Friday, June 09, 2017

4 Tips to Help Kids Stay Safe on Smartphones

Have you noticed how even one year olds know their way around a smartphone, while we’re struggling to stay updated on everything tech! If you’ve ever thought that kids seem to spend half of the day on their smartphones, you’re not wrong – the average child might spend more than seven hours a day on their phone, and for at least some of them, that’s more time than they spendsleeping.
Well, there’s nothing wrong with technology or gadgets; there are many useful things they can do. But it’s when things go beyond a healthy limit that problems arise. Technology is a huge part of life now, yet many parents still haven’t implemented basic rules to help their children stay safe online. There are all kinds of horrors on the internet, and naive kids are particularly vulnerable. Don’t worry, here’s help! Here are some simple tips to help kids stay safe on smartphones.

4 Tips to Help Kids Stay Safe on Smartphones

Kids these days are glued to their phones which makes them vulnerable to many dangers. Check out these 4 Tips to Help Kids Stay Safe on Smartphones.

1. Place Limits On When And Where The Phone Can Be Used

Tips to Help Kids Stay Safe on Smartphones
Kids don’t need to be texting at the dinner table, when they’re in the middle of homework, or late at night – yet many of them are still allowed to do so. One of the major problems with teens today is that their minds are always online – when they’re not using their smartphone, they’re thinking about using it, and there’s no clear separation between online and offline time.
In a similar vein, there are places phones should never be allowed – such as in their bedrooms. Establishing phone-free zones is critical for teaching children that there are times and places where phones should not be allowed, no matter how badly they want to pick them up and start texting, using apps, or otherwise connecting to the digital realm.
Until a child can resist the temptation to use their smartphone, they shouldn’t have unrestricted access to it.

2. Use Content Filters and Limit Phone-based Purchases

Tips to Help Kids Stay Safe on Smartphones
Most cell carriers offer these services for free (or at an extremely low monthly price) – and they should be installed on every child’s phone. In addition to basic content control, providers may also offer services like not allowing the phone to be used to access the internet past a certain time each day… though it’s often easier to just have your child give you the phone at a certain time each night.
On top of that, make sure your child gets your permission to download and install apps – when they have to ask about each one, they’re less likely to start downloading things just because it sounded fun, and more likely to exercise good judgment and discretion.

3. Install Ad-Blockers

Tips to Help Kids Stay Safe on Smartphones
Online ads are… interesting. However, as much as some companies would love for you to do nothing other than click on ads all day, the truth is that they’re distracting and tend to eat up a lot of data. How much? Well, according to a recent study by the New York Times, just putting an ad-blocker on made many sites load three or four times faster.
In general, kids can’t control the content of ads, so installing ad blockers can help them avoid seeing content that doesn’t matter to them. (And they’ll probably thank you for making the internet smoother for them, too.)

4. Instruct Them On Proper Behavior

Tips to Help Kids Stay Safe on Smartphones
In recent years, cyber bullying has become a major problem for teens. There are a lot of things you can do to help keep them safe, but the most important thing for your child to understand is that they can (and should) come talk to you any time there’s a problem.
Most kids are unwilling to talk about their problems because they fear losing access to their smartphone – as such, you should make it clear that you will not take their phone away if you know they’re getting bullied. Instead, explain that you just want to teach them how to resolve the problem and move on with their life. As long as a child trusts you enough to come talk to you when there’s a problem, you’ll be able to protect them from just about every issue that can occur online.
Kids are getting smartphones at a younger and younger age, so it’s important to start monitoring them early – and with these regulations in place, you can help ensure that your child is as safe as they can possibly be while using their smartphone.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Why it may be a good thing that the Dengue vaccine is NOT available in India right now?



I am a Pediatrician, and a large percentage of my work involves preventive pediatrics and counseling. I am also a big fan of vaccines, so why am I saying that NOT having Dengue vaccines in India is a good thing? Read on….
I understand that Dengue is a very serious problem, and as a pediatrician I have personally diagnosed and treated many kids with Dengue in Chandigarh and surrounding areas.
The problem, in my opinion, is the way new vaccines are generally launched in India. Previously the drug controlling authority (DCGI) used to ask for small trials on 150 to 200 people and we used to test if the vaccine was leading to good antibody response after 3 months in these people. Once this was confirmed, the vaccine was allowed to be used without any further research in our kids.
On the other hand, most developed countries would ask any vaccine company to do large studies in their own country/ continent before allowing use of a newer vaccine.
For the first time, it appears that the Govt of India is asking the Vaccine Company (Sanofi Pasetur) to do large scale trials in our country for the Dengue vaccine before launching it. The scientific data thus generated will help us to recommend the vaccine far more effectively.
However, if the permission is given by the GOI to launch the vaccine with small amount of data (as before), then we will end up with limited data. This means we will have to rely on studies from foreign countries to decide how effective this vaccine will be in our situation. For a new vaccine like Dengue, I believe this is NOT the right way to go.
Sure, large studies will take at least 2-3 years, but the results will help us get a better idea on how and when to use the vaccine for kids & adults in the future. This is why I am recommending waiting and watching and getting high quality data from India for the Dengue vaccine, before launching it.
What do you feel as a parent or a doctor?

