Category Archives: Health Guide

How help my little one take medicines that taste bad?

We all know medications that make us grimace! Even as adults we don’t like to take them. So if we avoid them, imagine children! But despite their terrible flavor we cannot avoid them. Sometimes they are necessary for our health. Here we will talk about our favorite tips to help make this moment a little less stressful.

• Begin by telling your child you love him very much and that you’re giving this medication to make him feel good. Explain in simple terms why medicines are important and how they destroy viruses that make us sick and feel bad. Recognize that you know they don’t taste very good and that you understand him.

• Give your child a popsicle to numb his mouth, and provide a good taste in his mouth. He can taste the popsicle, take the medicine and keep enjoying the popsicle afterwards.

• Store the medication in the fridge to administer the medicine cold; it helps to reduce some of its bad taste.

• You can channel your inner Mary Poppins and give him a spoonful of sugar after the medication or with the medication.

• Sit with your little one, caress him and give him the medicine slowly.

• If your child needs to chew a pill you can crush it and give it to him on a spoon with ice cream, chocolate syrup, honey or maple syrup or any other food that doesn’t require chewing. It’s recommended to give a few tablespoons of the food on its own, and tell your little one to pass it without chewing, and so he will have sufficient practice for when you give him the spoonful with medicine.

• Give him a sweet after the medicine to reduce the aftertaste.

• Prepare a glass of milk, chocolate milk, juice or any drink he likes; he can take it right after the medicine.

• You can choose to give the medicine slowly in a syringe instead of a spoon. This way you can see which way he prefers to take it. If you put the syringe to the bottom of his cheek, he may swallow the medicine more easily. Try to avoid ejecting the medicine at the back of his throat to prevent nausea or suffocation.

Remember that it’s sometimes difficult to take medication. Sometimes, despite all attempts, young children don’t want to take it. If this is the case, don’t forget to show empathy. Tell your child that you understand him and apologize for the bad taste. Don’t try to trick him or become frustrated, instead use love, and praise his courage. Explain the reason why he has to take his medicine, and acknowledge his effort to take bad tasting medications. If your child still resists, you’ll have to give the medication by opening his mouth and inserting medicine gently, pointing the liquid to the cheek and not directly to his throat to avoid choking. Don’t forget that you can stir it with something sweet or a stronger taste to disguise its bad taste and apologize at the end. Finally, do not forget to contact your doctor if you need further help, he can help you identify what is best for your child.

How to reassure my baby after a vaccination?

Despite being extremely important and necessary, vaccines are painful and can increase anxiety in your child. Such is the pain that you will begin to notice that most babies will end up crying inconsolably after the doctor’s visit. What can you do to comfort your baby after his vaccines? Here are some tips:

• Wrap your baby in a blanket; place him on his side or on his back and quietly rock him back and forth to provide comfort.

• If your baby uses a pacifier, give it to him as suction provides comfort.

• You can give your child a small dose of sugared water before an injection, as studies have shown that it decreases pain after vaccination.

• Breast milk also helps. In fact, babies who are exclusively breastfed are less likely to suffer from fever after an injection.

• Talking calmly to your baby before and after the injection is also very beneficial. Explain to him calmly that injection is for his own good, to help maintain him safe, and because you love him so much.

• Hug him and embrace him. This is an excellent opportunity to cuddle with him and show him all your love.

• Use his favorite toy to distract him.

• Breathe deeply together. Hold your child to your chest and breathe deeply to convey your calmness.

• Ask your Doctor about anesthetic cream. If he recommends one, it must be applied before the vaccine, since it will take about an hour to start working.

• At home, gently move his leg or arm (depending on where the injection was administered) to reduce pain.

• Massage the skin around the area of injection to distract him from pain.

• Don’t forget to praise your baby for his courage, positive reinforcement is very important.

• If your baby suffers from a fever after his vaccines, remember to follow your doctor’s instructions. Most likely, he’ll give him paracetamol or ibuprofen to reduce fever or pain.

That itches! Treating insect bites

Insect bites usually cause a reaction that makes your skin itch immediately. This occurs when the insect bites the skin and sucks a little blood from the body. The insects that can bite us include mosquitoes, fleas and bedbugs. The mosquito bite causes a small red swelling in the affected area. Fleas and bedbugs can cause inflammation or even a blister in sensitive children. Now, the good news is that these insect bites can be treated at home. Below are various treatments you can apply.

Home Treatment

• Apply a mix of baking powder with water or calamine lotion on the swollen area.

