Monday, November 14, 2011

World Diabetes Day - Wearing Blue and Taking Action

Today is World Diabetes Day. Have you donned blue today? 

Diabetes action groups are asking folks to get dressed in blue today to bring awareness to growing health issue of diabetes.  

Diabetes is a metabolism disorder, a problem with how you process digested food for growth and energy. People with Type 1 Diabetes do not produce the insulin needed to move sugar, glucose, into the body's cells so that they may function and help us grow and  move. The sugar stays in the blood stream. We don't know what causes Type 1 Diabetes and there is no cure. Type 1 Diabetes usually presents when you're a child. 

People with Type 2 Diabetes are unable to produce enough insulin or their bodies are unable to utilize it properly to move the glucose into the cells. Type 2 Diabetes use to be considered an illness of adulthood, but increasingly Type 2 is seen in children too. We don't know exactly what causes Type 2 Diabetes, but it is closely linked to weight and exercise and can be prevented and treated with good nutrition and exercise 

As parents and caregivers to children we can respond to the call in many ways. Today we're asking you to do two things: 

1. Know the symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes which can appear even in infants. Recognizing these symptoms could save a life. 

Warning signs (these may occur suddenly):
  • Extreme thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Sudden vision changes
  • Sugar in urine
  • Fruity, sweet, or wine-like odor on breath
  • Increased appetite
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Drowsiness, lethargy
  • Heavy, labored breathing
  • Stupor, unconsciousness

2. Resist the temptation to turn on the television after dinner. Go take a walk as a family. Exercise and good nutrition can help prevent diabetes and help those living with diabetes. 

For more information on Diabetes in Children check out our Health Encyclopedia on Type 1 Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes. Join us and take action on diabetes.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

RSV Season is Here

If you had asked me five years ago if I'd heard of RSV I would have shrugged by shoulders. RSV? Is that some special SUV? Then I had children and suddenly I did know what RSV was. RSV, or Respiratory Syncytial Virus is similar to the common cold, the symptoms are very similar, how it is transmitted is the same and by the age of two practically all children have been infected with RSV.

Babies ages 2 to 7 months of age have the highest incidence of RSV infection affecting the lower respiratory tractLater reinfections are usually less severe than the first infection. While most children get over it in the same way they recover from a cold and within one to two weeks, some children, especially the very young, can be severely infected.  It is a common way that children may develop more serious respiratory illnesses such as broncholitis or pneumonia and while most infants will not require hospitalization, RSV accounts for 150,000 hospitalizations of children every year.

What does RSV look like? Symptoms:
-coughing, sneezing, runny nose, fever, decrease in appetite
- may cause irritability
- difficulty breathing and/or wheezing
-decrease in appetite

RSV is highly contagious, spreading easily and is near impossible to avoid. Babies who are in child care facilities, or have an older sibling in child care or at school, or are in public places a lot are more at risk for catching RSV. Sharing food, touching objects that are contaminated with the virus, and not washing hands can lead to RSV infection.
With a preschooler and an infant in the house we're washing our hands constantly, for 15 to 20 seconds with soap and water, but it is still difficult to contain as it persists on surfaces. Teaching and also practicing the sneeze or cough into the elbow, or sneezing like an elephant as my preschooler refers to it,  can aid in lowering transmission of respiratory diseases such as RSV. 
Our TMC Health Encyclopedia shares this information about when to seek medical help:
When to call a doctor:
Call 911 or other emergency services immediately if your child is having difficulty breathing, indicated by:
  • Breathing very fast (more than 60 times a minute)
  • Making a grunting noise. 
  • Being unable to speak, cry or make sounds, sometimes with drooling.
  • Flaring nostrils or lifting the shoulders when inhaling.
  • Having a gray mottled, or blue color to the skin (look for skin color changes in the fingernail beds, lips, or earlobes).
  • Wheezing that lasts over 1 hour in a baby younger than 3 months who also appears sick.   
See your doctor right away if your baby or child has moderate difficulty breathingindicated by:

  • Breathing 40-60 times a minute
  • Tiring quickly during feeding. The child either stops eating or sucks in air to catch a breath. The child loses interest in eating because of the effort involved. 
  • Using the stomach muscles when breathing. 
  • Having unusual color. The child's face, hands, and feet are pale to slightly gray or lacelike purple and pale (mottled), but the tongue, gums and lips remain pink
See your doctor if your child shows signs of a lower respiratory infection, indicated by:
  • Wheezing
  • Appearing extremely tired
  • Showing little interest in food or surroundings.
  • Showing signs of an ear infection, such as irritability, difficulty sleeping, and tugging on or rubbing the ear. 
  • Having a fever of 100.4 degrees F or higher when younger than 3 months old (This temperature should be taken rectally. Underarm temperatures are lower than rectal temperatures. 
Call a doctor if your child:
  • Breathes slightly faster than normal and seems to be getting worse. Most healthy children breathe less than 40 times a minute. 
  • Has cold symptoms that become severe or other problems arise.
Our Interactive Health Symptom Checker is a useful tool if you are unsure about what actions to take, although it does not substitute for actual medical advice.

Whether it is RSV, Influenza or the common cold lets try to mitigate the impact of these viruses this season with plenty of proper hand-washing, covering coughs and sneezes, disinfecting contaminated surfaces  and minimizing exposure to infected older children or adults. Be healthy, be safe. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Kids who Run

Photo - Everybody Runs
Where does all that boundless kid energy come from? If only we could bottle it up and sell it. Until that time take the kids out and lets run together.

This Sunday is the 7th Annual Fleet Feet TMC Half Marathon & Saguaro Physicians 5K Run & TMC for Children Fun Run. Join us with your children for a gentle lope on the picturesque, relatively flat course along the neighborhood streets of the Catalina Foothills. The race starts and finishes at Sabino High School. The TMC for Children Fun Run has been specifically designed for children. We'll be providing child care for free and there will be free after race massages and food. For more information and registration check out the Everybody Runs website.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Talking about Death to Children

This weekend Tucson non-profit Many Mouths One Stomach hosts what has become a favorite Tucson event, the All Souls Procession.

"The Procession is a sanctuary for community members from all walks of life to express their grief and loss in a celebration of creative energy and a rejoicing of living."
Part of the events this weekend is the Procession of Little Angels. An opportunity for children to create and to celebrate the lives of loved ones that have died in a way that makes sense to them. When someone dies many of us struggle to explain death to our young children. Sometimes we might even try to avoid the topic.  Death is a universal experience, it is fact of life that our children are exposed to from an early age, in many classic storytales, in nature, and in our families. When we talk with children about death, both when it is abstract and when it hits closer to home, we can explore what they understand about death, perhaps address fears and worries about death.  Child Life Specialist, Jolene Eggert, gave this advice about talking about death with children :
·         Always be honest with your children and talk to them at their developmental level (with terms they understand) as well as at their eye level.
·         Avoid terms which seem confusing.  Such as “passed on” or “taken from us” which can give mixed messages.  Children think in concrete terms.  Often times, hugs and just sitting close by can say a lot.
·         When a child dies ask for support from families and friends for surviving siblings.
·         Don’t be afraid to show emotion.
·         Include children in an end of life memorial.  Have them assist with picking out pictures, writing letter/drawing pictures for their loved one.
Jolene recommends the following book and DVD for preschoolers (a Sesame Street production): When Families Grieve. The program discusses the loss of a parent.
Remembering Crystal by Sebastian Loth is a gentle book with no religious input perfect for the preschool audience.
The National Institute of Health share this document which explores what to consider when talking to children about death.