The Critical Ingredient to the Success of Vaccination Programs

By William B. Miller, Jr, M.D.

Only a few weeks into a new administration and with it comes unwelcome medical news. The age-old debate about the safety and appropriateness of vaccination has been renewed and a vocal stage has been delivered to a small group of anti-vaccination zealots.

Reports have circulated that Robert F. Kennedy, Jr, a highly visible critic of vaccination, has been invited to chair a commission on vaccination safety by the new administration. If it comes to pass, one result can be accurately predicted. It will become a confused platform of ideological rhetoric that will diminish trust in those scientific bodies charged with making sound judgments for the public welfare. This inevitable outcome is particularly unfortunate since there has never been any advance in medical history that has had a more positive impact on our lives than vaccination.          

Humanity has been in eternal conflict with infectious disease throughout history. Perhaps no disease better illustrates the vast range of impacts of epidemic disease than smallpox, which resulted in the deaths of more than 7 million people. Similar horrific mortality was experienced with smallpox. In 18th Century Europe, at least 400,000 people died annually from smallpox. One-third of the survivors went blind. Mortality rates were as high as 60% in some communities. Infant mortality was even more frightening, approaching 80%.      

The ultimate success of smallpox vaccination is credited to Sir Edward Jenner in England. In 1796, he successfully introduced the technique of cowpox vaccination demonstrating its subsequent protective effect against smallpox. Today, due to the effectiveness of worldwide smallpox vaccination programs, that disease has been effectively eradicated from the planet. [Read more…]

Keeping Your Pet Safe in the Summer Heat

Keeping Your Pet Safe in the Summer Heat

By now, we all know how to keep ourselves safe and cool during the warm summer season. But we can’t forget about Fido! Each summer, hundreds of dogs are harmed as a result of being left in hot cars or left outside without the proper water and protection. As such, I wanted to draw your attention to the topic of “Keeping Your Pet Safe in the Summer Heat.”

Hot weather can bring on dangers that significantly affect your pet, including dehydration, heat stroke, sunburn and even death. With a few preventative measures, you can easily help your pup avoid the negative effects of the sun. Below are tips to follow from experts at Camp Bow Wow, North America’s largest and fastest growing pet care franchise.

Pets Need Sunscreen

Cats and dogs can get sunburned too, especially if he/she has light-colored hair. Animal sunburns can cause the same problems as that of humans: peeling, redness and even cancer. As skin cancer in pets is a serious concern, purchasing pet-friendly sunscreen can go a long way in protecting the health of your pet when the heat kicks in. Places that are easy to forget, but prone to burning are: inside the nostrils, tip of nose, around your dog’s lips and the inside of ears for dogs with standup ears. 

Summer Style

Giving your dog a lightweight summer haircut helps prevent overheating. Shave down to a one-inch length, but never to the skin, so your pet still has some protection from the sun. Brushing cats more often than usual can prevent problems caused by excessive heat.  [Read more…]

Eating Disorders 101

By The Renfrew Center

In a culture obsessed with thinness and dieting, it can oftentimes be difficult for a parent to recognize when a child’s thinking or behavior has become dangerous, potentially leading to an eating disorder. Eating disorders are serious and potentially life-threating illnesses that affect more than 10 million females and one million males in the United States. As a parent, it is important for you to be aware of the different types of eating disorders, their signs and symptoms and the treatment options. 

What is an Eating Disorder?

At The Renfrew Center, the country’s first residential eating disorder treatment facility with its headquarters in Pennsylvania, we know there is never a single cause for the development of an eating disorder.  Rather, it’s a perfect storm of many factors. The three most common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder.

Anorexia (clinically known as anorexia nervosa) is self-imposed starvation. Individuals with anorexia are often profoundly dissatisfied with their body image and usually express a strong desire to lose weight.

[Read more…]

Helping Girls Develop Healthy Relationships

image001-3By Susan Fee

Girls’ friendships can be complex, supportive, and painful all at once. It can be especially confusing when a former best friend suddenly becomes a worst enemy. Relational aggression describes behaviors intended to sabotage friendships such as exclusion and spreading rumors starting as early as pre-school. While both genders report experiencing relational aggression, the psychosocial damage goes right to the heart of what matters most to girls: connection to peers.

At some point, most girls experience some degree of friendship conflict involving elements of relational aggression. As a parent, it can be hard to know how to support your daughter through a “frenemy” situation. Here are some tips:

Raise awareness.  Teach the differences between healthy and unhealthy friendships.  Instead of limiting descriptions to “nice” or “mean” help her clarify what specific behavior supports these labels.  The more she understands what respects looks and feels like, the better equipped she’ll be for handling difficult conversations.

Set realistic expectations. There are four levels of relationships: stranger, acquaintance, friend, and best friend. Help your daughter assess her relationships and set realistic expectations. Assuming an acquaintance will behave as a best friend will leave her feeling hurt and disappointed.

[Read more…]

Brain Foods to Keep Your Child Alert in School

erinpalinski photoBy Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE, LDN, CPT

As children and teens everywhere worry about which outfit to wear for school, parents have another thing on their minds. How can you fuel your child throughout the day to keep their mind and body sharp? Nutrients such as complex carbohydrates, omega-3 fatty acids, lean protein, and antioxidants, can help to boost your child’s energy level and brainpower. And the good news is that these nutrients don’t have to be hard to fit in. In fact, they can even taste delicious!

Start your child’s day off rich with a great source of whole grains. Whole grains, such as steel cut oatmeal, are a great source of complex carbohydrates for energy as well as fiber. Foods rich in fiber allow sugar to be delivered to the brain steadily, without overloading it, helping to enhance memory and concentration versus hinder it.

To save time, place your oatmeal in a slow cooker overnight so it is hot and ready for the whole family in the morning. You can even top oatmeal with cinnamon, which can help to balance blood sugar levels, keeping energy levels steady throughout the day. Or adding a dash of maple syrup which has essential immune system nutrients like zinc and manganese can ward off a cold. We all know how uncomfortable and distracted kids can get with sniffles and sneezes!

[Read more…]

Snow Day Activities to Do With Your Kids

Snow-Day-Activities-to-Do-with-Your-Kids-mdnMany schools have cancelled class as the east coast gears up for a massive blizzard tomorrow—the National Weather Service predicts as much as 20 inches of snow.

While this announcement will surely elicit cries of joy from kids, parents fear the equally predictable cries of boredom. Short on ideas to keep them busy while they’re stuck inside?

Forget about sitting in front of the TV all day, we’ve rounded up plenty of activities—from easy crafts to cozy recipes—that take advantage of the weather and keep kids entertained all day.

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Money Advice Your Kids Will Actually Use

102344652-200174563-001.530x298Parents wear many hats with their children: chauffeur, cook, tutor, chief cuddler. What most of them don’t do—despite their best intentions—is give their children financial smarts.

More than half of parents in a recent survey rated their teens’ financial acumen as good or excellent, but 78 percent of the teens surveyed assessed their own money smarts as average or even poor. And while almost three-fourths of the parents in the survey said they had talked to their teens about managing money, more than half of the teens wanted to hear more.

“It seems kind of gauche to talk about money so upfront, but it’s really important, said Joe Ridout, a spokesman for Consumer Action, one of the sponsors of the survey.

Read more.

Illinois Schools Can Demand Students’ Social Media Passwords

facebook1In Illinois, a new law aimed at curbing cyberbullying gives schools access to kids’ social media account passwords.

But some are saying the law goes too far.

Previously, Illinois schools could take action against students if online bullying occurred – such as something posted on Twitter or Facebook during the school day.

Read more..

Therapy Dog Works with Kids at Worthington Library

Once a month, the Worthington Community Library goes to the dogs.

Miss Stella, a certified therapy dog, provides a stress-free, gentle environment for local children to practice their reading skills.

Stella, or “Stelly Bean” as she is nicknamed, referencing her sweet nature that compares to a jellybean, is a 7-year-old Rottweiler mixed-breed canine.

Her owner, Samantha Werksman, rescued Stella from a high-kill shelter in Ohio.

“When she was 6 months old, my husband and I adopted her,” Werksman says. “She is so outgoing, gentle and patient. I enrolled her into the Therapy Dog International program knowing she would be a great candidate.”

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