Adapted from Healthy Children Magazine, Winter 2007
Adolescence isn’t an easy time for parents, either. As children move through the various tumultuous transitions that accompany adolescence — physical, emotional, hormonal, sexual, social, intellectual — the pressures and problems they encounter can all too easily seem overwhelming. For many teenagers, these and other pressures can lead to one or more of a variety of mental health disorders; all are matters of concern, and some are life-threatening.
Key Tips for Parents:
Keep communication constant, open, and honest: Your children should not only know that they can talk to you about anything, you have to be committed to broaching topics of concern and do so openly. Talk about your own experiences and fears when you were an adolescent. Let them know that they are not alone; nor are their anxieties unique.
Understand that mental health disorders are treatable: Arm yourself with information about the most common mental health disorders among adolescents; speak with your child’s pediatrician, your local health department, your religious leader, and your child’s school representatives about what sorts of information are available from them.
Be attentive to your teen’s behavior: Adolescence is, indeed, a time of transition and change, but severe, dramatic, or abrupt changes in behavior can be strong indicators of serious mental health issues.
Mental Health “Red Flags” Parents Should Be Alert For:
Excessive sleeping, beyond usual teenage fatigue, which could indicate depression or substance abuse; difficulty in sleeping, insomnia, and other sleep disorders
Loss of self-esteem
Abandonment or loss of interest in favorite pastimes
Unexpected and dramatic decline in academic performance
Weight loss and loss of appetite, which could indicate an eating disorder
Personality shifts and changes, such as aggressiveness and excess anger that are sharply out of character and could indicate psychological, drug, or sexual problems
Key Mental Health Issues:
While all of us are subject to “the blues,” clinical depression is a serious medical condition requiring immediate treatment. Watch for:
Changes in sleep patterns
Unexpected weeping or excessive moodiness
Eating habits that result in noticeable weight loss or gain
Expressions of hopelessness or worthlessness
Paranoia and excessive secrecy
Self-mutilation, or mention of hurting himself or herself
Obsessive body-image concerns
Abandonment of friends and social groups
Body image concerns can become obsessions, resulting in startling weight loss, severely affecting the adolescent’s health:
Anorexia: Avoidance of food and noticeable changes in eating habits should trigger concern.
Bulimia: Purging (forced vomiting) after eating — be alert for both dramatic weight loss without changes in eating habits (which could, of course, indicate other health issues that require a doctor’s attention) and also for immediate trips to the bathroom or other private spot after a meal.
In addition to peer pressure, mental health issues can lead adolescents not just to experiment with alcohol and drugs, but also to use substances for “self-medication.” And in addition to being aware of the behavioral and physical signs of alcohol and drug abuse — drug and alcohol paraphernalia or evidence, hangovers, slurred speech, etc. — parents should also:
Be alert for prescription drug misuse and abuse: According to the AAP, prescription drug misuse by adolescents is second only to marijuana and alcohol misuse. The most commonly abused prescription drugs include Vicodin and Xanax.
Know that over-the-counter-medications can be abused as well: Teenagers also frequently abuse OTC cough and cold medications.
Concern about your adolescent’s mental health should first be addressed with your child — fostering open communication goes a long way toward fostering sound adolescent mental health habits.
If your concerns are serious, discuss them with your pediatrician. Because so many mental health issues display physical manifestations — weight loss being the most dramatic but not the only one — your pediatrician can offer both initial medical assessment and also refer you to appropriate mental health organizations andprofessionals for counseling and treatment if called for.
Statement by Sandra G. Hassink, MD, FAAP
As the measles outbreak linked to Disneyland continues to spread, pediatricians are deeply concerned about the children who have been infected, and those who are at risk because they have not been vaccinated. The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly urges parents to make sure their children have received the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. While it is best to get the vaccine as soon as your child reaches the recommended age, it is never too late to get your children caught up so they can receive the vaccine and be fully protected.
We know from many repeated studies that the MMR vaccine is safe and effective. It is in fact one of the most effective vaccines we have. And as the measles outbreak has shown, this virus is incredibly contagious. If you have not been immunized against measles and come near an infected person, you have a 90 percent chance of getting measles.
An infected person may not show symptoms for four days — meanwhile he or she can expose dozens of other people they encounter in daily life, at the park, grocery store, school, and other places where children commonly are. Measles affects all organs of the body, and can cause serious and in some cases life-threatening complications in children including pneumonia and encephalitis.
When measles was more common in the U.S., hundreds of children died from this virus every year. The fact that this disease has resurfaced for the first time in more than a decade has prompted pediatricians to reiterate the same recommendation to parents that we’ve made for decades with renewed urgency: Vaccines work. Delaying your child’s vaccines, or refusing the vaccine, leaves your child vulnerable to this invisible threat. And puts other children in the community at risk.
