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The Children's Wellness Blog

Facts Parents Should Know about Chickenpox

July 21, 2017

When most of today’s parents were children, chickenpox was almost seen as a rite of passage. By the age of nine, nearly every child had endured a week or two of discomfort at the hands of chickenpox and most came through the other side unscathed, but sadly, some children did develop much more serious complications. Fortunately, chickenpox is now a much rarer occurrence thanks to a highly effective and safe vaccine. Still, it’s an illness every parent should keep an eye out for, so our board-certified pediatricians have compiled this helpful guide with everything you need to know about chickenpox.

07.10.17 Facts Parents Should Know about Chickenpox

Keeping your child healthy involves a combination of practices, like avoiding contagious people when possible, keeping up with your child’s recommended immunization schedule, and instilling general good health habits so your child’s immune system is always at the top of its game. Plus, last but not least, educating yourself about illnesses your kids might face will help you know how to react and when to seek medical attention. If you have questions about chickenpox or anything else regarding your kids’ health, give us a call or schedule an appointment on the Children’s Wellness Center patient portal. For more kids’ health tips, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

CWC’s Dr. Segal and Dr. Mekelburg Named Among Atlanta’s Top Doctors

July 17, 2017

atlanta top children's doctors 2017At Children’s Wellness Center, simply seeing the joy on our patients’ faces (and their parents’ faces) is enough to tell us that our pediatricians are the best in the biz. But now it’s official, because our own Dr. Julie Segal and Dr. Kirsten Mekelburg have been named among Atlanta’s top physicians in the latest issue of Atlanta magazine.

Each July, Atlanta publishes a list of some of the most well-respected and qualified doctors in the Atlanta area. The list itself is compiled by an independent organization called Castle Connolly. This company focuses solely on identifying the top doctors throughout the country by surveying other physicians as well as conducting their own reviews and investigations. Well-respected doctors throughout the US are invited to nominate the physicians they most respect in any number of specialties, from general physicians to oncologists. The doctors that have been nominated (including Dr. Segal and Dr. Mekelburg this year) are then evaluated by a physician led panel. After studying each nominee’s education and experiential background, patient feedback, contributions to the field of medicine, and more, Castle Connolly’s panel selects those they feel are most worthy of “Top Doctor” status. With such an extensive review process, we are truly honored by Dr. Segal and Dr. Mekelburg’s prestigious awards.

While they need no introduction if you’re already one of their many pediatric patients, Dr. Segal and Dr. Mekelburg both have impressive achievements and educational experiences that make them the exceptional doctors they are. While they are both board-certified pediatricians and Fellows of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Dr. Segal has been in the Atlanta area since her undergraduate and medical school training at Emory University, while Dr. Mekelburg came to Emory University for her residency after completing her undergraduate and medical school training in Michigan. Both are active in the community even beyond their work at Children’s Wellness Center. Dr. Segal is on the advisory board for Community Friendship, Inc., a nonprofit psychiatric rehabilitation facility in Atlanta, and Dr. Mekelburg serves as the Community Physician Liaison for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s Outpatient and Inpatient Rehabilitation Team in addition to serving as a Clinical Instructor of Pediatrics at Emory University School of Medicine.

The honor of this Top Doctors award is a great one, but it’s also not our first. Children’s Wellness Center has a track record of our excellent providers receiving distinctive awards. Not only did Dr. Mekelburg and Dr. Segal receive this same award from Castle Connolly and Atlanta magazine last year, but our own Dr. Gary Loventhal and Dr. Mekelburg were also named among Atlanta’s top doctors in Atlanta Parent last year as well. We take great pride in offering the best possible care to our patients, and it’s exciting when other physicians, parents, and professionals agree.

At Children’s Wellness Center, all of our board-certified pediatricians and other providers are motivated each day by the joy of keeping all of our patients healthy and happy. Awards like these are simply icing on the cake, letting us all know that other doctors respect our excellent physicians just as much as we do. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Segal, Dr. Mekelburg, or any of our other exceptional providers, contact us or access the Children’s Wellness Center patient portal. Or, to keep up with all our doctors’ achievements as well as all the latest health tips for parents and more, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Camping Safety Tips for Parents

July 3, 2017

Camping Safety Tips for ParentsEvery family needs to take a break from their daily hustle and bustle every once in a while, and everyone does this in a different way. For some families, camping can be an enjoyable and refreshing way to spend a vacation. But before you hop into your RV or tent, our pediatricians at Children’s Wellness Center have a few tips to help you keep your kids safe and healthy on your family camping trip.

