Posts for: June, 2012
A common condition seen in kids and teens, asthma is a lung condition that causes trouble breathing and shortness of breath. During an attack, the bronchial airways become inflamed and the muscles surrounding them constrict, making breathing difficult. Repeated attacks may cause permanent lung damage and in severe cases can be life-threatening.According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, more than 23 million Americans have the condition and more than one-quarter of them are children under the age of 18.
There are a variety of triggers that can lead to an asthma flare-up or make asthma worse. These vary for every person, but common triggers include:
- Allergens, such as animal dander, pollens, mold and house dust mites
- Environmental irritants, such as cigarettes, dry air, fragrances and air pollution
- Infections, such as pneumonia, sinus infection and viral infections of the nose and throat
Does my child have asthma?
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, asthma is the most common chronic medical problem in children. Asthma symptoms will vary in frequency and severity, and most children with asthma develop their first symptoms before the age of five. Common signs include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Tightness in chest
If you think your child may have asthma, contact your Rolling Hills Estates pediatrician. Palos Verdes Medical Group can help you identify the early signs of childhood asthma and provide support for prevention and treatment.
A child may be at a greater risk for having asthma if there is a family history of asthma or if the child has eczema or frequent bouts of chronic lower respiratory problems occurring before the first birthday. Keeping your kids away from cigarette smoke in the home or car, removing pets from the house, paying attention to pollen and air quality forecasts and monitoring exercise are all ways to reduce asthma problems.
The good news is that the majority of asthma cases are only mild, and when the condition is properly managed with medications and extra caution, severe asthma flare-ups can be prevented. Work with your child’s Rolling Hills Estates pediatrician to learn more about the condition and ensure your child leads a healthy, normal, active life.
Earlier this week, the Office of the Inspector General at the Department of Health and Human Services published a report on the improper storage of pediatric vaccines. They found that 76% of the 45 providers the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) visited had exposed their vaccines to inappropriate temperatures for at least 5 cumulative hours. Improper vaccine storage can reduce the potency and efficacy of the vaccine, reports the investigators, therefore increasing the likelihood that children are not receiving the maximum protection against preventable diseases. The report further reveals:
Thirteen providers stored expired vaccines together with nonexpired vaccines, increasing the risk of mistakenly administering the expired vaccine. Finally, the selected providers generally did not meet vaccine management requirements or maintain required documentation.
The findings were covered extensively in the media on programs such as ABC’s Good Morning America and Fox News. It is important to remember that the 45 providers visited were all participating in the CDC’s Vaccines for Children (VFC) program. VFC is a government program that provides free vaccines to children who are Medicaid-eligible, uninsured, underinsured or American Indian or Alaska Native. VFC providers do not accurately depict a proper sample size of practicing pediatricians in the United States. If the CDC were to take a random sample of pediatricians throughout the United States and report on the vaccine storage, the findings would be vastly different.
This report demonstrates a hole in the government program, possibly from a lack of education on proper vaccine management and does not accurately represent practices such as Palos Verdes Medical Group.
The physicians at Palos Verdes Medical Group are involved in the studies that provide the information on how temperature affects the stability of vaccines and are therefore highly knowledgeable on the topic and aware of the situation. Palos Verdes Medical Group takes every precaution to ensure our vaccines are stored at the proper temperature. Vaccine expiration dates are also recorded in our patients’ charts when administered. This ensures that expired vaccines are properly discarded.
The health and safety of your children is our number one priority at PVMG. We encourage parents to ask questions. Please know that we would also be happy to show you how we properly manage our vaccines at any time!
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vaccine Storage and Handling Guide. United States Department of Health & Human Services, Dec. 2011. Web. 08 June 2012. <http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/recs/storage/default.htm>.
Office of Inspector General. Vaccines for Children Program: Vulnerabilities in Vaccine Management. Rep. no. OEI-04-10-00430. United States Department of Health and Human Services, June 2012. Web. 8 June 2012. <http://oig.hhs.gov/oei/reports/oei-04-10-00430.asp>.
