Category Archives: Health Guide

That itches! Treating insect bites

Insect bites usually cause an immediate reaction that makes your skin itch. 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 by distracting her; 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 her hands if she sucks her thumb.
  • Only apply repellent on exposed skin, but don’t apply it near her eyes or mouth.
  • Don’t apply repellent on skin rashes or burns.
  • If you have pets, be sure they don’t have fleas.

Ouch! Treating wasp or bee stings

Most of the time, insect stings instantly cause a skin reaction, causing painful red swelling on the affected area. A wasp or bee sting hurts 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 might have an allergic reaction to insect bites. Contact your doctor or emergency number immediately if:

  • Your little one cannot breathe or swallow (call emergency number).
  • If he is covered, or starts to get covered with red bumps.
  • Has 10 or more bites.
  • The bee or wasp stung him inside the mouth.
  • If you think your son needs to be checked out. Continue reading

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, if your doctor has indicated that your little one can take it, you can give her a dose of ibuprofen to reduce the symptoms.

Bite and Sting Prevention

  • If you see an anthill, don’t let your little one near it, and explain that 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 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 she is even more protected.

Bumps and bruises

At this stage of development your child’s life involves a lot of movement. Any space is like an amusement park and she is ready to play! Since her gross motor skills continue improving and she won’t stop exploring around, the bumps and bruises will be 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. As they heal, bruises change color and are less and less painful. 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 her and even telling her a story.
  2. If 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 2-4 weeks; they’ll go through the entire range of colors as they heal.
  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 her head hard, if she fell from a particularly high place, or if the accident was of greater impact. Contact your pediatrician if:

  • The blow 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 she hit 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 a lot of 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 children from serious illnesses that 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 against 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.

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Symptoms and treatment of an ear infection

Ear infections, also known as otitis or middle ear infection, are caused by bacteria, viruses, or allergies. They cause 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 after 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. Continue reading

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, to interact with others, to make friends, to perceive what others feel, to make eye contact, to 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 the 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.

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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 the first six months of life. 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 consume iron because an anemia that’s not treated could lead to delays in growth and development. Continue reading

My baby has swallowed something, should I be concerned?

At this stage of your baby’s development, his mobility has increased immensely. He’s probably starting to crawl and wants to grab any object that is in sight. Babies want to explore and discover their world, and they do it in the best way they know: by taking objects to their mouth. They discover textures and shapes this way, not to mention taste! Since babies move around a lot, it is very important to child-proof your home and verify that there aren’t any harmful objects at your little one’s reach.

For babies, there is no object that is off limits. If they see an object that gets their attention and it is within their reach, they will take it whether it is dangerous or not. At this age, they can’t discriminate between safe and dangerous things. That’s why it is recommend to “walk in your baby’s shoes” by crawling around the house and identifying and removing any possible danger that he might reach.

Sometimes, despite our effort to eliminate dangerous objects, our babies cleverly find objects that we don’t see. These can be dangerous, like batteries, sharp objects, or other objects small enough to be swallowed, but large enough to obstruct their breathing. When swallowed, some small objects, like coins or small marbles, go directly to the stomach without causing much trouble. Larger objects can cause damage to the esophagus, stomach, and intestines, or cause obstruction in breathing. Continue reading

Your guide to choosing a pediatrician

If you have not yet chosen a pediatrician, here’s a list of the six most important things you should take in account.

1. Ask for references from friends and family because they can give you their opinion and share personal experiences.

2. Compare between doctors who you might be interested in; having at least three options is an excellent idea.

3. Check their credentials.

4. Ask them for an interview and keep in mind to:

  • Talk about a subject that is important to you, such as breastfeeding.
  • Ask the questions that are most relevant to you.
  • Check the availability in his or her office.
  • Observe his/her interaction with your child.
  • Discuss the frequency of your appointments. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, pediatricians must check children at the first, second, fourth, sixth, ninth, and twelfth month of age. They also recommend that babies be checked at both 18 and 24 months of age and once a year after that.
  • Ask if he/she works in a group or alone.
  • Ask if he/she will be available if an emergency arises.
  • Talk to him/her about how you can communicate outside the office; if there is an email address where you can write or a personal phone to call.

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