All About Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease

 

Summer gives us a break from the flu and many other viruses prevalent during the winter months, but there is one contagious virus that your child is at risk of contracting during the summer.

Hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) is a common illness in the summer months, predominantly found in infants and children under the age of 10, but one that can also affect teens and adults. It is caused by a family of viruses known as the Coxsackie virus. There are multiple types of Coxsackie virus, but the A16 strain causes HFMD.

HFMD can produce a wide variety of symptoms, including mild flu-like symptoms such as fever, head and muscle aches, sore throat, fatigue, and poor appetite. The fever usually lasts anywhere from 24 hours to 2-3 days. One or two days after the fever begins, small red spots begin to appear in the mouth, throat, palms of the hands, and soles of the feet. These spots develop into blisters and eventually into painful ulcers, which resolve within a few days without any scarring.

These blisters give the illness its name, but it should not be confused with the similarly named foot (or hoof) and mouth disease, which is found in cattle.

HFMD is spread between children either hand to hand or through tiny air droplets that are released when they sneeze, cough, or blow their nose.  The illness can also be spread when a person is exposed to an infected child’s stool or the fluid from their blisters.

HFMD is contagious and tends to spread most easily in settings where many young children are together, such as day care centers.  In tropical parts of the world, HFMD is present throughout the year, but in cooler climates, such as New York, outbreaks take place only in the summer or fall. Some people incorrectly believe that the illness is spread in swimming pools, but a properly chlorinated pool should kill the virus.

Proper hand washing is considered the best protection against the virus, especially after using the bathroom, changing diapers, and before eating or preparing food. The virus can live on contaminated surfaces for several days. Therefore, parents should clean shared toys and all surfaces potentially contaminated with disinfectant cleaners to protect against the spread of HFMD.

There are lab tests to confirm HFMD, but doctors usually can diagnose the virus based on a physical examination. There is no specific treatment for HFMD. Doctors often recommend over-the-counter pain and fever reducing medications to make your child feel more comfortable. Salt water rinses might also provide relief.

If you think your child has hand, foot and mouth disease, you should see a pediatrician or call Flushing Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center at 718-670-5486 to make an appointment.

 

 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Flushing Hospital Medical Center Designated Baby-Friendly

Flushing Hospital Medical Center (FHMC) has received the prestigious international recognition as a Designated Baby-Friendly birth facility. Baby-Friendly USA, Inc is the U.S. authority for the implementation of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

The initiative encourages and recognizes hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies. Based on the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, this prestigious international award recognizes birth facilities that offer breastfeeding mothers the information, confidence, and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies.

FHMC offers  the following classes free of charge at FHMC:
  • Childbirth education classes on Saturday monthly. Call 718-670-3020
  • Infant feeding classes weekly on Tuesday at 10am Ob/Gyn Ambulatory Care Center on the 5th floor
  • Breastfeeding Support Group weekly, Wednesdays, 1pm 5 West conference room, by appointment 718-670-5201
  • Free tours of the Perinatal area by calling 718-670-5239
  • Women Infants and Children (WIC) office on the 5th floor 718-670-5277

Robert Levine, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at FHMC, congratulated the entire OB/GYN team for their hard work.

 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Children’s Vitamins

Ideally, most children should receive their daily recommended vitamins and minerals from the food they eat. However, for parents who are challenged for time and aren’t able to prepare well-balanced meals throughout the day; children who are picky eaters or those with certain chronic illnesses, supplements are essential for providing nutrients needed.

There are many types of children’s vitamins available for purchase, but before doing so, it is highly recommended that you speak to your child’s pediatrician.  They can help you to determine what kinds of vitamins and minerals are needed as well as the appropriate daily dose.  This is important because overdosing can lead to symptoms such as headaches, rashes, nausea or even more severe adverse reactions.

