Category: Health

Signs of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Children and Teens

Posted on May 21, 2014 by No Comments

If you’re like most people, you probably associate Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) with military veterans returning from service in a combat zone.

However, PTSD is an anxiety disorder that some people may experience after living through any sort of  traumatic event. This includes physical abuse, sexual abuse, a natural disaster, or even the sudden death of a loved one.

It is important to realize that PTSD can occur at any age. In fact, because their brains are still developing and they have not yet developed strong coping mechanisms for dealing with a personal crisis, children may be even more vulnerable to PTSD after experiencing traumatic events.

Signs a child may need help include bedwetting, acting out in school, refusal to speak, or being unusually clingy with parents and other trusted caregivers.

In older children, teenagers, or adults, the following symptoms may indicate a person is suffering from PTSD if they are occurring regularly more than six to eight weeks after the traumatic triggering event:

  • Flashbacks
  • Bad dreams
  • Angry outbursts
  • Changes in appetite
  • Loss of pleasure in daily activities
  • Feelings of extreme guilt
  • Feelings of emotional numbness

Cognitive behavioral therapy, in which patients learn ways to cope with triggering events, is the most common form of treatment for PTSD. Play therapy may also be used to help very young children process their emotions after a traumatic event.

The most common medications prescribed for PTSD are the antidepressants sertraline (Zoloft) and paroxetine (Paxil), but most physicians are reluctant to prescribe medication for young children due to the potential for long term side effects.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Symptoms of Baby Yeast Infection

Posted on May 9, 2014 by 2 Comments

During my daughter’s first six months, I had strep throat twice and had to take antibiotics. Since she was breastfed, she received antibiotics via my breast milk. When I noticed tiny little white spots that looked like tiny curds of cottage cheese in her mouth, I wondered what it was and tried to remove them with my finger but couldn’t. That’s when I learned it was a harmless yeast infection known as thrush.

Symptoms of Baby Yeast Infection

Yeast infections often occur after a baby has had a round of antibiotics and symptoms can vary depending on where it shows up on your baby’s skin. Thrush shows up in the mouth, but a yeast infection can also show up as a form of diaper rash that’s bright red.

If you suspect your baby has a yeast infection, talk to your pediatrician. Thrush symptoms are treated with an anti-yeast liquid medicine, and the diaper rash yeast infection is treated with an anti-fungal cream.

Triggers

Everyone has yeast in their body. It’s a normal part of our digestive system. It thrives in wet environments and that’s why yeast infections thrive in the mouth and diaper area. Antibiotics kill good bacteria which keep the growth of yeast in check. Without that bacteria, yeast grows abundantly and it leads to an imbalance that results in a yeast infection.

  • Hormonal changes that occur right after birth can trigger an overgrowth of yeast in your baby’s mouth.
  • Antibiotics taken by baby or breastfeeding moms can also trigger a case of thrush.
  • Some infants are exposed to Candida infections during the birthing process.
  • Babies can also get Candida from close contact with other family members who have Candida.

It didn’t happen to be, but I also learned thrush can be passed back and forth between breastfeeding moms and baby, resulting in a painful yeast infection on your nipples. If this happens, see your doctor for treatment.

Photo credits: brooklyn skinny

Diet During Pregnancy Can Alter Baby’s DNA

Posted on May 6, 2014 by 2 Comments

We all know that eating healthy during pregnancy is important, and that how we eat during those nine months can have an effect on our child’s long-term health. But now a report issued by scientists at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine links what a mom is eating before she conceives and at the time of conception to altering a baby’s genes permanently.

The study was published in Nature Communications and is the first such study to connect environmental factors during the first few days of development and long-term changes in DNA. The research did not study how these genetic changes influence overall fetal development or the baby’s health later in life. Instead, research studied the umbilical cord tissue from 237 individuals and analyzed six genes and their interaction between prenatal environment.

The findings of this research, along with evidence gathered through other studies which have shown similar types of genetic changes, may be used in the future to determine a child’s risk for some diseases including autism, diabetes, and mental disorders.

I had actually seen a man talking on one of the morning talk shows about how we may be able to insert a gene to correct some of these issues in the future. I’m not really in favor of inserting foreign genes into a child…at least not at the moment. It smells too much like genetic engineering.

This study isn’t talking about doing that. It’s just looking at the building blocks of genes and whether they are turned on or off in the earliest stages of pregnancy. According to the findings of this study, how moms ate during these early stages made a difference in the micronutrients in the blood stream.

While the research teams couldn’t pinpoint which micronutrients were most important, they did find that when several of these nutrients, including vitamin B2 were lower, the six genes being looked at had less methylation.

Why is this important? DNA methylation is vital to healthy growth and development. It plays a role in genomic imprinting, carcinogenesis and the inhibition of repetitive elements. It also enables the expression of potentially dangerous sequences of DNA to be suppressed.

