Category Archives: Health Guide

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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Myths about vaccines and autism

The autism spectrum disorders (ASD) encompass a wide range of symptoms, skills, and levels of disability that an individual may have. This disability falls into the category of developmental disorders and it is caused by differences in brain functioning. This spectrum is characterized by a lack of communication and socialization skills, as well as repetitive and stereotyped behaviors. People who have it communicate, behave, and learn differently, and it can be detected from an early age.

The information that the media spreads about the relationship between vaccines and autism causes a lot of fear and doubts among parents. We may hear many opinions, but the important thing is to know if they are backed by scientific evidence or not. Research has shown that vaccines and autism are not related. Within the last two decades, a wide range of studies in various countries found that vaccines are not associated with autism.

In 2013 the CDC (the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of Diseases) conducted a study in which they proved that vaccines don’t cause autism. Since 2003, the CDC has conducted many studies that reject the association between vaccines and autism. The medical journal Pediatrics has also conducted studies that didn’t find any link between the effects of vaccines and the risk of developing autism. Many more research has been conducted around the world and the evidence and the scientific community agree that vaccines don’t cause this developmental disorder.

My baby has Jaundice, what should I do?

If you notice that your baby has a yellow appearance both in his skin and the whites of his eyes, it might be a sign of jaundice. Jaundice is a common condition in infants that occurs when there is too much bilirubin in the blood. Bilirubin is a yellow substance produced by the body to replace old red blood cells. The liver is responsible for processing and disposing of the bilirubin through the feces. Now, since your baby’s liver is still developing, it can’t eliminate everything that accumulates in the blood causing the yellow look. Jaundice may appear from the second or third day of life, or after the first week. You will notice it first on your baby’s face and eventually the color will spread and appear on his legs.

Why does jaundice occur?

There are several reasons why this may occur. Some are:

  • High level of red blood cells
  • Lack of important proteins
  • The immaturity of the liver
  • The intestine reabsorbs the bilirubin before it’s eliminated

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The best ways to calm a fussy baby

Crying is the way babies communicate their discomfort, hunger, or need for attention. It’s quite normal for babies to be fussy for about 2–4 hours a day, usually at the same time every day. After a few weeks, the crying diminishes and around three months, most babies only cry for approximately an hour a day.

All babies cry, but some do it significantly more than others. This is known as colic, and it is crying that begins and ends for no clear reason, lasts at least three hours a day, and happens at least three times a week for a period of 1–3 months.

It’s important to keep in mind that excessive crying may have a medical or physical cause, so first you must try to identify if there’s a reason behind the crying by looking for patterns. Does it happen at certain times of the day or in specific situations like a crowded place or right after feeding? Can you tell if your child cries differently for food, fatigue, etc? Keep a record of this so that you can compare with previous weeks.

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Health Corner: Pinkeye – causes, symptoms, and treatment

Does your child have pink, itchy, or watery eyes? He may have conjunctivitis. Conjunctivitis, better known as “pinkeye”, may sound a bit scary but it’s actually the most common eye infection among children. Pinkeye is an infection of the conjunctiva, the membrane coating the eyes and lids. The main symptoms of the infection are when the white part of the eye turns pink or red, as the eye’s blood vessels become inflamed. You might also notice your little one has dried secretions around his eyelids or some swelling.

One thing you should be aware of is that not all pinkeye infections are treated equally. There are three types of conjunctivitis – viral, bacterial, and allergic– and this is what each of them does:

  • Viral conjunctivitis is caused by a virus and is very contagious. However, the good news is that it usually clears up in a week or so without treatment. Remember to gently wash your baby’s eyes with warm water and rub any dried discharge. If your baby’s eyes do not improve after a week, let your doctor know.
  • Bacterial conjunctivitis is caused by bacteria and is also contagious. If untreated, it can cause serious damage to the eyes. Doctors usually prescribe antibiotic drops for you to use on your baby’s eyes for about a week.
    • Tip: if you are using drops and your baby’s eyes are closed, the easiest thing to do is to target the inside corner of your baby’s eye. This way, when he opens his eyes, the medicine will go inside.
  • Allergic (or environmental) conjunctivitis is caused by eye irritants such as: pollen, pet dander, or dust. This type could be triggered seasonally or all year-round.

