Archive | Child Health Issues

A Parent’s Guide To Eye Care For Toddlers

Those warm toddler eyes are not just a window to his soul, they are also essential to his cognitive growth. Hence, it is important to take good care of them. You can do this by following this guide to eye care for toddlers.

Clean With Care

The skin around your toddler’s eyes is very thin and delicate, so you have to be very careful when washing your toddler’s face. Softly scrub, never rub around your toddler’s eyes when giving him a bath. If you see dried-up remains on your little one’s eyelashes, again do not rub it. Instead, damp a soft washcloth in lukewarm water and then lightly remove the crust. In addition, use a no-tears shampoo when washing your toddler’s hair to avoid hurting his eyes.

Make Eye Exams A Part of Your Toddler’s Check-ups

See to it that eye exams are a part of your toddler’s routine medical care. Eye examinations are very important to make sure that your toddler’s vision is in excellent condition as well as to determine possible eye defects. It is good to catch visual problems early so as not to limit your toddler’s absorption of knowledge through vision.

Observe Your Toddler

Another way you can take care of your toddler’s eyes is to keep a close eye on your little one. Observe if your little one is having trouble with his eyes. Some signs you should watch for are – frequent squinting, difficulty seeing people and things from a distance and if your toddler’s eyes look crossed at times. If you notice these symptoms, your toddler might have a vision problem and a visit to a pediatric ophthalmologist is necessary for a more thorough assessment.

Childproof Your Home

Look around your home and check if there are any items that can hurt your toddler’s eyes. Cover the sharp corners of tables with a shield cushion or edge cushion pads. Make sure that there is nothing sticking out from the walls. Remove potential eye-pokers such as pencils, pens, sticks, toys and even household cleaners. Store them in a locked container and place it in a cabinet your little one cannot access.

Shade The Eyes

The sun’s harmful UV rays can cause damage to your toddler’s eyes as well. Whenever your toddler goes outside, see to it that he is wearing a hat or a cap and toddler sunglasses to shield his peepers. Choose toddler shades with UVA and UVB protection, is unbreakable and with scratch-proof lenses. If your toddler takes part in contact sports, have him wear protective eye wear with a band to keep the eyewear in place as he runs, jumps or skips.

Teach Basic Eye Care

It also very important to teach your little one basic eye care tips for toddlers. Make it clear that he should refrain from rubbing his eyes and to never read in the dark or when the vehicle is moving. Teach your toddler how to hold books properly (at about 14 inches distance).

Reduce Screen Time

Limit the time your toddler spends in front of the TV, computer and iPad. Too much screen time is never beneficial for toddlers, not only does it impede with their development but it can also cause eye fatigue. Allow him to face the screen no more than 2 hours a day. He should be in a well lighted room and at least 3.5 meters away from the screen.

Encourage A Healthy Diet

Feed your toddler foods that are rich in beta-carotene, vitamin A, lutein and omega-3 fatty acids which help protect eyes and vision. Carrots, broccoli, spinach, apricots, kiwis, oranges, salmon and sardines are loaded with these so make sure your toddler gets his daily servings.

The eyes are two of the most active body parts. So make sure you follow this guide to eye care for toddlers so your little one can continue looking and learning things with a 20/20 vision.

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Causes, Symptoms and Treatment of Croup In Children

Croup is an infection that causes inflammation in the trachea and voice cords. This illness is common in toddlers under the age of five. Here is some information that will help parents better understand croup in children.

What causes croup?

Croup in children is usually caused by a parainfluenza virus (a respiratory virus). But, it can also be caused by allergies, bacteria and inhaled irritants. Croup is transmittable and because children still have weak immune systems, close contact (through coughing, sneezing or holding something an infected person touched) with infected people can also trigger croup.

What are the signs and symptoms?

Symptoms of croup are very similar to common cold – a runny nose, sore throat, fever and irritability. But because croup causes swelling in the throat and voice box, it changes the sound of a toddler’s cough. It develops into a loud, harsh, barking cough (similar to a seal’s bark), a hoarse voice and noisy breathing (a high-pitched breathing sound called a stridor). Croup appears after a few days of cold symptoms and gets worse in the middle of the night and if a toddler is in distress.

How is it diagnosed?

Fortunately, it is easy to detect croup. The doctor can just listen to your toddler over the phone or examine your toddler and asking about the symptoms. In addition, the doctor may place a pulse oximeter on your toddler’s earlobe, finger or toe to assess if sufficient oxygen is reaching the blood.