Now as a mom of a child who has learning challenges, it makes me wonder if I could have done something differently. But as soon as I thought it, I let it go. The past is the past, and I can’t change that. However, for all those out there thinking of getting pregnant, instead of thinking of eating for two, think about eating for the one who is developing! It may make a life-long difference.

Photo credits: Wikipedia

Link Round-up: Recipes, Tin Can Luminaries, No-Sew Curtains, and More

Posted on Apr 24, 2014 by No Comments

Today’s link round-up offers herb infused balms, home projects, recipes, and more.

Crafts Unleashed showed us how to make tin can luminaries.

Henry Happened shared some herb-infused balm ideas for healing, soothing, headaches, and more.

Tater Tots and Jello gave us 20 great ideas for colorful home projects.

link ru curtains
A Beautiful Mess shared the how-to for easy no-sew curtains.

Over the Big Moon taught us how to make homemade orange rolls.

The Ribbon Retreat taught us how to make a looped ribbon birthday photo wreath.

Positively Splendid shared a brownie trifle recipe.

Photo credit: Crafts Unleashed and A Beautiful Mess

Fluoride in Baby Formula Can Harm Developing Teeth

Posted on Apr 18, 2014 by No Comments

I’m reading a book called, Kiss Your Dentist Good-bye, in an effort to improve my oral health and came across information on fluoride in baby formula. I admit, I never thought about this. The dentist who wrote this book, Dr. Ellie Phillips, talks about how fluoride is harmful to developing teeth. This was a lesson she learned the hard way.

In her book, she uses her own children as an example. Her 5 kids were born from the late 70s to 1990 and the first actually was religiously given fluoride drops. By the time her second child was born, the dosage had been reduced so the second child received less.

To make a long story short, when her oldest cut her adult teeth they had brown spots on them. When the second child cut adult teeth, they also had spots but not as severe. This condition is known as fluorosis. The younger children who didn’t receive the fluoride had no signs of this condition.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says “the proper amount of fluoride from infancy through old age helps prevent and control tooth decay. Community water fluoridation is a widely accepted practice for preventing and controlling tooth decay by adjusting the concentration of fluoride in the public water supply.” The question is what is the “proper” amount?

In her book, Dr. Ellie says, “If babies consume a fraction too much fluoride before the age of three, it may poison the cells that form healthy tooth enamel.” She goes on to say that formula manufacturers have been told to reduce the amount of fluoride in their products because of a study that showed fluoride in baby formula had been shown to result in fluorosis in varying degrees.

Another thing to consider is the amount of fluoride in your tap water, if you use it to make your baby’s formula. This can raise the amount of fluoride to an unhealthy level.

Photo credits: nerissa’s ring

No Sugar Family Challenge

Posted on Apr 17, 2014 by 1 Comment

In my quest to eat healthy, I’ve covered a lot of ground. I grew up in the Midwest in a family who thought every meal included meat, a starch and a vegetable. When I got married I ventured into cooking ethnic foods, and expanded my palate. Then I lived as a vegetarian for about a decade and learned a whole new way of cooking.

During that time, I cut out most refined foods and learned how to eat desserts created using natural sweeteners. I even followed a mostly raw diet for a good amount of time. The thing is that during my time as a vegetarian, I reached my highest all-time weight. In fact, I surpassed my full-term pregnancy weight by 30 pounds.

I returned to eating meat, about seven years ago, when I had someone offer me their extra venison. Since then I’ve gradually added meat back into my diet. Last year my diet turned low carb, and I’ve reached a “normal” weight, but I’ve gradually let the sugar back in and I can see if I’m not careful, I’ll end up with an unhealthy BMI, again.

Finding Motivation

I don’t know about you, but I need a certain amount of motivation to say no to cookies…or ice cream. I recently read a story about a family of four who all agreed to give up all forms of sugar for a year. I mean ALL kinds of sugar including things like agave and honey. The mom wanted to see how hard it would be to cut anything with added sweetener (even artificial sweeteners) from their diet for a year!

In my diet experience, I’ve made it for six months with no sugar when I followed the Prism Diet and I lost all my extra weight. For that diet, I didn’t eat anything that had sugar within the first four ingredients. As soon as I turned back to foods with added sugar, the pounds gradually snuck up on me again.

Why oh why do I go back to eating the stuff that pushes my BMI into the unhealthy range!

The mom who gave up all sugar for a year was surprised at how much better she felt and the renewed energy she experienced. I had felt the same way! Her kids’ school absences dropped from 15 days a year to two. And now that the year is up, they continue to eat little sugar with dessert saved for special occasions.

