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Toolkit Helps Parents Recognize a Child’s Risk of Obesity

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Some simple interventions used by pediatricians were enough to change a parent’s perspective about a child’s being overweight or obese, and change the parent’s behaviors at home to reduce those risks.
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Researchers confirmed previous reports that parents of overweight or obese children do not recognize their child’s weight problem. But this time, by arming pediatricians with a “toolkit,” an easily used chart and a series of questions and suggestions, the researchers addressed several problems.

“Doctors often don’t have time to discuss overweight; they don’t have the tools to do it; and many aren’t confident that they’re going to make a difference in their patients’ lives,” said Eliana Perrin, lead author of the study.

“Also, parents don’t recognize weight problems or don’t know how to make things better, and even if they do, there are often barriers to healthier eating or more activity for these families,” says Perrin.

As First Lady Michelle Obama‘s “Let’s Move!” campaign aims to reduce childhood obesity – almost one-third of young people are overweight – two leading questions are how to affect that change and if it can be successful.

Perrin’s study is likely the first evidence that a parent’s assessment of their child’s weight can be changed. Her study also showed improved dietary behaviors in children and reduced time playing video games or watching television, called “screen time.”

“We found something we can do to help stem the obesity epidemic,” says Perrin, whose previous research in childhood obesity has shown that using a body mass index, or BMI, chart color-coded like a traffic light helps parents understand the often confounding measurement.

Perrin’s research group trained pediatric resident physicians on how to use the color-coded BMI chart and a revision of a questionnaire called “Starting the Conversation,” originally designed by Alice Ammerman, a co-author on the study. The STC gives health care providers a snapshot of potential red flags to help counsel patients as well as tips to implement change.

Parents were asked about their children’s weight status and discussions about weight in the doctor’s office. The Starting the Conversation form used in this study was revised by Perrin and asked parents about non-healthy eating habits – frequency of sugary snacks, sugar-sweetened beverages and eating out at restaurants, as well as activity and screen time. It also asked about the parent’s readiness to change. The pediatrics residents were instructed to show parents their children’s weight status in a color-coded BMI chart and were taught to use the parents’ responses to the questionnaire to engage the parents in discussions about healthier eating behaviors and activities.

Researchers enrolled 115 children ages 4 to 12 who were covered by Medicaid or the State Health Insurance Program and repeated the Starting the Conversation questionnaire as well as questions about weight status at one-month and three-month follow-up appointments.

The study showed the most significant improvement in dietary changes among children who were overweight. At follow up, they were more likely than healthy-weight children to drink lower-fat milk and showed the largest reduction in the frequency of eating out. But overall, children improved fruit and vegetable consumption, decreased sweetened beverages and unhealthy snacks, drank lower-fat milk more and reduced screen time.

In the initial visit, all of the parents of healthy-weight children accurately perceived their child’s weight. However, only 57 percent of overweight children’s parents did so at baseline. That improved significantly to 74 percent at three month follow up.

BMI was measured and tracked and a few children became more overweight, while more reached healthier weights but no significant improvements in weight status were noted in this short study, Perrin says. “The research has to be replicated and expanded, and it must determine if improvements in parental perception of children’s weight motivates families to improve behavior and, ultimately, leads to healthier weight over time,” she says.

“Everyone’s talking about BMI and we have a lot of studies to show that parents do not see their overweight children as overweight. That often does not sink in with parents,” Perrin says. “This is the first time we’ve seen a changed perspective from parents. We hope that parents who know their children are overweight will be empowered to help them achieve healthier lifestyles that can last a lifetime.”

Source: Elements4Health

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Ailmemts & Remedies

Ear Infection

Alternative Names: Otitis media – acute; Infection – inner ear; Middle ear infection – acute
………………...CLICK & SEE
Definition:
Ear infections are one of the most common reasons parents take their children to the doctor. While there are different types of ear infections, the most common is called otitis media, which means an inflammation and infection of the middle ear. The middle ear is located just behind the eardrum.

There are two types of ear infection…Acute & Cronic.

The term “acute” refers to a short and painful episode. An ear infection that lasts a long time or comes and goes is called chronic otitis media.

You may click to learn more about ear infection:

Symptoms
An acute ear infection causes pain (earache). In infants, the clearest sign is often irritability and inconsolable crying. Many infants and children develop a fever or have trouble sleeping. Parents often think that tugging on the ear is a symptom of an ear infection, but studies have shown that the same number of children going to the doctor tug on the ear whether or not the ear is infected.

CLICK & SEE:->

Common Ear Infection

Acute Ear Infection

Cronic Ear Infection

Ear Infection of Bone

Other possible symptoms include:
*Fullness in the ear
*Feeling of general illness
*Vomiting
*Diarrhea
*Hearing loss in the affected ear
*The child may have symptoms of a cold, or the ear infection may start shortly after having a cold.

All acute ear infections include fluid behind the eardrum. You can use an electronic ear monitor, such as EarCheck, to detect this fluid at home. The device is available at pharmacies.

Possible Causes:
Ear infections are common in infants and children in part because their eustachian tubes become clogged easily. For each ear, a eustachian tube runs from the middle ear to the back of the throat. Its purpose is to drain fluid and bacteria that normally occurs in the middle ear. If the eustachian tube becomes blocked, fluid can build up and become infected.
Anything that causes the eustachian tubes and upper airways to become inflamed or irritated, or cause more fluids to be produced, can lead to a blocked eustachian tube. These include:

*Colds and sinus infections
*Allergies
*Tobacco smoke or other irritants
*Infected or overgrown adenoids
*Excess mucus and saliva produced during teething

Ear infections are also more likely if a child spends a lot of time drinking from a sippy cup or bottle while lying on his or her back. Contrary to popular opinion, getting water in the ears will not cause an acute ear infection, unless the eardrum has a hole from a previous episode.

Ear infections occur most frequently in the winter. An ear infection is not itself contagious, but a cold may spread among children and cause some of them to get ear infections.

Risk factors:

*Not being breast-fed
*Recent ear infection
*Recent illness of any type (lowers resistance of the body to infection)
*Day care (especially with more than 6 children)
*Pacifier use
*Genetic factors (susceptibility to infection may run in families)
*Changes in altitude or climate
*Cold climate
*Sudden change of weather

Diagnosis:

Signs and tests
The doctor will ask questions about whether your child (or you) have had ear infections in the past and will want you to describe the current symptoms, including whether your child has had any symptoms of a cold or allergies recently. Your doctor will examine your child’s throat, sinuses, head, neck, and lungs.

Using an instrument called an otoscope, the doctor will look inside your child’s ears. If infected, there may be areas of dullness or redness or there may be air bubbles or fluid behind the eardrum. The fluid may be bloody or purulent (filled with pus). The physician will also check for any sign of perforation (hole or holes) in the eardrum.

A hearing test may be recommended if your child has had persistent (chronic and recurrent) ear infections

Modern  Treatment
The goals for treating ear infections include relieving pain, curing the infection, preventing complications, and preventing recurrent ear infections. Most ear infections will safely clear up on their own without antibiotics. Often, treating the pain and allowing the body time to heal itself is all that is needed:

*Apply a warm cloth or warm water bottle.
*Use over-the-counter pain relief drops for ears.
*Take over-the counter medications for pain or fever, like ibuprofen or acetaminophen. DO NOT give aspirin to children.
*Use prescription ear drops to relieve pain.

ANTIBIOTICS
Some ear infections require antibiotics to clear the infection and to prevent them from becoming worse. This is more likely if the child is under age 2, has a fever, is acting sick (beyond just the ear), or is not improving over 24 to 48 hours.

However, for several years there was a tendency to over-prescribe antibiotics, leading to the increasing numbers of bacteria that are resistant to these drugs. Joint guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians are aimed at using antibiotics for ear infections when they are most needed. If the antibiotics do not seem to be working within 48 to 72 hours, contact your doctor to consider switching to a stronger antibiotic. Usually there is no benefit to more than two, or at the most three, rounds of appropriate antibiotics.

SURGERY
If there is fluid in the middle ear and the condition persists, even with antibiotic treatment, a healthcare provider may recommend myringotomy (surgical opening of the eardrum) to relieve pressure and allow drainage of the fluid. This may or may not involve the insertion of tympanostomy tubes (often referred to as ear tubes). In this procedure, a tiny tube is inserted into the eardrum, keeping open a small hole that allows air to get in so fluids can drain more easily down the eustachian tube. Tympanostomy tube insertion is done under general anesthesia. Usually the tubes fall out by themselves. Those that don’t may be removed in your doctor’s office.

If the adenoids are enlarged, surgical removal may be considered, especially if you have chronic, recurrent ear infections. Removing tonsils does not seem to help with ear infections.

ALTERNATIVE TREATMENT:
Click to see:
Alternative Treatment for Ear Infections :
Alternative to Tubes for Ear Infection Treatment:
Natural Cures For an Ear Infection – More Than Home Remedies:

Prognosis:
Ear infections are curable with treatment but may recur. They are not life threatening but may be quite painful.

Prevention:
What can kids do to prevent ear infections? You can avoid places where people are smoking, for one. Cigarette smoke can keep your eustachian tubes from working properly.
You can reduce your child’s risk of ear infections with the following practices:

*Wash hands and toys frequently. Also, day care with 6 or fewer children can lessen your child’s chances of getting a cold or similar infection. This leads to fewer ear infections.
*Avoid pacifiers, especially at daycare.
*Breastfeed — this makes a child much less prone to ear infections. But, if bottle feeding, hold your infant in an upright, seated position.
*Don’t expose your child to secondhand smoke.
*The pneumococcal vaccine prevents infections from the organism that most commonly causes acute ear infections and many respiratory infections.
*Some evidence suggests that xylitol, a natural sweetener, may reduce ear infections.
*Avoid overusing antibiotics.

Click to see:
Taking Care of Your Ears;
What’s Earwax?;
What’s Hearing Loss?

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
http://kidshealth.org/kid/ill_injure/sick/ear_infection.html
http://healthtools.aarp.org/adamcontent/ear-infection-acute?CMP=KNC-360i-GOOGLE-HEA&HBX_OU=50&HBX_PK=ear_infection_acute
http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/ear-infection-acute/overview.html

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News on Health & Science

‘Bleach Bath’ Benefit for Eczema

Adding bleach to the bath may be an effective treatment for chronic eczema, US researchers say.
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In a study of 31 children, there was significant improvement in eczema in those who had diluted bleach baths compared with normal baths.

The Pediatrics study also showed improvements were only on parts of the body submerged in the bath.

The Pediatrics study also showed improvements were only on parts of the body submerged in the bath.

UK experts stressed the treatment could be extremely dangerous and should only be done under the care of a specialist.

Children with bad eczema suffer from chronic skin infections, most commonly caused by Staphylococcus aureus, which worsen the eczema that can be difficult to treat.

Some children get resistant MRSA infections.

“Bleach used incorrectly could cause enormous harm to a child with atopic eczema while in the hands of an expert it can, as this trial indicates lead to benefit” SAYS  Professor Mike Cork, Sheffield Children’s Hospital

Studies have shown a direct correlation between the number of bacteria on the skin and the severity of the eczema.

It has been shown that bacteria cause inflammation and further weaken the skin barrier.

In the study, researchers randomly assigned patients who had infection with Staphylococcus aureus to baths with half a cup of sodium hypochlorite per full tub or normal water baths for five to 10 minutes twice a week for three months.

They also prescribed a topical antibiotic ointment or dummy ointment for them to put into their nose – a key site for growth of the bacteria.

Eczema severity in patients reduced five times as much as those on placebo.

But there was no improvement in eczema on the head and neck – areas not submerged in the bath.

Rapid improvement :-

“We’ve long struggled with staphylococcal infections in patients with eczema,” said study leader Dr Amy Paller, from Northwestern University in Chicago.

She added they saw such rapid improvement in the children having bleach baths that they stopped the study early.

“The eczema kept getting better and better with the bleach baths and these baths prevented it from flaring again, which is an ongoing problem for these kids.

“We presume the bleach has antibacterial properties and decreased the number of bacteria on the skin, which is one of the drivers of flares.”

Professor Mike Cork, head of dermatology research and a consultant at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, said antiseptic baths had been used as a treatment for eczema for quite a while but the trial was important because it highlights the benefits from reducing bacteria.

“But people should not start putting bleach in their children’s bath.

“Bleach used incorrectly could cause enormous harm to a child with atopic eczema while, in the hands of an expert, it can as this trial indicates lead to benefit.”

He added the trial highlighted the need for children with uncontrolled eczema to be referred to a specialist for treatment.

Sources: BBC News :27th.April.’09

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