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

MR vaccine by Govt of India, IAP recommendations, Jan 2017

Date: January 27, 2017
Dear All,This is to inform you that a mass campaign (Supplementary Immunization Activity (SIA) to provide a single dose of Measles-Rubella (MR) vaccine is going to start from February 2017 in five states/UTs namely, Goa, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Lakshadweep and Puducherry.
It is our utmost duty to support this activity by encouraging parents of eligible children to participate in these campaigns. We need to offer our clinics/ hospitals/ nursing homes, or other facility to function as “Adverse Event Following Immunization (AEFI) management site/centre” in case any serious AEFI is encountered during the campaign. Furthermore, we need to fully support and cooperate with the local health authorities to counteract any misinformation against these campaigns.
 
What is MR campaign?
  • MR campaign is a special campaign to vaccinate all children of 9 months to <15 age="" br="" nbsp="" of="" years="">group with one dose of MR vaccine.

  • The MR campaign dose is given to all targeted children, both immunized and unimmunized,
    irrespective of prior measles/rubella infection.

  • The goal of a MR campaign is to accelerate population immunity by reaching 100% target
    children with MR vaccine that will reduce cases and deaths from measles and disabilities from
    Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS).
Rationale for MR campaign
  • Country Population Immunity is insufficient to stop ongoing MR transmission as evident form
    MR surveillance data

  • MR outbreaks wide spread across the entire country

  • Population immunity has waned after the last MCV (Measles containing vaccine) campaign

  • Rubella vaccine introduction requires high level of population immunity to prevent the paradoxical effect as a risk mitigation strategy

  • NTAGI has recommended wide age range MR vaccination campaign targeting 9 months-<15 all="" before="" immunization="" in="" india="" introducing="" li="" of="" routine="" rubella-containing="" states="" the="" vaccine="" years="">
  • MR vaccine will be available for administration under the routine immunization (RI) programme after the completion of MR Campaign.
Who should be vaccinated?
  • All children who have completed 9 months of age and are below 15 years of age regardless of previous vaccination status with measles/rubella vaccine and regardless of measles/rubella infection in the past

  • Every child who is eligible for either 1st dose or 2nd dose of measles vaccine in his/her RI schedule will be provided with combined MR vaccine .

  • Malnourished children should be vaccinated on a priority basis, as they are more likely to have complications like diarrhea and pneumonia

  • Children with minor illnesses such as mild respiratory infection, diarrhea, and low grade fever

  • Even those children who have documentation of receiving one dose of Measles/MMR at 9 months and/or MMR at 15 and/or again at 4-6 years MUST also be offered this vaccine!!
Where will the children be vaccinated?
  • From fixed posts only. No house-to-house vaccination

  • During the first week in schools

  • Non-school-going and left out children will be vaccinated in the following two weeks in fixed outreach sessions and mobile posts in villages and urban areas

  • If, at any place, 4 or >4 children have been found missed during Rapid Convenience Monitoring, the MR campaign activity should be repeated in the area during fourth week of the MR campaign to cover these missed children.
Why MR and not MMR (measles, mumps & rubella) vaccination?
  • Though IAP has strongly recommended inclusion of MMR instead of MR in UIP, the Government of India (GoI) still do not consider mumps as a serious public health problem in the country. Therefore only MR vaccine is being introduced.
 