Her story has me toying with the idea of cutting out sugar…again. And this time, I’d love the whole family to join me. The thing is, my goal is to find balance. I don’t really want to cut any one food group out totally, but is sugar really a food?

Photo credits: wikimedia

Is Fruit Juice Really a Healthy Beverage Choice?

Posted on Apr 9, 2014 by No Comments

Fruit juice may seem like a healthier alternative to soda, but did you know that even 100% juice blends are high in sugar content and can provide up to three times the sugar and calories as whole fruits?

It’s true that fruit juices do contain some vitamins and minerals, but overall you’re much better off just encouraging everyone in your family to just snack on whole fruit.

Here’s an interesting infographic from the Pritikin Longevity Center illustrating the differences in calories, nutrients, and sugar obtained from consuming whole fruits vs. fruit juice.

juice-illusion

Kids Health says that water and milk are the best beverage choices for children of all ages. But, even kids get sick of drinking the same thing all the time.

When my son was little, our pediatrician told us to water down his fruit juice so it was about half water and half juice. This kept the number of calories and the amount of sugar he was consuming in check while having the added benefit of keeping our grocery budget under control.

We did this until he started kindergarten and had his first taste of full flavored juice. Once he realized what we were doing, we had to just limit juice to a once in a while beverage.

Another option, if you’re looking for a better beverage choice for your child, is to try one of the many flavored water products on the market. These are appealing to most kids, although they also have a potential drawback. If your child drinks flavored water exclusively, you might find that he or she ends up trying to avoid plain water at all costs.

What types of beverages do your children drink?

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Eight Month Old, 44 Pound Baby Put on Diet

Posted on Mar 26, 2014 by 1 Comment

Eight-month-old Santiago Medoza of Colombia weighs in at 44 pounds. That’s more than double the median weight for his age according to the American Academy of Pediatrics growth charts.

Watching his mother carry him, I can’t imagine the strain on her own body lifting and toting such a heavy baby. It would be like carrying a five or six year old. And with those folds of fat, I wonder if he can even crawl.

His obesity has led to medical complications and hospitalization on several occasions, too. Doctors with the charity, Chubby Hearts Foundation, have intervened and hope to get him down to 17 pounds by weaning him off formula and adding fruits and vegetables to his diet.

44 Pound Baby
Santiago’s mother, Eunice Fandino, is worried about her child’s obesity and she is the one who reached out for help from the Chubby Hearts Foundation.

She said, “I don’t want him to continue like this so, God willing, the treatment they’re going to give him for his heart will work to reduce his weight.” The Chubby Hearts Foundation has agreed to work with the baby and his parents. One surgeon has said, “Likely what he will need is a long-term treatment, education, healthy food, and when he is older, physical activity.”

How did Santiago get to be so big? His mother admits it was through her own “ignorance.” In her explanation she said “he was born with an anxiety, so if he cried I just fed him.” It led to a habit of giving him milk or food every time he cried to calm him down.

Santiago is Colombia’s most obese baby—a distinction no parent wants for their child. He was flown from his home in the northeastern city of Valledupar to the capital Bogota, where specialists will evaluate his condition and begin his treatment to get him to a healthy weight.

Photo credits: Diead Rİbelly

Guess What’s In Your Herbal Supplement

Posted on Mar 21, 2014 by 2 Comments

I count myself among the 40 percent of Americans who have tried an herbal supplement. In fact, I have some supplements that are a regular part of what I consider a healthy lifestyle.

When I read a recent study that shows that some of these plant-based supplements are composed of cheap fillers like soy, rice, or wheat, and can actually contain weeds or potentially harmful contaminants it makes me angry. Many of us read ingredient lists with a purpose!

For this study, scientists from the University of Guelph in Ontario tested 44 popular herbal supplements which are sold by 12 different companies in the U.S. and Canada. In all, one third of the supplements contained none of the plant extracts listed on the label.

That is really sad. That means one in three samples were useless and cheat people of their hard-earned money. Plus people turning to an herbal remedy might think it didn’t work for them, when in fact they haven’t even tried it. This offers a possible explanation for why some herb brands work better than others.

Fifty-nine percent of the samples were contaminated with plants not listed in the ingredients including some considered toxic or allergy producing along with additional substances that could prove to be hazardous. Out of the 12 companies whose supplements were tested, only two of them offered genuine products free from substitutions, fillers, or contaminants.

The fact that 2 out 12 companies offered quality products is a sad fact.

The researchers offer a solution to such scamming, aside from regulation. “We suggest that the herbal industry should embrace DNA barcoding for authenticating herbal products through testing of raw materials used in manufacturing products. The use of an SRM DNA herbal barcode library for testing bulk materials could provide a method for ‘best practices’ in the manufacturing of herbal products. This would provide consumers with safe, high quality herbal products.”

Photo credits: Ano Lobb

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