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Health Corner: Baby Reflux Symptoms and Tips

Does your baby vomit, is irritable, and cries often after eating? If he does, he is probably suffering from gastro-esophageal reflux (GOR/reflux).
It doesn’t matter if a baby is breastfed or formula-fed, they can both suffer from reflux. This ailment occurs when food and stomach acid flows back into the esophagus, and sometimes out of the mouth. Babies usually suffer from reflux because the ring of muscle at the bottom of the esophagus (which opens and closes to allow food to enter the stomach) hasn’t fully developed yet. This means that when your baby’s tummy is full, milk and acid can come back up the food pipe, causing discomfort. Although this problem is messy and may be frustrating, you shouldn’t be alarmed -it is actually one of the most common baby feeding problems! In fact, around 25% of all babies experience some degree of it. The good news is that GOR usually disappears without any treatment when kids reach 12 to 18 months of age. Only about 5% of infants over the age of 12 months will continue to regurgitate.But how can you know if your baby suffers from reflux? Here are some of the signs you should lookout for:

  • Regurgitates milk/food
  • Irritability
  • Feeds poorly
  • Coughs frequently
  • Vomits frequently
  • Cries after being fed
  • Experiences discomfort, gas, or abdominal pain after feeding (heartburn)

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Health Corner: Teething safe remedies and dangers

Babies usually show signs of their first tooth between 4 and 7 months of age, although some early developers may begin to show it at 3 months. This milestone is considered one of the most exhausting and frustrating for parents. When a baby’s teeth start to come out, he tends to be very fussy, which means he might be crying more often than usual and may even get a fever. Some common signs parents can look out for are: irritability, decreased appetite, increased drooling, and inflamed gums.

Far too often, parents use fast-acting numbing medications to soothe their baby’s pain and, although this might provide a quick fix, by doing so they might be using harmful drugs that can, in the worst case escenarios, even be fatal. Health officials, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), recently issued a warning about the dangers of using oral anesthetics to help babies relieve their teething pain. In fact, the FDA notified caregivers to discontinue the use of viscous lidocaine and benzocaine products for children under 2, an ingredient that is commonly found in popular products such as: Anbesol, Baby Orajel, Hurricaine, Viscous Lidocaine, and Orabase. Although most of these items are over the counter products and claim to provide instant pain relief, they can put your baby’s life at risk. Continue reading

Health Corner: 10 ways to reduce the risk of SIDS

SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) –a parent’s worst nightmare– is the leading cause of death for babies between 1 and 12 months old in the United States. SIDS is not a disease or a virus, but a diagnosis given when there is no apparent cause for the sudden death of a child under one. SIDS generally strikes during a baby’s sleep, between 10:00 p.m. and 10:00 a.m., while babies are on their cribs. As the name implies, it is sudden and comes without warning. A seemingly healthy baby can suddenly succumb to SIDS. Even with years of research, it still remains unpredictable. It is the uncertainty and the lack of answers what makes it so scary for parents. Before the nighttime worry keeps you from sleeping, know that there are things you can do to reduce your baby’s risk of SIDS. Below are 10 recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). These have been tied to a 50% decrease of SIDS cases in the United States:

How to: First aid for choking

Since choking can be a life-threatening emergency, staying calm is essential, and the best way to ensure that you keep your cool is knowing what to do!

Hopefully you will never be in a situation where you’ll have to give first aid to your little one, but babies tend to bring everything into their mouths. This is a normal part of their development and exploration, but also might putting them at an increased risk for choking! At this age, babies tend to choke on food, little toys, and get caught in drawstrings and curtain cords. Basically everything that surrounds them may be life treating!

We give you some tips and steps to follow if you find yourself in this situation.

How do you know that your baby is choking?

Be alert to signs. Something may be blocking his airway if your baby…

  • Is suddenly unable to cry or cough.
  • Makes odd noises or no sound all while opening his mouth.
  • Skin turns bright red or blue.

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