How is croup treated?

Croup is worst the first 2 to 3 nights but the illness usually goes away within a week. Even though your toddler’s coughing can be alarming, home remedies can treat coup. The following remedies can help ease croup:

Breathing In Moist Air

Take your little one into the bathroom, run hot water in the bath tub or shower and sit in the room for 15 to 20 minutes. The warm moist air will help reduce inflammation in the airways and make breathing easier. You can also take your toddler out into the cool night air for 10 minutes. But be sure to dress your toddler in warm clothes to keep him from feeling cold which can exacerbate croup. In addition, using a cool-mist humidifier in your toddler’s bedroom can keep his room humid and help him sleep better at night.

Staying Upright

Keep your toddler in an upright position. Have him sit on a chair or add some extra pillows to keep your toddler’s head elevated during sleep making it easier for your little one to breathe.

Fluids

Make sure your toddler is getting plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. You may offer your toddler water, chamomile tea with honey, clear soups, crushed ice drinks and popsicles frequently throughout the day.

Pain Reliever

If your doctor approves, you can give your toddler acetaminophen or ibuprofen to reduce the fever and lessen the swelling in the throat. Never give him antibiotics and cough medicine as these will be ineffective.

Keep Your Toddler Comfortable

It is very important to keep your toddler calm. Do not panic. Keep your little one relaxed by reading him stories, singing songs, cuddling and sleeping. The lesser he cries, the better he can breathe.

Croup in children is not as dangerous as it was once. But, if you notice signs of dehydration, drooling, retractions and a high fever, call 911 immediately.

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Heart Murmur In Children

A heart murmur is an unusual sound heard during a heartbeat. It sounds like a hissing, whooshing or gurgling noise. It is not uncommon for children to have one at some time or another. Here are some information to help you better understand heart murmur in children.

Types of Heart Murmurs

  • Innocent Murmurs – a harmless sound common in healthy children that is caused by blood flowing through a normal heart (no indications of a heart problem)
  • Abnormal Murmurs – a toddler with an abnormal heart murmur normally has other symptoms of a heart problem due to congenital heart defects

Who are at risk?

Toddlers with a family history of a heart disease and those who were exposed to alcohol, drugs, certain medications and illnesses (e.g. diabetes, rubella infection) while inside their mothers’ womb are at risk of developing abnormal heart murmurs.

Causes

The exact cause of innocent heart murmurs is unknown. But, according to health experts, extra blood flow through the heart can result to innocent heart murmurs. Abnormal heart murmurs are caused by congenital heart disorders such as heart valve disease, holes in the heart, rheumatic fever and endocarditis (swelling of the inner lining of the heart and valves).

Signs and Symptoms

An innocent heart murmur does not cause symptoms. However, if a toddler has an abnormal murmur, he may display the following signs:

  • Bluish skin
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Excessive sweating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Poor appetite
  • Exhaustion
  • Vertigo

How is heart murmur evaluated?

Your toddler’s doctor will check his pulse and blood pressure and use a stethoscope to listen to his heart to gauge whether a murmur is innocent or abnormal. To check the murmur, the doctor will consider the following clues – how loud it is (rated on a scale from 1 to 6, 6 being the loudest), what pitch it is (high, medium or low pitched), when it happens and for how long, where the sound is heard and if the noise changes if your toddler changes his body position.

If the doctor diagnosed the heart murmur as normal, you do not have anything to worry about and treatment is not needed. If the doctor believes your toddler’s heart murmur is abnormal, the expert may recommend you to a pediatric cardiologist who will perform additional tests such as a chest X-ray, electrocardiogram (ECG) which accounts the electrical activity of the heart or an ultrasound to examine and create an image of the heart.

Treatment

Treatment for abnormal heat murmurs depend on the type and severity of the problem. Generally, treatment is unnecessary since regular check-ups can help monitor the condition over time. But, if the heart murmur is severe, your toddler may have to take medications to control the heartbeat or undergo surgery or catheterization to correct the defect.

Most heart murmurs are safe and it is normal for your toddler’s heart to beat very fast at times especially when doing physically demanding activities, crying or if your little one has a fever. But if you are really worried, talk to your child’s doctor, just to be sure.