• If it is a bedbug bite and it causes severe itching, ask your doctor whether you can apply 1% hydrocortisone cream (sold without prescription).

• Encourage your child not to scratch with distraction; scratching can hurt the skin and make it more prone to infection.

Bite Prevention

• Apply insect repellent moderately on exposed skin or on clothing when going out.

• Be sure to use a repellent containing 30% DEET or less if you’re applying directly on the skin. This type of repellent has been approved by the American Academy of Pediatrics to be used on children who are at least 2 months of age.

• Try not to apply it on his hands if your child sucks his thumb.

• Only apply repellent on exposed skin, but don’t apply it near his eyes or mouth.

• Don’t apply repellent on skin rashes or burns.

• If you have pets be sure they don’t have fleas, it will help to further prevent insect bites.

Ouch! Treating wasps or bee bites

Insect stings instantly cause a skin reaction most of the time, causing painful red swelling on the affected area. A wasp or bee stings hurt because their venom is injected into the skin. Although the pain is uncomfortable, most of the time it can be treated at home with the exception of an unexpected allergic reaction. Find out how to treat and prevent these painful stings.

Allergic reaction:

First and foremost, it is very important to know that for some children insect bites can cause allergic reaction. Contact your doctor or emergency number immediately if:

• Your little one cannot breathe or swallow (call emergency number).

• If he or she is covered, or starts to get covered with red bumps.

• Has 10 or more bites.

• The bee or wasp stung him or her inside his or her mouth.

• If you think your baby needs to be checked out.

At-home Treatment:

• First, check to see if there’s a black dot in the wound; if there is, it’s the bee’s stinger. To remove it, simply pull it out with your fingers or tweezers. Just try to be careful not to burst the venom sac at the end of the sting, because more venom can be released. If after taking the sting out you still see some fragments within the skin, don’t worry, they’ll come out alone.

• The next step is to thoroughly clean the affected area with soap and water.

• Then, apply a paste of baking soda and water on the sting for 20 minutes.

• If the pain persists, apply a cold compress over the affected area for 10 minutes.

• Finally, if your doctor has told you that your child can take ibuprofen, give your little one a dose of this medication to reduce pain and inflammation.

Prevention:

• Teach your child to detect bees and wasps’ nests and let him or her know he or she should not approach them.

• Dress your little one in protective clothing in areas where you know there are wasps and bees.

• Make sure that your child wears shoes when playing outside.

Ouch! Treatment for painful insect bites or stings

Insect bites or stings, like those of ants, certain caterpillars, and centipedes cause the skin to swell and itch, it can be painful and uncomfortable. Find out how to treat and prevent these painful bites.

At-home Treatment

• Rub the affected area with a cotton swab and apply a mixture of baking soda and water for 10 minutes.

• If the pain and inflammation persists, you can give your child a dose of ibuprofen to reduce the symptoms, only if your doctor has indicated that your little one can take it.

Bite and Sting Prevention

• If you see an anthill, don’t let your little one near it, and make it clear he or she should not approach it.

• Also talk to your little one about centipedes and certain types of caterpillars that could be in your area, so that he or she learns they can sting and should not touch them.

• Remember to use insect repellent on exposed skin when you go outside. Apply a repellent approved by the American Academy of Pediatrics (these contain 30% DEET or less). Avoid applying repellent on your little one’s hands, eyes or mouth.

• You can also apply insect repellent on your little one’s clothes so that he or she is even more protected.

Bumps and bruises

At this stage of development your baby’s life involves a lot of movement. Any space is like an amusement park and he or she is ready to play! Since his or her gross motor skills continue improving and that’s not going to stop him or her from exploring all around, bumps and bruises are very common, and hard to avoid. Here are a few tips to help you take care of your little one’s inevitable bumps and bruises.

How do I take care of a bump or bruise?

Most bruises are not painful and usually heal with time, on their own. With bruises, bleeding occurs under the skin and therefore there is no risk of infection, but it may require care in the early stages, especially if your little one is in pain. Bruises change color as they heal, and pain at its touch reduces. If it’s red it may be more painful to the touch, but as it becomes purple or blue, and finally transitions to become green or yellow, pain will diminish. If your little one is uncomfortable, relieve inflammation with the following steps:

1. Apply a cold compress, frozen product pack or an ice bag over the bruise for about 10-15 minutes. At the same time, distract your little one cuddling with him or her and even telling him or her a story.

2. If after that your little one is still in pain, apply a little anti-inflammatory ointment over the affected area. Ask your doctor for an ointment recommendation, and keep it at home.