Some children cannot be vaccinated because of problems with their immune system, or because they are too young to be vaccinated. It is heartbreaking to know that these vulnerable children may be at risk if parents refuse or delay getting their children vaccinated, allowing community immunization rates to fall below the rates necessary to protect the whole community. To protect your own child, as well as the other children in your community, make the decision to vaccinate your child. If you have questions about measles or vaccines, we encourage you to talk with your child’s pediatrician.
To help parents, the AAP has also assembled these resources:
HealthyChildren.org: How to Protect Your Children During a Measles Outbreak
- Healthy Children Radio: Interview with COID member Dr. Kathryn Edwards
- News release: AAP urges parents to vaccinate children to protect against measles
Recall — Firm Press Release
FDA posts press releases and other notices of recalls and market withdrawals from the firms involved as a service to consumers, the media, and other interested parties. FDA does not endorse either the product or the company.
Nutek Disposables, Inc. Issues Alert Due to Potential Bacteria in Baby Wipes
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Oct. 25, 2014 — MCELHATTAN, PA — Nutek Disposables, Inc. of McElhattan, PA has initiated a nationwide voluntary product recall at the retail level of all lots of baby wipes that it manufactured under the brand names Cuties, Diapers.com, Femtex, Fred’s, Kidgets, Member’s Mark, Simply Right, Sunny Smiles, Tender Touch, and Well Beginnings, because some packages may contain bacteria. These wipes were distributed by Nutek prior to October 21, 2014 to the following retail stores: Walgreens, Sam’s Club, Family Dollar, Fred’s, and Diapers.com.
After receiving a small number of complaints of odor and discoloration, Nutek conducted microbial testing that showed the presence of a bacteria, called Burkholderia cepacia (B. cepacia), in some of these products. Soon after, on October 3, 2014 the company initiated a voluntary withdrawal of lots that had tested positive for the bacteria, as well as other baby wipes in the surrounding time frame. After some additional lots were tested, as a precautionary measure, Nutek believed it was a prudent decision to withdraw all its baby wipe products.
B. cepacia poses little medical risk to healthy people. However, people who have certain health problems like weakened immune systems or chronic lung diseases, particularly cystic fibrosis, may be more susceptible to infections with B. cepacia. If you believe you have a weakened immune system or chronic lung disease and you have used one of the affected wipe products, you should call your doctor promptly for medical advice.
As of October 3, 2014, the date of the original withdrawal, the company had received only one report of irritation. Numerous reports of complaints have since been received by the company that include rash, irritation, infections, fever, gastro-intestinal issues, and respiratory issues, though these reports have not been confirmed to be related to the use of these products.
The company has not identified the cause of the problem, but is continuing to investigate. In the interim, Nutek has stopped shipping baby wipes manufactured at the facility.
Nutek takes the safety of consumers and the quality of its products very seriously and is taking all appropriate steps to address the issue and ensure this does not happen again.
The company is working with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration and the affected retailers and distributors throughout this process to address the issue.
Consumers who have purchased this product can return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1-855-646-4351, Monday through Friday, 10 AM – 4 PM EDT.
|Brand Name||Retailer||Lot Numbers of Product Manufactured by Nutek|
|Cuties||Internet and various retailers||All Lots|
|Femtex||Family Dollar||All Lots|
|Kidgets||Family Dollar||All Lots|
|Member’s Mark||Sam’s Club||All Lots|
|Simply Right||Sam’s Club||All Lots|
|Sunny Smiles||Walgreens||All Lots|
|Tender Touch||Various retailers||All Lots|
|Well Beginnings*||Walgreens||Certain Lots±|
|*These lot numbers represent all lots manufactured by Nutek. There may be other lots that are made by manufacturers other than Nutek and that are not subject to this recall.|
The Teal Pumpkin Project for an Allergy-Friendly Halloween
Reposted from Food, Allergy, Research and Education (FARE) Website
This Halloween, FARE is encouraging food allergy families to start a new tradition: painting a pumpkin teal and placing it on your porch as a sign to other families managing food allergies that you have non-food treats available at your home. Your teal pumpkin is also a way to raise awareness in your neighborhood about food allergies!
Purchasing inexpensive non-food treats to hand out is a great way to include all children in trick-or-treating, and we hope that the Teal Pumpkin Project will be a tradition for years to come.
Examples of non-food items include: glow bracelets or necklaces, pencils, markers, boxes of crayons, erasers, bubbles, mini Slinkies, whistles or noisemakers, bouncy balls, coins, spider rings, vampire teeth, mini notepads, playing cards, bookmarks, stickers, and stencils. Oriental Trading or Amazon are websites used by many parents to order these items (Visit smile.amazon.com to shop on Amazon and donate a portion of your purchases to FARE. Just search for “Food Allergy Research & Education”).