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Appendicitis In Children

Appendicitis is the inflammation of the appendix – a small organ that is attached to the large intestine. An inflamed appendix can cause severe pain which can easily be mistaken as stomach flu or other tummy problems. Use this guide to help you educate yourself and better understand appendicitis in children.

What causes appendicitis?

Appendicitis occurs when there is obstruction in the appendix caused by body wastes, infection that lead to inflammation and trauma. Once the appendix is infected, the blockage has to be taken out immediately to prevent it from rupturing and spreading the infection into the stomach.

What are the signs and symptoms?

A toddler with appendicitis may experience one or two of the following symptoms:

  • Swollen tummy
  • Abdominal pain near the belly button or lower right side of the stomach (pain increases as the condition aggravates)
  • Low-grade fever
  • Lack of appetite
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea (in small amounts)
  • Constipation
  • Inability to pass gas
  • Painful and recurrent urination

Who are prone to appendicitis?

Any child can have an infected appendix. But, according to child health experts, children with a family history of appendicitis, cystic fibrosis (a disease in the secretory glands) and a genetic disorder that causes digestive and respiratory complications are more likely to get appendicitis.

How is appendicitis diagnosed?

The symptoms of appendicitis are very common to a lot of conditions (e.g. UTI, pneumonia or kidney stones) making it difficult to diagnose. Often times, this condition is mistaken for a bad stomach ache. If you believe your toddler is suffering from appendicitis, the best way to confirm this is to consult with your toddler’s pediatrician. The doctor will perform an examination of the abdomen (a CAT scan, ultrasound or an abdomen and chest X-ray) to examine your toddler’s stomach. A blood or urine test may also be necessary in order to check if there is an infection.

How can appendicitis be treated?

Once it has been confirmed your toddler has appendicitis, there are two options the doctor can give – antibiotics and surgery. The doctor may first treat the appendicitis with antibiotics. Your baby will receive intravenous (IV) antibiotics in the hospital to eradicate the bacteria and reduce swelling. An appendectomy is performed by making an opening in the tummy with a laparoscope to create a smaller incision where the appendix can be taken out.

Your toddler will have to stay at the hospital for 2 to 3 days. However, if the inflammed appendix has burst, hospital stay might be longer for surgery and to let the antibiotics kill any bacteria that have spread throughout the body.

Although appendicitis affects people between the ages 10 to 30, it is still possible for toddlers to catch the disease. Hence, it is very important that you keep a watchful eye on your child especially if he develops the symptoms. Immediate medical attention can help prevent the condition from getting worse and reduce the risk of additional side effects.

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How To Spot and Treat Childhood Rashes

Rashes are very widespread during childhood. Since children have sensitive skin, exposure to elements can instantly trigger all sorts of itchy infections. Here is a guide to help you recognize and treat the most common childhood rashes.

Chickenpox

Also known as varicella, chickenpox is a transmittable disease that starts off with a few itchy, red fluid-filled bumps (often mistaken as insect bites). During the first few days, a toddler with chickenpox will have fever, a headache, feel exhausted and lose his appetite. The spots will turn into blisters that break open then crust over. It can appear all over his body, including the scalp, ears, mouth, throat and groin. Chickenpox typically lasts 5 to 10 days.

Treatment

Keep your toddler at home until he has fully recovered to prevent him from transmitting the disease. You can give him acetaminophen to reduce the fever and ease his discomfort. Control his scratching by giving your child a proper dose of OTC antihistamine (oral Benadryl). Bathe him in warm water every 3 to 4 hours and add baking soda or oatmeal to bath water to further relieve itching. After bathing, apply calamine lotion to the itchy bumps. Keep his fingernails short to keep your toddler from scratching which can cause scaring.

Diaper Rash

A toddler’s diaper area will appear red and irritated and skin will look swollen and warm when you touch it. This often occurs when a toddler is exposed to a wet or soiled diaper, chemicals in diapers or has had a bout of diarrhea (when toddler is taking antibiotics).

Treatment

Change your toddler’s diaper often. Clean his bottom by washing it with warm water instead of diaper wipes and air dry the area. After which, apply a small amount of diaper rash cream (choose one with zinc oxide) to protect his skin. You may also leave your toddler’s diaper off to expose the area to air which speeds up healing.

Impetigo

An infectious bacterial illness that look like small, delicate bumps that penetrate through a bug bite, wound or an open cut.

Treatment

Gently clean the scabs with antiseptic soap and warm water. Dab a thin coat of antibiotic cream and cover it with a gauze bandage.