3. If the bruise is large, place a warm cloth over it 48 hours after applying the cold compress.

4. Bruises heal by themselves in about 2 to 4 weeks; after going through the entire range of colors that lead to healing.

5. Finally, keep in mind that children look towards us after a stumble to see our reaction. Try to remain calm and respond according to the situation. This way, your little one will feel safe and won’t be frightened. The best remedy for any bump or bruise is love; give your little one lots of hugs and kisses.

When should I contact my doctor?

Contact your doctor if your little one hit his or her head hard, if he or she fell from a particularly high place, or if the accident was of greater impact. Contact him or her if:

• The hit to the head has caused a bruise behind the ears or you think your little one might have a fractured skull.

• If the pain is strong and persists for more than 24 hours, even without touching the affected area.

• If your child has stopped using the body part where he or she hit him or herself and can’t move it.

• If the bruise seems unusual.

Finally, remember that tumbles are natural and most of the time harmless, so keep calm and trust your instincts to ensure your child’s well-being. Also remember that if the fall caused a scrape, it’s important to clean the area with warm water and then use soap on the area around the cut.

Why is it important to vaccinate my baby?

There are great myths that surround vaccines. So much information available at our fingertips can cause fear and confusion. However, doctors and health experts such as the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics suggest that vaccines are safe and highly important.

Immunization protects our babies from serious illnesses which can lead to death. They are so efficient that their implementation has led to a dramatic decline in the emergence of infections. They work by creating immunity to various diseases; saving lives in this generation and the ones to come. Therefore, if parents don’t vaccinate their children, they can cause a disease outbreak that could have been easily prevented. Likewise, children who aren’t vaccinated can transmit diseases to other children who are too young to be vaccinated, to elderly people, or to those with weak immune systems.

Vaccinating your baby will help strengthen his immune system and protect him against diseases such as: tetanus, whooping cough, rubella, hepatitis B, polio and others. Thanks to vaccines, these diseases are now rare. Most are no longer longer known, even though they caused epidemics in the past. Furthermore, vaccines save you money as treating a preventable disease is very costly and if we avoid vaccination, diseases can reemerge and affect many people.

Secondary effects

Many parents have doubts about the side effects that may occur after vaccinating their children. Side effects do exist, but they are most commonly mild such as: pain around the bite or fever. There is a possibility of developing more serious side effects but they are extremely rare. Now, despite side effects, illnesses are always worse than the collateral effects that vaccines bring. Therefore, we must not be afraid and be very conscious about what the media informs us and the myths that surround vaccines.

Symptoms and treatment of an ear infection

Ear infections, also known as otitis or middle ear infection, are caused by bacteria, viruses or allergies; causing a blockage in the Eustachian tube (part of the ear) that affects the middle ear. They usually emerge after a cold or other respiratory infection. These infections are highly common in children and are one of the reasons they often go to the doctor.

When babies have ear infections, the middle part becomes swollen and may fill up with fluid. This can be very uncomfortable for children. Most of the time, these infections get better on their own. Usually, the symptoms subside in a few days and in one or two weeks’ time, there are no symptoms or discomfort present at all. Sometimes there is even no need to administer medication, but occasionally doctors may recommend antibiotics to treat the infection.

On the other hand, chronic ear infections may lead to a hearing problem. Therefore, it is important to notify your doctor if your child has an ear infection, especially if you notice that it occurs frequently.

What are the causes of ear infections?

Infections are more common within the first two to four years of life. This is mainly due to the following reasons:

• The Eustachian tubes are shorter and more horizontal, which makes the entry of bacteria or virus easier. In addition, if the tubes are narrow and soft it favors the obstruction.

• The adenoid, or throat tissues, are large and can cover and clog a portion of the tubes.

• Attendance at daycare or preschool may increase the risk of infection.

• They are more common in boys than in girls, especially in ones who have a family history of infections.

What are the symptoms?

• Ear pain

• Trouble sleeping

• Unusual crying and restlessness

• Lack of appetite

• Leaking or accumulation of fluid in the ear

• Your baby doesn’t answer to quiet questions or sounds

• Your baby pulls at his ears

• Fever

• Nausea

• Vomiting

How can I decrease the pain?

• If you notice that your child has an ear infection, don’t hesitate to take him to the pediatrician.

• Place a warm cloth on the affected ear.

• Follow your pediatrician’s instructions, like taking prescribed medication or drops in the ear.

How do I reduce the risk my baby acquires an ear infection?

• Remember to wash your hands frequently and make sure that your little one’s hands are clean too.

• Keep up with vaccines, some of which help prevent infection.