 
  
Dr. Anupam Sachdeva
PresidentIAP 2017
Dr. Bakul Jayant Parekh
Hon. Secretary General

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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Doing Nothing And Doing It Well, Not Easy, guest post from Dr Gunreddy, docplexus

At the risk of trivializing my profession, the majority of patients seen by pediatricians would be just fine without us. When I first discovered this, I was somewhat disappointed. But then, I realized this doesn’t mean that pediatricians are irrelevant. On the contrary, one of a pediatrician’s primary responsibilities is reassuring parents about normal or mildly abnormal conditions. A couple of weeks ago, I took care of a 12-month-old boy with a cough. He had been seen by three other doctors over the last two days. Initially, he was seen by his pediatrician, who told his mother that it was “just a virus” and that his symptoms would go away on their own. Unsatisfied with this answer, she left the pediatrician’s office and drove immediately to another care facility, where they told her that her son had pneumonia, and he started on an antibiotic. The next day, he was coughing more. So his mother took him to a different Doc care facility, where a second antibiotic was started. On the third day, she brought the child to the pediatric emergency where I worked. She was very concerned that his cough was worsening, despite the two antibiotics he was on. She was worried that he had now developed diarrhea, in addition to his primary symptoms. And more than anything, she was irate that his pediatrician had done “nothing.” Everything about his history and physical exam screamed: “bronchiolitis” (a common viral respiratory infection in young children that does, in fact, go away on its own). Worsening over the first three to four days is precisely what I would expect from this illness. And more than likely, his diarrhea was a result of the antibiotics he was on. As far as bronchiolitis cases go, his was mild. He was eating well and breathing comfortably just coughing a lot and dripping snot everywhere. According to the most current treatment guidelines, he truly needed nothing but nasal suction and maybe a humidifier. Eventually, I was able to explain all of this to his mother, convince her that he would be better, even without the antibiotics, and arrange follow-up with his pediatrician the following day. But it took time. Doing “nothing” and doing it well, isn’t easy. In reality, doing “nothing” involves quite a bit of work. Choosing to do “nothing” presumably involves the doctor listening to the patient’s symptoms, gathering relevant details, performing a physical exam and reaching the conclusion that no further testing or treatment is warranted. In many cases, doing “nothing” is the most appropriate course of action. And in these cases, doing more would place the patient at risk for harm from unnecessary tests or treatments (like my patient’s diarrhea or worse, a life-threatening allergic reaction to a medication). But providing this reassurance requires a great deal of knowledge about those things that would be more concerning. Vomiting could be due to a viral illness, a head injury, a bowel obstruction or new-onset diabetes (among many other possibilities). A fever could be caused by a self-limited illness or an overwhelming infection. Doing “nothing” involves discerning the sometimes subtle differences between the common and the complex, sorting out the few who really need us from the many who don’t. And it requires a level of confidence sufficient to send the patient home, knowing that being wrong could have disastrous results. Most people who seek medical care for themselves or their children especially in emergency settings expect testing or treatment. After all, if they thought that doing nothing would be sufficient, many of them would have stayed home. Convincing them that they don’t need these things, and effectively explaining why can require far more time than simply writing the prescription. Many physicians today, due to a shortage of time or concerns about low patient satisfaction scores, over-diagnose, and over-prescribe to avoid this situation altogether. But a doctor who always gives patients what they want either has remarkably well-informed patients, or practices poor medicine. “Doing no harm” frequently means doing nothing at all. But doing “nothing” well is more than saying “it’s just a virus.” It requires expertise, confidence, and communication and it’s much easier if the doctor has already developed a relationship of trust with the patient or family. The doctor must know enough to make an accurate diagnosis (or at least rule out the scary ones) when working with children, this means having sufficient training and experience with childhood illnesses. The diagnosis should be explained to the family in a way that they can understand. The family should know what to expect, what changes would be truly concerning, and what to do if one of those concerning things happens. They should leave the visit understanding why “nothing” was done and ideally, being grateful for a doctor that cares enough to do nothing. Please share your experiences in this context.

Copyright 2017 © Docplexus

Friday, January 06, 2017

Should You Be Taking a Multivitamin?

Written by Michelle Burington, Dietetic Intern, OSF Saint Francis Medical Center
Did you know that one in every three Americans takes a dietary supplement? The pill popping popularity along with the abundance of vitamin and mineral supplements lined up along grocery store shelves might make you start to wonder if you need to take one too. These bottles tout alluring health claims, which may have you thinking your diet isn’t doing its job. The fact of the matter is, if you are generally healthy and eating an overall well balanced diet, it is likely that you do not need to take a multivitamin. However, if you fall into any of the following categories, you may benefit from a daily multivitamin or another dietary supplement.
You are:
  • An older adult (50+)
  • Vegetarian or vegan
  • Pregnant or are trying to become pregnant
  • Breastfeeding
  • A competitive athlete
  • Restricting your diet to less than 1,600 calories per day or eliminating whole food groups
  • Unable to eat, digest or absorb certain foods for any reason (allergies, intolerances, celiac disease, ulcerative colitis, or other medical conditions)
If you don’t fall into any these categories, but are still thinking about taking a multivitamin for “insurance,” there are a few things you should consider before buying:
  • Look for a reputable brand from a well-known manufacturer.
  • Since supplements are not regulated in the United States, buy from companies that voluntarily submit their products to be tested for quality and purity before they are sold in stores (look for Consumer Lab Approved, USP Verified or NSF Certified on the label).
     
