Is Your Child Healthy?
It can be difficult to tell. Your child may not be able to communicate exactly how he or she feels. Children have a higher risk of becoming sick for multiple reasons. Their immune systems are still growing. Many are in close-quarter facilities, such as schools or daycares, where germs can easily spread. However, being healthy isn't just about keeping the germs away, but also about children's growth and development.
Signs that your child has allergies may be: a runny, itchy nose; continuous sneezing or coughing; itchy, watery eyes; and skin rashes. The most common causes found in the home are dust mites and pets. You can't see dust mites, but they're in woven materials such as clothes, bedding, carpets, furniture, and even stuffed animals.
Cats and dogs are the most common indoor pet allergy, but newer pets such as reptiles, monkeys, birds, and rodents can also cause allergies in children. Special tests by your allergist can help determine your child's specific allergies. If your child is allergic to dust mites, cats, and/or dogs, there are steps you can take to help minimize their suffering.
In addition to the above steps, various medications may help your child's allergies. Ask your Publix® pharmacist what is available and the proper dose for your child.
- Use plastic covers for pillows, bedding, and other woven materials.
- Decrease items in the home that can harbor dust mites.
- Use a dehumidifier to help stop mite growth.
- Wash bedding sheets weekly with hot water.
- Remove your pet from the home; it's the number one way to control your child's pet allergies.
- Wash your pet at least weekly.
- Clean extensively and use a HEPA-filter vacuum.
Known as otitis media, an ear infection is caused when fluid sits in the middle ear and becomes infected. Ear infections are the most common reason for a pediatric visit, with 80-90% of children having an infection before 3 years of age. Your child may have an ear infection if he or she has the following symptoms:
If your child's fever is over 100.4°F or they have drainage from their ears, take them to the pediatrician as soon as possible. If the infection is caused by bacteria, the doctor might prescribe antibiotics.
- Excessive crying
- Difficulty sleeping
- Ear pain
- Pulling at ears
- Drainage from ears
- Hearing loss
You should not give your child aspirin, due to the risk of Reye's Syndrome. Tylenol® (acetaminophen), Advil®, or Motrin® (ibuprofen) may help reduce fever and pain. Speak with your pharmacist about the appropriate dosage for your child.
A fever is an increase in normal body temperature of 98.6°F. A rectal temperature should be taken for children under 3 months of age. After 3 months of age, an oral temperature is sufficient. Forehead strips are inaccurate and ear thermometers become less accurate in high fevers.
When you child has a fever, a major concern is dehydration. Cracked lips, no tears while crying, or no urine for eight or more hours may indicate your child is dehydrated. Again, Tylenol®, Advil®, or Motrin® can help to lower fever. You should call your doctor immediately if your child:
- Is less than 3 months with a fever greater than 100.4°F
- Has a stiff neck
- Is drooling more than usual
- Is constantly crying and acting sick
- Has difficulty breathing
- Is difficult to arouse
- Has a fever lasting more than 4 days
- Has had a seizure
Responsible for 22 million missed school days each year, the common cold is often caused by a virus and will resolve on its own in 7-10 days. Colds are spread by touching your eyes, nose, or mouth after coming into contact with someone with a cold. Fluid from your child's nose may be clear, yellow, or even green. Symptoms often include:
Hand washing with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rubs will help to prevent the cold. Disinfecting commonly touched surfaces such as doorknobs, remotes, and faucets will help stop the spread of the virus. Because a cold typically goes away on its own, the FDA does not recommend the use of cough and cold medicine for children under 6 years old. Talk with your pharmacist or physician about ways to make your child more comfortable for the duration of a cold.
- Body aches
- Decreased appetite
- Nasal congestion
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- Watery eyes
Ensuring your child receives the appropriate vaccines, at the right times, is very important for his or her health. Vaccines help teach our body how to fight infections before we are exposed to them. There are currently vaccines used to prevent 16 diseases that could otherwise be deadly. While you may hear rumors about the safety of vaccines, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that the United States currently has the safest, most effective vaccine supply in its history. The first recommended vaccine is for Hepatitis B and it is given at birth. Speak with your pediatrician or pharmacist about an appropriate vaccine schedule for your child. Vaccines are the easiest way to protect your child from the following diseases:
More information on vaccines can be found at www.cdc.gov/vaccines.
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Haemophilus Influenzae B
- Human Papillomavirus
- Varicella (chickenpox)
Diet and Exercise
It is especially important to provide your child with healthy food choices. Healthier food options help promote proper growth and development. In 2010, it was estimated that 18% of children from 6-19 years of age were obese. Promoting fruits and vegetables with meals is a great start to a healthier diet. While shopping, ask your child to help you select fruits and veggies they are interested in. And don't buy foods that you wouldn't want your child to eat.
In addition to a healthy diet, exercise is very important for a growing child. Exercise will help your child build stronger, bones, muscles, and joints. Exercise helps children sleep at night, maintain a healthy weight, and reduce stress. For children, exercise doesn't mean going to the gym, but simply playing outdoors. Tag, sports, dancing, or riding a bike all count as exercise. Try to make sure your child gets at least 60 minutes of activity each day. A good way to promote exercise is to limit the amount of time in front of the T.V., computer, or playing video games.
It's not only important to take your child to the pediatrician when they are sick, but as scheduled for vaccinations and well-care visits. Well-care visits are based on your child's age and are used to assess their growth and development. They're also your time, as a parent, to get all of your questions answered.
While we all want our children to be healthy, it's important to speak with your pharmacist to ensure you are not giving your child too much or too little medicine. Always notify your pediatrician of any medicines you are giving your child.
American Academy of Pediatrics. http://www.healthychildren.org/English/family-life/health-management/pages/Well-Child-Care-A-Check-Up-for-Success.aspx (Accessed Feb 17 2014)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Get Smart: Otitis Media (Fluid in the Middle Ear)." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/getsmart/antibiotic-use/URI/ear-infection.html (Accessed February 14, 2014)
Mayo Clinic. "Children's nutrition: 10 tips for picky eaters." http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/childrens-health/in-depth/childrens-health/art-20044948?pg=1&footprints=mine (Accessed February 14, 2014)
U.S. National Library of Medicine. "Common Cold ." PubMed Health. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001698/ (Accessed February 17, 2014)
http://www.uptodate.com/contents/allergen-avoidance-in-the-treatment-of-asthma-and-allergic-rhinitis (Accessed Feb 13 2014)
http://www.uptodate.com/contents/fever-in-infants-and-children-pathophysiology-and-management (Accessed Feb 14 2014)
http://www.uptodate.com/contents/the-common-cold-in-children-beyond-the-basics (Accessed Feb 17 2014)
The information presented here is not intended to diagnose or treat health problems or to constitute medical advice. If you have persistent health problems or further questions, please consult with your physician.
Stock up on these products at Publix.
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** Institute of Medicine, 2010
Children's Zyrtec, Children's Benadryl, BAND-AID, and NEOSPORIN
Relieves kids' allergy symptoms for a full 24 hours.
Temporarily relieves these symptoms linked to hay fever or other upper respiratory allergies:
- Runny nose
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Itching of the nose or throat
Give your children effective relief from allergies with a liquid allergy medicine that's cherry flavored and contains an antihistamine that helps them feel better when they need it.
Temporarily relieves these symptoms due to hay fever or other upper respiratory allergies:
- Runny nose
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Itching of the nose or throat
BAND-AID® Brand Adhesive Bandages and NEOSPORIN®
Minor cuts and scrapes can become contaminated with dirt and germs, which may cause infection and delay healing. BAND-AID® Brand recommends this easy-to-follow process to promote better healing.
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