  • Take plenty of preparation time to learn about the area where you’re going. If you’re not an experienced camper, try starting with day trips and working your way up to a weekend or a full week.
  • Especially during summers in the South, be mindful of the heat. It’s easy for kids to get overheated, so if you plan to enjoy hiking during your trip, plan your hikes in the early morning or evening when the sun is cooler. When the heat is at its peak (10am – 4pm), spend most of your time in the shade. At all times of the day, practice good sun safety for kids.
  • Teach your children safety measures in case they get lost on a hike. For example:
    • Give them a whistle and teach them the universal signal for help (three blows).
    • Teach them how to identify landmarks on the trail. Every so often while you’re hiking, have them turn around and look at the trail they’ve passed, so they’re familiar with their surroundings.
    • Tell them that if they get lost, they should stop, stay where they are, and whistle/yell for help.
    • Dress kids in brightly colored clothing so they can be spotted easily.
  • Pack for all types of weather by wearing layers. Be sure to also pack clothing that protects you against rain and wind, like polyester and lycra instead of cotton. And remember, temperatures can drop significantly at night, even when it’s hot during the day, so make sure you’re prepared with a hat, fleece jacket, or other warm clothing.
  • Insect repellent can protect your child from many pests’ bites and stings, but there are special considerations when you’re using it for children. For all the details, check out our blog about how to use insect repellent for kids.
  • If you’re in an area where ticks are common, tuck the bottoms of your children’s pants into their socks to help keep the ticks from biting. Even with this extra measure, though, you still need to use insect repellent and to check your child for ticks at the end of each day.
  • Be mindful of the animals that live in your camping area. Here are a few tips:
    • Before your trip, research the wildlife in the area where you’ll be camping. Learn their habits, how to avoid disturbing their homes, and what to do if you encounter them.
    • When you’re looking for a place to make camp, survey the area and look for signs that you could be in a highly-traveled area for animals. For instance, bears may be attracted to areas with a lot of berries. You should also look out for evidence of insect nests in the area.
    • Teach your children about the wildlife they may see, and tell them to never approach or try to feed an animal they don’t know.
  • If you’ll be enjoying a lake, river, or other body of water during your camping trip, make sure you have adequate life jackets that are approved by the US Coast Guard. These life jackets will be marked, and they’ll be listed as type 1, type 2, type 3, or type 4. Type 1 is the best option, while type 4 provides the least protection. In addition to having life jackets that fit your kids well, be sure to follow our other water safety tips.
  • Bring your own bottled water. Natural sources of water are often contaminated, so if your supply runs out and you need to drink from a natural source, have a water filter and/or dissolvable iodine tablets. Teach your children to never drink directly from a natural water source.
  • Teach your children what poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac look like, and explain that these plants should not be touched. If your kids do come into contact with one of these plants, wash the area with cool water immediately.
  • Explain to your children that even though berries they see in nature might look like the ones you buy from the grocery store, they might be very dangerous, so they should never eat them. Bring plenty of healthy snacks for kids so they’re less tempted.
  • Kids are particularly prone to scrapes and bruises, so be sure to bring a well-supplied first aid kit.
  • If you’re traveling in an RV, remember that your children should use seat belts and car seats at all times when the RV is moving, just like you would in a passenger vehicle.

In our modern era of technological saturation, camping can feel like a breath of fresh air (quite literally). Just be sure to prepare and educate yourself beforehand in order to make your family’s vacation as safe and enjoyable as it can be. For other pre-camping safety questions or to schedule a well check visit for your child before your vacation, contact Children’s Wellness Center. Plus, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Health and Safety Tips for Parents of Adolescents

June 29, 2017

Health and Safety Tips for Parents of AdolescentsAs your children get older and enter the stage of adolescence, they become more and more independent. But, as anyone who has parented teenagers will agree, that doesn’t mean that your job gets easier. At Children’s Wellness Center (CWC), we’re dedicated to keeping your kids safe and healthy throughout all stages of their development, so we’ve gathered a list of tips to help you protect your teenager.