• Avoid contact with people with an infection, especially of the respiratory tract.

• If you smoke, make sure that your child doesn’t inhale secondhand smoke, as this can contribute to ear infections.

Remember ear pain is not always due to an infection; sometimes pain occurs when teeth are coming in, when your little one has an object stuck in his ear, or wax plugs. Whatever the reason, it’s best to contact your pediatrician to identify the cause and give you indications for an adequate treatment.

Autism: What is it and what are the first signs?

Autism is a developmental disorder that comes down to differences in an individual’s brain development. The causes of autism are still unknown, but it is believed to be due to several factors, including genetic components and environmental factors. Now, it is important to emphasize that upbringing and vaccines aren’t among the factors that cause autism.

Every person with autism is different; however, there are common features that unify them. These characteristics include social and emotional traits, like: difficulty to communicate, interact with others, make friends, perceive what others feel, make eye contact, detect sarcasm, among others. It is also common for an individual with autism to perform repetitive movements and seek routines. Certain noises or subtle changes can bother them, they may have a strong interest in a particular topic and may even be experts on it, but on the other hand they may have a learning disability.

Autism is so broad that it is part of a spectrum called autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Within this range there are different types of autism, among them there is Asperger Syndrome, which has similarities with autism in the need for routines, frustration over changes, difficulty to socialize, and a passion for a particular topic. The main difference is that there is no learning disability.

The diagnosis of autism is often late, most of the time it is not detected until a later age. However, experts have noticed that early detection is extremely beneficial because steps can be taken to help foster a greater adaptability and independence. We know that every child is different and develops at his or her own pace, but there are certain developmental milestones that if not met at certain age, may raise a flag. Below are a few signs related to autism, these milestones are normally reached by the time a child is 12 months old. If your child presents most of them and you are worried about his development, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor and talk to him or her about it.

Key signs after 12 months:

• Doesn’t respond to his name.

• Doesn’t socialize reciprocally with caregivers.

• Gets mad when small changes occur.

• Rocks his body, flaps his hands or turns in circles.

• Prefers to play by himself.

• Avoids or resists eye contact.

• Doesn’t show much facial expression.

• Doesn’t point to objects or responds when you point to an object.

• Uses little or no gestures, like to say “hello” or “goodbye”.

• Doesn’t answer or understand simple instructions like: “Show me the cat.”

• If he babbles, he doesn’t seem to be having a conversation.

• If he speaks, he talks in a robotic voice.

• He can’t say any words.

• There is a loss of milestones that were already achieved.

• Doesn’t look for things that he sees you hiding.

• Has obsessive interests (for instance, he can spend a lot of time watching objects that turn around, like a fan or toy tires).

• Plays with objects in the same way every time, and often shows interest in only part (for example, he may play with a toy with lights specifically only turning it on or off).

• Tends to follow a routine.

These are just some signs of autism. Your child meeting some of them doesn’t necessarily mean he has autism; however, if you are worried that your baby shows most of them, it’s best to contact your pediatrician and talk to him/her about it. That way, together you can see if your baby’s development is on track or if it’s a good idea for him to be evaluated by a specialist.

Anemia: What is it and how do I prevent it?

Iron is a very important and essential mineral in our diets because it keeps our body oxygenated. It is part of hemoglobin, the substance found in red blood cells that’s responsible for transporting oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. It gives us our healthy skin color and is essential for a child’s healthy development.

It is important to provide a diet rich in iron because it helps us maintain a healthy level of red blood cells. If the body doesn’t obtain enough iron, the most common type of anemia can appear.

Babies that were born at term and with good weight have a reserve of iron that lasts during the first six months of age. However, at the end of this period it is essential to get iron from other sources because the body no longer contains it. It is very important to do so because anemia that’s not treated could lead to delays in growth and development.

What are the symptoms of anemia?

• Paleness

• Persistent irritability

• Drowsiness

• Poor appetite

How do I prevent anemia?

To prevent anemia, it is important to ensure that your child receives adequate amounts of iron through food. Here’s how:

• Offer your child a balanced diet with iron-rich foods such as:

o Red meat

o Fish

o Chicken

o Spinach

o Yolk

o Sweet potato

o Beans

o Peas

o Iron-fortified cereals

• Remember not to give cow’s milk to your baby until after his first year.

• If your baby drinks formula, choose one that is fortified with iron.

• Include solids rich in vitamin C in his diet because it helps the body absorb the consumed iron.

Remember if you suspect your baby has anemia, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor. By means of a simple blood test, he can detect it and indicate the proper treatment.