Some of the essential vitamins children need to grow healthy and strong include:

  • Iron– Prevents anemia and helps build muscles  and healthy red blood cells
  • Vitamin D– Most children do not receive enough Vitamin D. It is needed to help with bone growth and development
  • Vitamin A-Promotes normal growth and development, as well as healthy eyes and skin. It also aids in repairing bones and tissues
  • Calcium-Helps to build strong bones as children grow

Remember to keep in mind that children’s vitamins are supplements and should not replace healthy, well- balanced meals.  Try to provide your child with foods that are nutrient-rich and those that are low in calories and sugar. Encourage them to eat as much whole fruits and vegetables as possible. If their diet allows for meat, include meats that are lean and avoid or limit frying as a method of preparation.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Is Fruit Juice Healthy For Kids?

Although many parents perceive fruit juices, including boxed juices as healthy, the reality is most are not. Typically, packaged juices often contain large amounts of added sugar and are of no comparison to 100% fresh juice or whole fruit which offers several nutritional benefits.

According to an article published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, when served with a well-balanced meal in children over the age of one, 100% fresh or reconstituted juice in moderation can be a healthy part of a child’s diet.  It is important that the amount of juice consumed is moderated as studies have found that drinking too much can result in obesity and compromise dental health.

The American Academy of Pediatrics offers the following recommendations to help parents with making better health decisions for their children and moderating their juice intake:

  • Juice should not be given to children under the age of one because it offers no nutritional benefit.
  • If juice is given, intake should be limited to, at most, 4 ounces daily for toddlers age 1-3. For children age 4-6, fruit juice should be restricted to 4 to 6 ounces daily; and for children ages 7-18, juice intake should be limited to 8 ounces or 1 cup of the recommended 2 to 2 ½ cups of fruit servings per day.
  • Toddlers should not be given juice from bottles or easily transportable “sippy cups” that allow them to consume juice easily throughout the day. The excessive exposure of the teeth to carbohydrates can lead to tooth decay, as well. Toddlers should not be given juice at bedtime.
  • Consumption of unpasteurized juice products should be strongly discouraged for children of all ages.
  • Children who take specific forms of medication should not be given grapefruit juice, which can interfere with the medication’s effectiveness. In addition, fruit juice is not appropriate in the treatment of dehydration or management of diarrhea.
  • Children should be encouraged to eat whole fruits and be educated about the benefits of the fruit as compared with juice, which lacks dietary fiber and may contribute to excessive weight gain.

The best options for children’s health are water and fresh fruit.  Fruit juice offers no nutritional advantages when compared to whole fruit.  Water is ideal for hydration and offers more benefits. To speak with a doctor at Flushing Hospital Medical Center about your child’s nutrition, please call 718-670-5406.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Understanding Dyslexia

Dyslexia is a language-based, learning disability that affects approximately 15% of the population living in the United States.  It is the most common learning disability in the country.

People who are dyslexic find it difficult to read because they are unable to properly identify speech sounds and learn how they relate to letters and words.  They often have difficulty with writing, math and comprehension as well.

Dyslexia is a lifelong disability that cannot be cured. However, an individual can overcome its many challenges when early intervention and specialized education approaches are applied.

The exact cause of dyslexia is unknown; however, the condition tends to run in families.  In addition to genetics, there are other factors attributed to dyslexia; they include:

  • Premature birth or a low birth weight
  • Exposure to substances such as nicotine, alcohol or illegal drugs during pregnancy

Symptoms and signs of dyslexia vary with each individual. They may experience the following:

  • Difficulty forming words correctly –they may reverse the sound in words or confuse words that sound alike
  • Late speech
  • Difficulty remembering or naming  colors , letters and numbers
  • Reading well below average
  • Difficulty playing rhyming games or learning rhyming songs
  • Problems with math or spelling
  • Difficulty following directions
  • Disinterest in books
  • Difficulty remembering details
  • Trouble understanding puns and idioms
  • Difficulty telling right from left
  • Difficulty understanding the concept of time

A significant number of children with dyslexia go undiagnosed because symptoms are not recognized. Many children who are undiagnosed, struggle in school and grow up to be adults who are unaware that they have dyslexia; therefore, it is very important for parents to note warning signs and seek assistance from a specialist.  In most cases, a diagnosis of dyslexia is determined by a licensed educational psychologist after completing a series of evaluations.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Does One Part Alcohol + One Part Breast Milk = Bad For Baby?