Print out FARE’s teal pumpkin poster to post next to your door to notify visitors that you are handing out non-food items in support of all children with food allergies.
Download FARE’s Non-Food Treats Halloween Poster to show your support (This poster is formatted for A4 paper, but will also print on 8.5×11 and 11×14 paper using the “fit to page” setting)
Download a flyer about the Teal Pumpkin Project and share it to spread the word (This flyer is formatted for A4 paper, but will also print on 8.5×11 and 11×14 paper using the “fit to page” setting)
For those with pumpkin allergies, you can paint a plastic pumpkin. Painting a plastic pumpkin is also a way to reuse the same pumpkin year after year. Acrylic or spray paints are recommended, and those with milk allergies should avoid using milk paint. For instructions on how to paint a pumpkin, view this wikiHow tutorial.
FARE would like to thank the Food Allergy Community of East Tennessee (FACET) for this wonderful idea. We are pleased to bring it to the attention of families across the country, and we hope you will join in our effort to make Halloween more inclusive for children with food allergies!
For media inquiries about the Teal Pumpkin Project, please email Nancy Gregory, Director of Communications, at email@example.com.
Comparing this virus to scourges of the past gives us hope that we can slow it down.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months (although any amount of breastfeeding is beneficial). And scientific studies have shown that breastfeeding is good for your health, too.
Breastfeeding is good for your baby because:
1. Breastfeeding provides warmth and closeness. The physical contact helps create a special bond between you and your baby.
2. Human milk has many benefits.
It’s easier for your baby to digest.
It doesn’t need to be prepared.
It’s always available.
It has all the nutrients, calories, and fluids your baby needs to be healthy.
It has growth factors that ensure the best development of your baby’s organs.
It has many substances that formulas don’t have that protect your baby from many diseases and infections. In fact, breastfed babies are less likely to have:
Pneumonia, wheezing, and bronchiolitis
Other bacterial and viral infections, such as meningitis
Research also suggests that breastfeeding may help to protect against obesity, diabetes, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), asthma, eczema, colitis, and some cancers.
Why is breastfeeding good for me?
Breastfeeding is good for your health because it helps:
Release hormones in your body that promote mothering behavior.
Return your uterus to the size it was before pregnancy more quickly.
Burn more calories, which may help you lose the weight you gained during pregnancy.
Delay the return of your menstrual period to help keep iron in your body.
- Provide contraception, but only if these 3 conditions are met:
- You are exclusively breastfeeding and not giving your baby any other supplements
- It is within the first 6 months after birth
- Your period has not returned
Reduce the risk of ovarian cancer and breast cancer.
Keep bones strong, which helps protect against bone fractures in older age.
Breastfeeding: A Natural Gift
Breastmilk gives your baby more than just good nutrition. It also provides important substances to fight infection. Breastfeeding has medical and psychological benefits for both of you. For many mothers and babies, breastfeeding goes smoothly from the start. For others, it takes a little time and several attempts to get the process going effectively. Like anything new, breastfeeding takes some practice. This is perfectly normal.
At Cleveland Pediatrics we want your breastfeeding experience to be a good one. For that reason we provide the services of an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant with over 20 years experience in caring for breastfeeding mothers and their babies. Leetta Stanley, LPN, IBCLC, RLC is our triage nurse and lactation consultant. She has over 20 years of experience in pediatric nursing and breastfeeding. Leetta is available to help with any problems or questions you may have regarding breastfeeding. Please give our office a call at 423-479-9733
Counseling – Cleveland Pediatrics and MHC partner
Just in time for the new school year’s challenges, Cleveland Pediatrics is offering child and family counseling through a partnership with the Mental Health Cooperative, a nonprofit behavioral health provider renowned for its evidence-based, team approach to helping children and families.
Adapting to a new routine can be difficult for children. There are multiple social and emotional challenges, like an inability to focus on school work, anxiety in social situations, and following school rules.
“We at Cleveland Pediatrics feel so fortunate to have MHC put a reliable, caring counselor right in our office. Our patients now can get the access to counseling they need and it’s no further away than our office is. And, case management is an extra bonus. What a blessing,” stated Dr. Bill Murphy with Cleveland Pediatrics.
With a licensed therapist on site, along with in-home case management, and clinical support, MHC will work with Cleveland Pediatrics to focus on the needs of existing patients.
Cleveland Pediatrics provides medical services to children in either its wellness or illness building, which helps prevent well children from coming into contact with ill children.
Call 423-697-5950 for more information or to make an appointment for counseling services.
Protecting teenagers against serious diseases!
Leaving their phone at a friend’s house, suddenly needing a ride somewhere … you knew there would be days like this. But did you know that you’d also need to take your preteens and teens to get shots?