  • Check the label to make sure there aren’t any vitamins or minerals that far exceed 100% of the recommended daily value.
  • Consider your age and gender. For example: women need more iron, and older adults need more vitamin D, B12, and calcium. Some multivitamins are specially formulated to fit these needs.
Another factor to consider is the form of your multivitamin. Some forms that are available include gummies, chewable tablets, capsules and liquid vitamins. What is the difference, you ask? One difference is how fast you absorb the vitamins. Liquid vitamins are the most easily absorbed, but they are also the most expensive and have a shorter shelf life than chewable tablets or capsules. On the contrary, gummy vitamins are absorbed slower and generally have lower concentrations of vitamins and minerals per gummy, so you don’t get as much bang for your buck (You have to take two gummies for every one capsule or chewable tablet to get the same amount). With gummy vitamins, it is also important to remember that they are just that, vitamins. The tempting taste might make you want to have more than just two, but when consumed in high amounts, they can be harmful to your health.
Studies reviewing the effects of taking a daily multivitamin have shown that they can fill vitamin and mineral gaps when your diet is poor, but there don’t seem to be any long term benefits for otherwise healthy individuals (such as longer lifespan). Instead, it is best to include a wide variety of nutrient-rich foods to promote optimal health and reduce your risk for chronic diseases.
If you are still worried you are not getting all the nutrients you need, talk to a dietitian about strategies to modify your diet to maximize your intake of essential vitamins and minerals and reap the benefits of a nutritious diet.
References
  • Bruso, Jessica. “Absorption of Gummy Vitamins Vs. Chewables.” LIVESTRONG.COM, Leaf Group, 11 June 2015, www.livestrong.com/article/443399-absorption-of-gummy-vitamins-vs-chewables/.
  • “Choosing the Right Multivitamin Supplement For You.” Consumer Reports, Sept. 2010, www.consumerreports.org/cro/2012/05/multivitamins/index.htm.
  • Denny, Sharon. “Vitamins, Minerals and Supplements: Do You Need to Take Them?” Eat Right, The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 7 Jan. 2016, www.eatright.org/resource/food/vitamins-and-supplements/dietary-supplements/vitamins-minerals-and-supplements.
  • “Dietary Supplement Advice.” Eat Right, The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 28 Jan. 2014, www.eatright.org/resource/food/vitamins-and-supplements/dietary-supplements/dietary-supplements.
  • “Dietary Supplements: What You Need to Know.” Family Doctor, American Academy of Family Physicians, Feb. 2014, familydoctor.org/dietary-supplements-what-you-need-to-know/.
  • “Multivitamin/Mineral Supplements Fact Sheet For Health Professionals.” National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 8 July 2015, ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/MVMS-HealthProfessional/.
  • “Position of the American Dietetic Association: Nutrient Supplementation.” The Journal of the American Dietetic Association, vol. 109, no. 12, Dec. 2009, pp. 2073–2085. doi:10.1016/j.jada.2009.10.020.
  • “Practice Paper of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Selecting Nutrient-Dense Foods for Good Health.” The Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, vol. 116, no. 9, Sept. 2016, pp. 1473–1479. doi:10.1016/j.jand.2016.06.375.
  • Tadlock, Lindsay. “What Is the Difference Between Chewable Vitamins &Amp; Capsules?” LIVESTRONG.COM, Leaf Group, 30 June 2015, www.livestrong.com/article/322192-what-is-the-difference-between-chewable-vitamins-capsules/.
  • Zelman, Kathleen M. “How to Choose a Multivitamin Supplement.” Edited by Elizabeth Ward, WebMD Ask the Nutritionist, WebMD, www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/nutrition-vitamins-11/choose-multivitamin?page=1.
Ashley Simper

Author: Ashley Simper

Born and raised in Peoria, IL, Ashley Simper has been the Community and Outpatient dietitian at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center since 2006. She represents dietitians working in the media and is the Central Illinois Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Media Spokesperson.