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The Children's Wellness Blog

New Flu Vaccination Guidelines for Children in 2016

September 23, 2016

new-flu-vaccination-guidelines-for-children-in-2016Flu season is approaching and that means it’s time for parents to brush up on recent flu developments and available treatments for the virus. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently updated their annual flu season guidelines for the 2016-17 flu season. We at Children’s Wellness Center consider the AAP to be a consistently dependable, vital resource in the field of children’s medicine and recommend adhering to these new guidelines.

Updated annually, the AAP flu guidelines are an extremely valuable resource to parents trying to keep their kids healthy through the long flu season. These guidelines provide recommendations on when treatments for children should be administered, as well as how often (depending on a child’s age and vaccination history). There are also specific updates about which immunizations are available and recommended this season.

The AAP stated that immunizations remain the best available preventive measure against the flu virus and recommend that all children (starting at 6 months of age) receive a seasonal flu shot during the 2016-17 season. Children between 6 months and 8 years may need 2 doses per season, depending on their immunization history. Kids 9 years or older will only need 1 dose. Additionally, they recommend that vaccinations should be administered by the end of October, though it’s never too late. Flu immunizations are currently available at Children’s Wellness Center now. Immunizations may continue to be offered until June 30th, effectively marking the end of the flu season.

Perhaps the most surprising development in these new guidelines is the AAP withdrawing their recommendation for FluMist. This vaccination, taken in the form of a nasal spray, became a popular alternative to flu shots in recent years for parents who preferred to avoid injections for their children. Unfortunately, the AAP and the Center for Disease Control have mutually agreed that FluMist did not effectively protect against certain strains of the flu that were prominent during the past three seasons.

We understand that thinking about this kind of stuff can be unsettling for parents, but information is crucial in the fight against the flu and we at Children’s Wellness Center are happy to provide it. If you have questions or concerns about flu shots or would like to schedule an appointment for your child please contact Children’s Wellness Center at (404) 303-1314. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter & YouTube for more information and updates.

Instilling Healthy Sleep Habits in Preschoolers

September 7, 2016

Instilling Healthy Sleep Habits in PreschoolersSleep is a massively important component to the development and general wellness of young children. Think of it like this: if a child is a machine and his or her brain is the battery powering the machine, then sleep is the power that recharges the battery and allows the machine to properly function. For preschoolers, between 10-13 hours of daily sleep is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. This can include daytime naps. The quality of your child’s rest is as important as the amount of it they are getting. It’s essential for your child to get deep, uninterrupted sleep. Instilling a routine with your child to help them develop a steady, consistent sleep pattern is essential.

Healthy sleep enables children to function at their highest levels, a state known as optimal alertness. Optimal alertness is the key to preschoolers maximizing their attention span and learning. Conversely, a lack of quality sleep often leads to sluggishness and poor performance in the classroom. A lack of adequate sleep at an early age can lead to symptoms of ADHD and other behavioral disorders. Additionally, sleep contributes to the overall physical health of a child by promoting growth and helping build the strength to fight off harmful bacteria like cold and flu germs.

Parents are largely responsible for their young child’s sleep habits so it is important to be diligent and instill good sleep habits in kids while they’re young. After all, it’s much easier to create good habits in kids than it is to fix bad ones. The following recommendations for healthy sleep can help your child live a happier, healthier life and carry on healthy sleep behaviors as they grow and develop:

Create a Bedtime Routine and Stick With it

Consistency is huge when it comes to developing a healthy sleep pattern in young children. Once you have determined an appropriate bedtime for your kids (we recommend something before 9pm), make sure to stick to it to instill regularity. Get in the habit of alerting your kids when bedtime is approaching so they may have time to unwind and get ready for bed.

Create an Ideal Sleep Environment

A child’s sleep environment should be quiet, dark, cool and comfortable to ensure optimal sleep conditions. Limit a child’s television viewing and computer time before bedtime to limit stimulation before sleep. Exposure to TV or computer screens can affect the quality and quantity of your child’s sleep, so we recommend cutting off all screens an hour before bedtime.

Promote Napping

Napping during the day can play a large role in a child receiving the necessary amount of daily rest. Be sure to time your child’s naps accordingly so they do not interfere with their night of sleep.

If you’re worried about your preschooler’s sleeping patterns, you can speak with one of the healthcare providers at Children’s Wellness Center. Sleep problems in young children can be overcome with time and attention, but spotting bad sleep habits early is essential to eliminating them. If you have questions or concerns about your child’s sleep behavior, feel free to contact us today at (404) 303-1314.