Additional Resources & Articles:
American Academy of Pediatrics. American Academy of Pediatrics Calls for Resources for Pediatricians Administering Childhood Vaccines.
Med Page Today. Report Cites Problems in CDC Vaccine Program.
Summertime marks a season of outdoor fun and celebrations at weddings, graduation ceremonies, festivals and picnics. These events can wreak havoc for millions of people with allergies and asthma. Potential pitfalls include stinging insects, freshly mowed grass and allergen-concealing foods, which can turn a joyous occasion into sneezing, wheezing, and itchy misery or even more severe reactions.
One of the simplest ways to avoid summer allergens and asthma triggers is to stay inside with the windows closed, but who wants to be cooped up all summer? By planning ahead, people with allergies can still enjoy outdoor events.
Dr. Lawrence Sher suggests following a few simple tips to make summer soirees more enjoyable:
- Go undercover. It’s not just a fashion statement. Wear big sunglasses – especially those that wrap around – to help prevent pollen from getting in your eyes.
- Don’t bee a target. If you’re allergic to bees or other stinging insects, avoidance is your best bet. Keep your distance from uncovered food, be cautious of open soft drink cans and resist wearing bright clothing or perfume, all of which attract bees. If someone near you gets stung, move away – some bees give off a chemical after they sting that can attract other stinging insects.
- Add pre-treating to your pre-party routine. You’ll be more comfortable enjoying an outdoor event if you plan ahead and take medication before allergy exposure. If you wait until symptoms kick in the medication won't be nearly as effective.
- Look before you leap into the munchies. Avoid foods in which nuts, dairy and other common allergens can be lurking, such as mixed salads, barbecue sauces and salad dressings. If grilling is involved, have your portion cooked on aluminum foil to avoid cross-contamination with other foods.
- Stick to the middle. Poison ivy can lurk in bushes and other foliage, so stay in open areas where you’re less likely to brush up against it.
If you aren’t sure what’s causing your sneezing or wheezing, an allergist may recommend allergy testing to determine the source of your suffering and help you find relief. For more information about allergies and asthma, visit www.AllergyAndAsthmaRelief.org or call Palos Verdes Medical Group to make an appointment with an allergist.
As children grow into adolescents, their bodies require more nutrients to grow healthy and strong. But as many parents know, for those teens with busy school schedules, sports practices and jobs, managing a healthy, well-balanced meal plan isn’t always at the top of their priority list. In many cases, a teen’s most important meals are eaten in the car or on the bus as they shuffle from one activity to the next.
Parents can play a very important role in influencing their teen to stay active while maintaining a healthy diet. These tips can help:
- Encourage your teen to not skip meals, especially breakfast. A well-balanced breakfast is essential to keeping your son or daughter nourished throughout the day.
- Educate your teen about healthy snack choices. Stock your refrigerator and cabinets with healthy foods and snacks, such as nuts, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat milk and lean meats and poultry. Avoid buying sodas and other sugary drinks and foods that are low in nutritional value.
- Involve your teen in the selection and preparation of foods to teach them to make healthy choices.
- Teach your teen how to make healthy selections when eating out at restaurants.
How many servings per day your teenager requires will depend on how many calories his or her body needs. This is based on age, sex, size and activity level. Visit the AAP’s table of recommended servings per day for teens to learn more. You can also discuss your teen’s nutritional habits and recommended daily intake with Palos Verdes Medical Group.
Although balancing school, sports and social activities may present challenges to eating healthy, it is possible to guide your teen on a path of nutritional food choices. Educate them now and promote healthy eating at home to help your teen develop a good understanding of proper nutrition into adulthood. The whole family can benefit from improved eating habits starting at home.
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The Promenade on the Peninsula
550 Deep Valley Drive, Suite 319
Rolling Hills Estates, CA 90274
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