As they get older, kids are at increased risk for some infections. Plus the protection provided by some of the childhood vaccines begins to wear off, so kids need a booster dose. You may have heard about pertussis (whooping cough) outbreaks recently. Vaccine-preventable diseases are still real. The vaccines for preteens and teens can help protect your kids, as well as their friends, community and other family members.
There are four recommended vaccines that preteens should get when they are 11 – 12 years old. If you have an older kid like a teen, they’ll need a booster dose of one of the shots. Plus it’s not too late to get any shots they may have missed. You can use any health care visit, including sports physicals or some sick visits, to get the shots your kids need. The vaccines for preteens and teens are:
- HPV vaccine for both boys and girls, which protects against the types of HPV that most commonly cause cancer. HPV can cause cancers of the cervix, vulva and vagina in women and cancers of the penis in men. In both women and men, HPV also causes mouth/throat cancer, anal cancer and genital warts.
- Tdap vaccine, which is a booster against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis. Pertussis, or whooping cough, can keep kids out of school and activities for weeks. It can also be spread to babies, and this can be very dangerous and sometimes deadly.
- Meningococcal vaccine, which protects against meningococcal disease. Meningococcal disease is caused by bacteria and is a leading cause of bacterial meningitis – a serious infection around the brain and spinal cord.
- Influenza (flu) vaccine, because even healthy kids can get the flu, and it can be serious. All kids, including your preteens and teens, should get the flu vaccine every year.
Talk with a doctor, nurse, or clinic about the vaccines for preteens and teenagers. Even though they may not realize it, your kids still need you for more than getting a ride somewhere. They need you to continue protecting their health by getting them these important and life-saving vaccines.
Want to learn more about the vaccines for preteens and teens? Check out www.cdc.gov/vaccines/teens or call 1-800-CDC-INFO.
Five Important Reasons to Vaccinate Your Child
National Immunization Awareness Month is a reminder
that we all need vaccines throughout our lives.
You want to do what is best for your children. You know about the importance of car seats, baby gates and other ways to keep them safe. But, did you know that one of the best ways to protect your children is to make sure they have all of their vaccinations?
Immunizations can save your child’s life. Because of advances in medical science, your child can be protected against more diseases than ever before. Some diseases that once injured or killed thousands of children, are no longer common in the U.S. – primarily due to safe and effective vaccines. Polio is one example of the great impact that vaccines have in the United States. Polio was once America’s most-feared disease, causing death and paralysis across the country, but today, thanks to vaccination, there are no reports of polio in the United States.
Vaccination is very safe and effective. Vaccines are only given to children after a long and careful review by scientists, doctors, and health care professionals. Vaccines will involve some discomfort and may cause pain, redness, or tenderness at the site of injection, but this is minimal compared to the pain, discomfort, and trauma of the diseases these vaccines prevent. Serious side effects following vaccination, such as severe allergic reaction, are very rare. The disease-prevention benefits of getting vaccines are much greater than the possible side effects for almost all children.
Immunization protects others you care about. Children in the U.S. still get vaccine-preventable diseases. In fact, we have seen resurgences of measles and whooping cough (pertussis) over the past few years. For example, more than 48,000 cases of whooping cough were reported in the U. S. in 2012. During this time, 20 deaths were reported—the majority of these deaths were in children younger than 3 months of age.
Unfortunately, some babies are too young to be completely vaccinated and some people may not be able to receive certain vaccinations due to severe allergies, weakened immune systems from conditions like leukemia, or other reasons. To help keep them safe, it is important that you and your children who are able to get vaccinated are fully immunized. This not only protects your family, but also helps prevent the spread of these diseases to your friends and loved ones.
Immunizations can save your family time and money. A child with a vaccine-preventable disease can be denied attendance at schools or daycare facilities. Some vaccine-preventable diseases can result in prolonged disabilities and can take a financial toll because of lost time at work, medical bills or long-term disability care. In contrast, getting vaccinated against these diseases is a good investment and usually covered by insurance or the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program, which is a federally funded program that provides vaccines at no cost to children from low-income families.
To find out more about the VFC program, visit http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/programs/vfc/ or ask your child’s health care professional.
Immunization protects future generations. Vaccines have reduced and, in some cases, eliminated many diseases that killed or severely disabled people just a few generations ago. For example, smallpox vaccination eradicated that disease worldwide. Your children don’t have to get smallpox shots anymore because the disease no longer exists. By vaccinating children against rubella (German measles), the risk that pregnant women will pass this virus on to their fetus or newborn has been dramatically decreased, and birth defects associated with that virus rarely are seen in the U. S. If we continue vaccinating now, and vaccinating completely, parents in the future may be able to trust that some diseases of today will no longer be around to harm their children in the future.
For more information about the importance of infant immunization, visit http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines.