6 Child-Friendly Ways to Prevent Colds and Flu 

MaureenSBy Maureen Sangiorgio

When you’re a parent, you worry about your children . . . a lot . . . forever. Are they happy? Are they healthy? Are they safe? Am I doing all I can to keep them happy, healthy, and safe?

Most parents are no strangers to dealing with their children’s illnesses. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, your child probably will have more colds, or upper respiratory infections, than any other illness. Up until age two, most kids have about ten colds! And if your child is in day care, or if there are other kids in your house, she may have even more, since colds spread easily among children who are in close contact with one another.

Influenza (“the flu”) is more dangerous than the common cold for children. Kids often need medical care because of the flu, especially if they are younger than five years old. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year about 20,000 children under the age of 5 are hospitalized because of influenza complications.

Follow this six-step program to boost your child’s immunity and to help prevent colds and flu in your family. [Read more…]

6 Ways to Avoid Overeating Candy on Halloween

Halloween is a few days away. Candy-filled jars, desks, and if you have kids…well, your kid’s personal goodie bag may become yours!

Dr. Susan Albers, food psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic and author of 50 More Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food (available in Dec.), says many of her clients inquire about how to cope with bags full of candy hanging around their offices and homes.

Yes, it’s hard to eat those little snack-size bites of candy mindfully! The good news is that it is possible – tips are below:

1. Switch it up:
You often are thinking about the next piece of candy before finishing the one you have. To slow down and enjoy each piece of candy as you are eating it, eat with your non-dominate hand (if you are left handed, eat with your right). This will help prevent you from mindlessly popping candy into your mouth. Research indicates that this simple swap can cut down on how much you eat by approximately 30 percent.
[Read more…]

Clever, Fun Ways to Take Charge of What You Eat

Jean-talon farmer's marketWhen you want to live a cleaner, more earth-friendly life, a good place to start is changing what you eat. However, it can be difficult to give your family not just healthy food, but meat and produce that is sustainably farmed and raised. It can also be frustrating when you are at the grocery store with limited options and high price tags. Luckily, there are fun ways to put sustainable, clean food on your family’s table. Try these activities that are beneficial for you and Mother Earth.


Nothing is more satisfying than eating fruits and vegetables you grew yourself. Gardening is also a fun way to teach your children about the importance of where food comes from.

You can grow produce even in the smallest yards with raised beds and container gardens. OrganicGardening.com suggests using raised beds to help navigate the obstacles that sometimes come with backyard gardening, such as poor soil quality, pests, and weeds. You can also choose whatever organic soil and additives you want. Raised garden beds can be made out of eco-friendly wood and other natural materials or recycled products like old bricks or tires.

[Read more…]

Parents, Doctors Confounded by Reversal of Advice on Peanut Allergies

As a nurse, Amber Williams was well aware of the medical recommendations for starting her daughter on solid foods. She waited until Sienna turned 1 to give her milk, and was planning to wait until age 2 to introduce eggs and age 3 for peanuts.

But when Sienna was about 20 months old, her godmother gave her a bite of a peanut granola bar while babysitting. Welts broke out on her skin. Her blood pressure crashed. By the time she arrived at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC in an ambulance, her throat was so swollen that a tube couldn’t fit inside.

“I still have the book that I followed to a ‘T,’ ” said Ms. Williams of Castle Shannon. “I did exactly what the American Academy of Pediatrics told me to.”

A study released last week casts doubt on the advice once given to parents of children like Sienna, now 8, to delay introducing peanuts well into toddlerhood.

Read more at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette website.

7 Mistakes Parents Make With Their Kids’ Teeth

You know regular brushing, a healthy diet and dental visits are some of the best ways to prevent cavities, yet experts say many parents are falling short when it comes to oral hygiene.

In fact, 42 percent of children ages 2 to 11 have had cavities in their baby teeth. And 21 percent of children ages 6 to 11 have had them in their permanent teeth, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Here, find out the biggest mistakes dentists say parents are making and learn what you can do to keep your children’s teeth healthy throughout their lifetime.

1. Letting kids brush alone
Since most children don’t have the motor skills to brush effectively until they’re 8 years old, parents need to supervise brushing and check to make sure every surface of each tooth is clean.

Read more.

Acne Gel Linked to Rare Side Effect

For certain people, the acne treatment Aczone may be linked to a rare blood disorder, a new case study contends.

A 19-year-old woman who had used Aczone — the skin gel version of the drug dapsone — for a week developed a serious condition called methemoglobinemia.

The patient showed up at a Pittsburgh emergency room with a headache, shortness of breath, and blue lips and fingers. Her symptoms initially confounded her doctors.

Although she had applied a “pea-sized” amount of Aczone to her skin twice daily for seven days before seeking care, she never mentioned that when asked if was using any medications.

Read more.

America’s 9 Biggest Health Issues

After an incredibly busy 2014, during which health stories like Ebola, new food nutrition label rules, and the debate about the right to die sparked by Brittany Maynard dominated the headlines, it’s now worth looking at what we may be covering in the next 12 months.

So, in no particular order, here’s my take on the nine big health stories to watch for, and the questions they will likely raise, in 2015.

Read more.

More Cities Ban Sledding

Asthma and Allergy Foundation Applauds Governor Corbett for Allowing Schools to Protect Children from Life-Threatening Allergies

allergies-asthmaGovernor Signs House Bill 803, which Permits Schools to Store Epinephrine for Emergency Use & Train Employees to Administer Medication

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) today applauded Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett for signing legislation that allows Pennsylvania schools to protect children and adults from potentially life-threatening allergies. House Bill (H.B.) 803 permits schools to maintain a supply of epinephrine – a medication proven to slow the effects of a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) – and directs these schools to designate and train school employees to administer the medication in an emergency.

H.B. 803 updates Pennsylvania law, which previously did not allow schools to store epinephrine for emergency use and did not protect school employees from liability if they administered the medication. While students with known allergies could carry and self-administer epinephrine, students with undiagnosed allergies and those without their own epinephrine were unprotected.

[Read more…]