Women have been warned not to consume alcohol during pregnancy.  There is sufficient research that confirms drinking alcohol, while pregnant, poses several, avoidable risk to an unborn baby.  However, the risks of consuming alcohol while breastfeeding are not as well defined.  

Breastfeeding mothers often receive conflicting advice about whether their alcohol consumption can have an adverse effect on their baby.  This leaves mothers with more questions than answers. A good resource to start looking for answers is the La Leche League.  Their article, The Womanly Art Of Breastfeeding says: The effects of alcohol on the breastfeeding baby are directly related to the amount the mother ingests.  When the breastfeeding mother drinks occasionally, or limits her consumption to one drink or less per day, the amount of alcohol her baby receives has not been proven to be harmful.

The League further published:

Alcohol passes freely into mother’s milk and has been found to peak about 30 to 60 minutes after consumption, 60 to 90 minutes when taken with food.  Alcohol also freely passes out of a mother’s milk and here system.  It takes a 120 pound woman about two to three hours to eliminate from her body the alcohol in one serving of beer or wine.  The more alcohol that is consumed, the longer it takes for it to be eliminated.  It takes up to 13 hours for a 120 pound woman to eliminate alcohol from one high-alcoholic drink.

Opposing research from the Mayo Clinic suggests that breast-fed babies, whose mothers drank, as few as, one drink a day may present with impaired motor or development and that alcohol can cause changes in sleep patterns.

Also, to dispel any notion that encourages drinking alcohol to improve milk production. Facts show that the presence of alcohol in breast milk can cause the babies to drink about 20 % less

If you have consumed more than the legal amount of alcohol to drive a vehicle, you have consumed more than the recommended amount of alcohol to safely breastfeed. Moms should be mindful that the level of alcohol in her blood, matches the level of alcohol in her breast milk.”

Research has shown that breast-feeding is an optimal way to feed your newborn and is recommended until a baby is at least age one.  If you have questions on what method to use to when deciding how you will feed your baby.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

National School Backpack Awareness Day

Backpacks are essential back-to- school items for kids.  They come in different colors, sizes and shapes and most importantly they help children to carry their belongings.  Backpacks are preferred by many in comparison to shoulder bags because when worn correctly, they evenly distribute weight across the body.  However, if worn incorrectly they can cause back pain or injuries and eventually lead to poor posture.

To prevent problems associated with improper backpack use, parents should first purchase a backpack that has the following features:

  • Lightweight
  • Wide and padded straps
  • Multiple compartments
  • Padded back
  • Waist belt
  • Correct size (A backpack should never be wider or longer than your child’s torso).

Practicing these safety tips will further reduce the chance of back pain or injuries caused by backpacks:

  • When packing, heavier items should be placed to the back and center of the backpack. Lighter items should be in front. Sharp objects such as scissors or pencils should be kept away from your child’s back.  Utilizing different compartments can help in distributing weight.
  • Do not over pack. Doctors recommend that children should not carry backpacks that weigh more than 10-15% of their body weight.
  • Ensure that children use both straps. Using a single strap can cause muscle strain.
  • Adjust the straps so that the backpack fits closely to your child’s back and sits two inches above the waist. This ensures comfort and proper weight distribution.
  • Encourage children to use their lockers or desks throughout the day to drop off heavy books.

The Pediatric Orthopedic Society of North America recommends that parents should always look for warning signs that indicate backpacks may be too heavy. If your child struggles to put on and take off the backpack, they are complaining of numbness or tingling or if there are red strap marks on their shoulders -It may be time for you to lighten their load.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Summer Weight Loss Tips For Kids

Is your child at risk of gaining weight this summer?

We consider summer to be a time when kids run around, go swimming and generally remain active. With all this physical activity, it is a common belief that children keep weight off or maybe even lose a few pounds in the summer, but that is not the case. There are many reasons why parents are now noticing that their children are actually gaining weight during the summer.

The rate of childhood obesity has tripled in America in recent decades. Now, one out of three children in this country is considered overweight or obese. When are children gaining the most weight?  Recent studies have revealed that during the summer, the rate of weight gain in children is double that of the rest of the year. Why?

One of the biggest contributing factors is that children today live a more sedentary lifestyle. During the school year, children participate in fitness programs, both during recess and in physical education classes. Without a regimented exercise program, children opt to spend their free time playing video games or watching television.

Another factor in summer weight gain is the foods children have access to in their home. In an effort to fight obesity and promote healthy eating habits, many schools provide healthy alternatives for lunches and snacks during the year. During the summer, however, kids have access to whatever snacks are in the home. Kids will often choose unhealthy snacks, such as cookies, chips, and soda if they are available to them.

In an effort to reverse this trend, Flushing Hospital offers the following summer healthy living tips for your kids:

• Stock your home with healthy food options like yogurt, carrots, or summer fruits like peaches, berries, or melons.

• Make water the beverage of choice. Juices and sodas are high in calories and low in nutrients. To make water more flavorful, consider adding fruit slices or berries.

• Limit TV and video game usage. It will force kids to become more physically active and prevent them from enticing junk food commercials.

• Walk more. Everyone can do it. Incorporate regular family walks to the park or around the neighborhood.

• Be inventive. Not every child is interested in formal team sports, but every kid loves to run around. Encourage activities like hopscotch, jump rope or a simple game of “tag.”

• Be a role model. Children often take cues from their parent’s eating habits so if you want your kids to eat healthier, you should eat healthier

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Thumb Sucking

Tsucking thumbhumb sucking is a habit that children may develop as a means to pacify or entertain themselves.  It is estimated that three-quarters of children will suck their thumb before reaching the age of one.  According to experts this behavior during infancy or preschool age is rarely something to be concerned about.  “Thumb-sucking in children younger than 4 is usually not a problem.” (WebMD)

If thumb sucking continues as children mature to school age, parents are advised to intervene as it may cause social or physical problems.  A child’s peers may tease or isolate them for sucking their thumb.  Children’s permanent teeth typically come in around age five and thumb sucking can cause dental problems such as overbites to develop.  Thumb sucking can also lead to complications in speech such as lisping or thrusting of the tongue.

There are several things parents can do help their child overcome this habit:

  • Talk to your child; explain to them how thumb sucking can affect them.
  • Offer motivation by creating a reward system, such as a sticker chart.
  • Build self-awareness, children are often unaware of thumb sucking.
  • Speak to your dentist who can offer a special mouth guard or dental appliance to deter sucking.

To speak with a pediatric dentist at Flushing Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-670-5521.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Mumps

Pediatrician examining lymph nodes

Are you concerned that your child may contract mumps?  First, we have to find out what mumps is!

Mumps is a viral infection that affects the parotid glands, which are located slightly below and in front of the ears.  If a child has contracted mumps, these glands can swell causing discomfort. Although rare, mumps can potentially cause hearing loss, meningitis, encephalitis and orchitis (in males).

Mumps was common in the United States until a mumps vaccination became available.  After the vaccination, health officials saw the number of cases drop significantly.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), symptoms of mumps usually appear within two weeks of exposure to the virus. Flu-like symptoms may be the first to appear, including:

  • fatigue
  • body aches
  • headache
  • loss of appetite
  • low-grade fever

A high fever (up to 103 degrees Fahrenheit) and swelling of the salivary glands follow over the next few days. The glands may not all swell initially. More commonly, they swell and become painful. The mumps virus is most contagious to another person from the time you come into contact with the virus to when your parotid glands swell.

There isn’t a course of treatment for mumps, so applying warm or cold packs to the swollen glands that are tender can be helpful.  Additionally, health professionals encourage children between the ages of 12 through 15 months of age to receive their first measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination and their second dose at 4 through 6 years of age.

Although mumps is no longer very common in the United States. From year to year, mumps cases can range from roughly a couple hundred to a couple thousand. For more information on how to track mumps outbreaks state, you can visit the CDC site –     https://www.cdc.gov/mumps/outbreaks.html

If you are interested in making an appointment with a pediatrician at Flushing Hospital Medical Center, you can schedule an appointment at our Ambulatory Care Center at 718-670-5486.

 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.