Health Tips

  • Although it’s popular for teens to want a suntan, do not allow them to tan purposefully or to use a tanning bed. You should also demonstrate and enforce healthy sun protection for both boys and girls. Starting these habits at a young age will help your kids to carry them into adulthood.
  • For girls, explain to them that tampons should be changed every three to four hours. If a tampon is left in for too long, it can cause toxic shock syndrome with potentially very serious complications.
  • Sleep is highly important for your teen’s health as well as his/her ability to perform well in school, extracurricular activities, etc. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 8-10 hours of sleep for teenagers. But you should also keep in mind that teens’ sleep-wake cycles will shift as they get older, so they naturally stay awake later. Help your teen enjoy better sleep by creating a healthy sleep environment (lacking electronic devices like TVs and tablets), keeping them active enough during the day to tire them out by the end of the night, and making sure that they have enough time to get all their homework, chores, and other responsibilities done and still get a good night’s sleep.
  • Teens are at particularly high risk for meningococcal diseases (including meningitis). Keep their pediatric vaccines up-to-date, and speak with your pediatrician at Children’s Wellness Center about the two available types of vaccines at your teen’s next well check.
  • Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is important for both the physical health and the mental health of your teen. Parents of teens need to be particularly concerned not only about their children being overweight but also about teens developing eating disorders and becoming underweight. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) offers a number of teen nutrition tips to help you enforce healthy eating habits.

Safety Tips

  • Maintain open communication lines with your child about drugs and alcohol. As much as you may trust your child, you can’t always control the situations they find themselves in, so help them understand why they should say “no” and how to get out of these tempting or dangerous scenarios.
  • Get to know your child’s friends as well as those friends’ parents, so that you know how to make sure your child will be in a safe and supervised environment.
  • Adolescence offers an entirely new set of potential dangers at home, so review our home safety tips for adolescents so you can make sure your house is a safe haven.
  • When your teen begins driving, establish a set of very specific rules, including when they can and cannot drive, whether they need to text you when they arrive at their destination, where they need to put their cell phones and other devices so they don’t use them while they are driving, and more. With all of the temptation for distraction on your teen’s cell phone, one of the most important rules to establish is that your teen is not to use their phone while driving. Not only is this illegal in Georgia, but it dramatically increases the risk of an accident, especially for inexperienced drivers. Explore the websites of organizations like the Georgia Department of Driver Services and the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety in Georgia for more teen driving safety tips.

Mental Health Tips

  • The adolescent brain is very different from that of an adult. Educate yourself about the hormonal and physiological changes your teenager is going through so that you can understand their behavior and how to communicate with them.
  • Maintain a relationship with your child which makes them feel like they can talk to you candidly about anything that may be bothering them. Here are a few tips to help you communicate and build trust with your teen:
    • Make a point to just listen as a friend and confidante. Turn off your “parent radar” for a moment, and listen and empathize rather than reacting too quickly with judgment or restriction.
    • Don’t go too far empathizing. You want to show your teen that you understand and sympathize, but if you get overly emotional, it may just make your teenager more upset. Instead, keep calm and be the voice of reason.
    • Stay rational. Teens have a tendency to over-dramatize, but when your child comes to you, he/she wants to have a calm discussion with reason, so keep an even keel.
  • Be observant of your teen’s behavior and keep an eye out for signs of emotional issues, such as:
    • Excessive sleeping
    • Low self-esteem
    • Loss of interest in the hobbies and activities they used to enjoy
    • Significant weight loss and/or loss of appetite
    • Sudden and dramatic changes in personality
    • Sudden drop in academic performance
  • Be mindful of your teen’s media usage. Social media in particular can have a strong impact on your teen’s physical and mental health. Talk to your teen about the difference between how things are presented online and how they are in reality. You can also take other safety tips:
    • Keep your teen’s profiles “private” so they can only be seen by people your teen chooses to connect with.
    • Educate your teen about personal info they should not be posting, like their phone number, address, social security number, etc.
    • Keep a close eye on what your teen posts, and make sure he/she knows what content is appropriate to share and what is not.

Parenting a teenager requires a delicate balance—they still need supervision and guidance, but it’s also important that you help them learn how to be independent and prepare them for adult life. If you have any other questions about your teenager’s health and/or safety, give us a call at Children’s Wellness Center. Or, to schedule an appointment, log into our convenient pediatric patient portal, available 24/7.