracture varies on the type of fracture. An open fracture is usually the painful ones and is very traumatic to look at because of the open wound with flesh showing and blood all over the place. Some fractures are so small that sometimes kids don’t feel them at all.

 What do we do when our child breaks a bone? First and foremost you need to stay calm because panicking will not do you and your child any good. Try to keep your child in a comfortable position while calling for help or transporting him to the hospital. Keep the area of injury immobilized, preferably splinted by a cardboard with a flat surface. If there is open fracture, try not to contaminate the area and keep it from being exposed by putting a light cloth over it. If the person fell and the injury may involve the neck area it is best to avoid movement at all cost. Call the paramedics immediately for help.

 Upon reaching the hospital, the doctor will order x-rays to evaluate the fracture and assess on the best treatment option possible. For closed fractures that are not severe the doctor may re align the bones manually. This can be very painful and uncomfortable but the doctor will prescribe analgesics to control the pain then immobilize the affected area in a cast to promote healing. In cases of open extensive fractures, an operation may be necessary. The doctor may put metal pins and braces to realign the bones. This procedure will be done under anaesthesia.

 As parent we need to worry as kids’ bones heals fast. We should assist them in their recovery period and help them do exercises to promote healing and strengthening of the healed fractures. Stay away for a while from monkey bars and other rigorous activities that can further lead to injuries such as contact sports. It is also a good idea to promote safety to your kids by instructing them to wear protective gear if they will engage in dangerous sports and activities. Wear helmets and pads to cushion their fall and protect them when accidents happen.

Posted in Child Safety, Growing Pains, Hyperactivity, Medical CareComments Off

My Kid is Gay: How to Deal with a LGBT Child

What we see and hear in our everyday lives has made it so possible for us to embrace gay-hood. After all, gay celebrities get married every day, and more and more TV and movie personalities are coming out of the closet. In fact, America’s pop culture may well be lesbian-, gay-, bisexual- or transgender- dominant. However, can parents be this casual when their child discovers and announces that he or she is gay?

Adolescence, a period of self-assertion, discovery, change and curiosity, is also the time when a person’s sexual orientation becomes apparent. This is because during this stage, a person develops physical and emotional attraction, and begins to identify gender roles. Simply put, adolescence is the time a person’s gender identity (how one thinks of him or herself as male or female) is confirmed. For most folks, their anatomy is consistent with their gender identity, but LGBTs have gender identities that are the opposite of their physical appearances.

It is important to consider that when adolescents discover that they may be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, they do not come out and readily reveal it to the world. They struggle with feelings of confusion and guilt, especially if their environment shuns the “third” and “fourth” genders. Adolescents who act and feel differently from their peers may end up becoming laughing stocks and targets of bullying in school and in the society.

LGBT youths are among the most likely to engage in substance abuse, suicide attempts and fall prey to other mental health conditions, especially if their family expresses outright rejection of their orientation. The risks become apparent not because they are gay, but because the world seems to be too hostile and rejecting, making them feel isolated.

Schools are now creating more active programs to curb bullying against the LGBT youth. There are even clubs that support LGBT students emotionally and socially. However, the first signs of acceptance must not be from these social support systems. Confidence and support for LGBT youth must begin at home, and in the family. In fact, studies have shown that supportive parents or even a neutral and non-judgmental reaction from family could dramatically lessen the self-destructive tendencies of a LGBT youth.

The right mindset

You may be the conservative kind, but there is no better person for your child to come to than you. If your youth begins a discussion with you about his or her sexual orientation, be as understanding as you can and resist the urge to be condescending, judgmental or assumptive. Refrain from theories or blaming others for why your child has turned out this way. The important thing is that when your child finally admits it, you are there to support, not to condemn. Foster a loving and accepting environment, as this can go a long way.

Finding more support

You may well be a hundred percent supportive of your child’s orientation, but it does not stop there. You need to make sure your youth isn’t getting bullied or teased in school, as severe rejection from his or her peers can lead to poor grades or isolation. Help your child find support groups for LGBT, and make sure your child’s environment is not stressful nor is it harassing.  Do a little research online to find family support groups for LGBT youths.

Considering counselling

Because your child’s sexuality is different from what you had expected, you may find it difficult to adjust. Just the same, your child may be experiencing mental anguish in the form of confusion and guilt, both of which could deprive him or her from living a full life. A therapist or a psychologist, especially one who specializes in dealing with LGBTs, can help you understand your reactions and deal with them more positively, to enable you to provide more guidance and support for your youth.

Posted in Child Psychology, Growing Pains0 Comments

Growing Pains and How to Resolve Them

Growing pains is a non-life threatening condition that presently affects a significant number of children. Statistically, the characteristically throbbing pain experienced in the lower extremities happens to toddlers and schoolchildren; more than a quarter of the population undergo such problem and more significantly, growing pains significantly occur during the night.

Unfortunately, there is no concrete evidence that supports the cause of growing pains although most experts attribute the experience of discomfort and pain to activities such as jumping, running and climbing. As most mothers have experienced, some children shout out for their lives as if the pain felt is literally killing them; whereas, others find the intensity at a milder form. Usually, children have difficulty describing the pain but most of the time, the calves, thighs and the area behind the knees are the ones pointed as the affected regions. Worse case scenarios present reddened and tender joints.

When you seek for consultation, it will be more apparent for a keen parent that the more that your child is cuddled and massaged, the more better response is solicited. Hence, a clear deviation from the usual injuries are observed where movement should be limited to avoid experiencing pain. The pediatrician will opt to rule out other underlying medical conditions before finally diagnosing growing pains; a comprehensive history taking and physical examination will be done to exclusively diagnose the condition.

As a parent, you can always help by making sure that the diet of your child is rich in calcium. Apart from milk, you can always choose to take advantage of introducing green leafy vegetables as well as other dairy products to your child. Nuts, tofu, sardines and salmon are also great sources of calcium. The principle behind such action is to promote the growth and development of bones which are linked to the occurrence of growing pains.

Again, touch therapy works wonders. So, massage the area affected and promote the circulation of blood by applying a warm compress in the area. Your doctor may also give you specific medications like Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen to be given as pain relievers. Additionally, he will caution you against using Aspirin.

Some mothers also recommend the use of homeopathy particularly the drug called Calcarea phosphoricum. The product is available in homeopathic stores. In this case, you might want to consult your doctor regarding such procedure.

Finally, be very wary of accompanying symptoms that affect your children in cases where you suspect growing pains as these may or may not be the specific symptoms normally seen. Check for fever, limping or any persistent pain. Unusual rashes should also warrant more investigation as well as fatigue, loss of appetite and misbehavior. These signs and symptoms have to be further checked by a doctor as it may signal a more serious ailment. Do not make the mistake of dismissing such display of illness as a way of acting out. Take that opportune time to visit the doctor for an assessment and evaluation to be done in a timely manner.

Posted in Growing Pains0 Comments