What You Need to Know Before Your Kids Sports Physical

August 23, 2016

What You Need to Know Before Your Kids Sports PhysicalStaying active and exercising is highly encouraged for kids of all ages and playing a sport is a great way to get that valuable daily exercise. With that said, not all sports or activities are right for every kid. Your child’s past injuries, certain medical conditions or other factors can potentially prevent your child from participating in certain sports. That’s why receiving a sports physical for your child is a requirement for nearly all organized team sports.

A typical sports physical entails a rundown of your child’s medical history. A patient’s medical history should include medical conditions like asthma or heart disorders before recommending whether your child is eligible to participate safely. Additionally, it is important to alert your provider at Children’s Wellness Center of all medications your child is taking.

During your child’s physical, one of our providers will measure your child’s height, weight and body mass index (BMI). The sports physical is similar to a well-child visit where we would monitor your child’s blood pressure, as well as listen to the heart rate and lungs to ensure they are all performing normally. Other components of our sports physical exam include hearing, vision, and basic strength and flexibility tests.

To help you plan, we have listed 4 questions below that every parent should consider when scheduling a sports physical for their child:

When Should I Plan for my Child’s Sports Physical?

We generally advise parents to make an appointment for their kid’s sports physical 6 weeks before the start of their respective season. This should provide plenty of time to react to a potential issue that may come up during the physical to ensure your child’s safety while playing their sport of choice. Additionally, 6 weeks should be plenty of time to make sure that all the necessary documentation is delivered to your child’s school in a timely manner. A single sports physical is valid for a full year from the exam date and will allow your child to participate in multiple sporting activities.

Do I Need to be Present for my Child’s Sports Physical?

Yes, this is mandatory. By law, parental consent is required for any minor (under 18) to have a sports physical performed. Additionally, we recommend a parent be present for filling out the necessary pediatric forms and answering questions about a child’s medical history.

Can the Sports Physical be Performed by my Pediatrician?

Absolutely! Any general care pediatrician, including the staff at Children’s Wellness Center, will certainly be up to the task. It makes sense to go to the doctor who is already familiar with your child and their medical and injury history.

Scheduling a sports physical is the first step towards a season’s worth of fun, friendship and physical exercise. If you have any questions or would like to schedule a sports physical today, contact Children’s Wellness Center at (404) 303-1314.

The Importance of Vaccinations for College Students

August 18, 2016

The Importance of Vaccinations for College StudentsIt’s never easy sending one of your kids off to college. The idea of your child leaving home for the first time can be a frightening proposition for parents. One way to help alleviate some of the stress and worry of your bird leaving the nest is to make sure you’ve done everything in your power to prepare your teen for college. This could mean anything from talking to your kids about avoiding drugs and alcohol and teaching them how to prepare healthy meals to instilling healthy habits like cleaning contaminated surfaces and getting them all the necessary vaccinations.

Immunizations are important for anyone, but especially college students living in extremely close quarters like dormitories that can be breeding grounds for dangerous bacteria and diseases. Common practices like sharing bathrooms, showers, drinks and various other personal items can make your teen extra vulnerable to these potential threats. All these factors solidify the need for proper immunizations for your teen before leaving for school.

Listed below are some of the most common vaccinations for college freshman as well as some others to consider:

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is one of the most essential vaccines for students starting college. Hepatitis B is a blood-borne infection that can be transmitted through sexual activity. The disease can cause long-term liver damage if not properly treated. Hepatitis B can be contracted through contact with bodily fluids from someone who already has it. Sharing personal hygiene items like razors or toothbrushes can also spread Hepatitis B.

Meningitis

Meningitis is an infection that causes inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. College students may be at an increased risk for contracting bacterial meningitis. If not treated, meningitis can lead to severe, permanent issues like hearing loss, brain damage or even death. Common symptoms to look out for include nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light. Both bacterial and viral meningitis are contagious and can be spread from coming into direct contact with people.

Here at Children’s Wellness Center we offer two of the more commonly-recommended meningitis vaccinations, Menactra® and Bexsero®. These vaccines work by exposing the patient to a small dose of the inactive bacteria, which causes the body to develop immunity to the disease. Both vaccines come highly recommended for college-aged students.

Additional Vaccines to Consider

All states have different vaccination requirements for college students, so keep that in mind if your teen will be attending an out-of-state school. In most states, an up-to-date Tetanus booster is required. Additionally, many colleges require immunizations for measles, mumps and rubella varicella (chickenpox). Other vaccinations we recommend for your teen include shots for Hepatitis A and Human Papillomavirus (HPV).

We can’t tell you not to worry about sending your kid off to college. After all, we know you’re only human. At least take some comfort in knowing that thanks to these immunizations, you can scratch these potentially dangerous diseases off your list of things to be concerned about while your teen is away at school. If you have any questions or concerns regarding immunizations for your child, please don’t hesitate to contact Children’s Wellness Center today at 404-303-1314.

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