Measles

Small, rough brownish-red spots that appear on a toddler’s face and neck and spreads down to the body and legs. Measles is also accompanied with fever, severe runny nose, cough and red eyes. If left untreated, it can lead to meningitis, ear infection, pneumonia and in some cases, brain problems.

Treatment

Give your toddler acetaminophen or ibuprofen to alleviate fever and pain. Cool compress his eyes. Make sure he gets adequate rest. Sprinkle oatmeal to his bath water to relieve itching. Have him drink plenty of fluids, particularly water. Give him vitamin C to boost his immune system.

Molluscum

Looks like tiny, flesh, pink or white-colored puffy spots with a dimple in the center that is spread by skin-to-skin contact or through contaminated toys, clothes, towels and pool water.

Treatment

Molluscum does not require treatment as it goes away on its own. However, you should wrap the bumps with clean gauze during daytime to keep your toddler from nicking them.

Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac

Also known as contact dermatitis, exposure to poisonous plants can cause inflamed, itchy rashes (with blisters) on the face, arms and legs.

Treatment

This childhood rash has no cure. You just have to wait it out until it goes away. But, you can help ease your toddler’s discomfort by washing the area with soapy water, bathing him in water with baking soda or Epsom salts, cool compressing his skin and rubbing ice cubes to the affected area for 10 minutes, twice a day.

Prickly Heat

Prickly heat or heat rash looks like red rashes with small blisters that appear on the forehead, lower back, trunk and in skin creases due to overheating.

Treatment

Dress your little one in lightweight, loose-fitting clothes made from breathable fabrics such as cotton to allow proper air circulation which will keep your toddler fresh. Cool compress the affected areas and apply cornstarch (not baby powder) to relieve the rashes.

If you are still clueless about your toddler’s rash, the best thing you should do is to call the doctor so appropriate diagnosis and treatment can be given.

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Ten Toddler Symptoms You Should Never Ignore

Children are prone to sickness. But, how will you know if it is something serious? Here are ten toddler symptoms you must never ignore.

Symptom # 1: A Temperature Higher Than 103 degrees Fahrenheit

A temperature over 103 degrees Fahrenheit is an indication that your toddler has a fever and a bacterial infection. It is very important that you call your doctor immediately as the infection can spread throughout the body and there is a big chance he can have a seizure. But if your toddler has a high temperature yet he seems to be fine, you do not have to worry too much. However, you still have to talk to your doctor for guidance.

Symptom # 2: Widespread Rash

If the rash covers your toddler’s entire body and looks like tiny red dots, a bruise or bulls-eye, it can be a sign your toddler has meningitis, Lyme disease, blood disorder or is allergic to something. He should be checked by the doctor especially if your toddler has bouts of vomiting or has trouble breathing.

Symptom # 3: Difficulty Breathing

If your toddler starts to rapidly breathe or struggle for air and he turns blue, he may have a respiratory illness such as asthma, bronchitis, croup, pneumonia or whooping cough. Ignoring these symptoms can cause dizziness, brain injury and heart failure.

Symptom # 4: Sudden Abdomen Pain

Stomach pain can either be a sign of gastroenteritis or stomach flu accompanied by fever and vomiting or appendicitis (if he feels pain on the lower right side of his stomach) followed by diarrhea, vomiting and then fever. If it is appendicitis, it can spread rapidly so early treatment is needed. It can also be intussusception (a condition in which one part of the intestine slides to the other).

Symptom # 5: New or Changing Mole

Check your toddler’s moles. If a mole appears to have an uneven shape, is elevated or has a different color, this can be a sign of skin cancer.

Symptom # 6: Blood In Urine and Stool

If your toddler urinates or poops and you see blood, this can mean he has UTI (urinary tract infection), intestinal infection or hemorrhoid. Seek medical help at once.

Symptom # 7: A Cut That Is Gaping

A cut that gapes open and does not stop bleeding may require adhesive bandage (for minor cuts) or skin glue and stitches (for major cuts) in order to stop infection.

Symptom # 8: Bad Headache

Headaches often go away after resting or drinking pain reliever. But if your toddler suffers a headache for hours to the point he cannot function properly, this could be a sign of migraine or a brain condition (if headache is accompanied by blurred vision and confusion). Immediate evaluation is needed.

Symptom # 9: Dry Mouth, Lips and Skin

These are warning signs of dehydration. You can give your toddler an electrolyte solution in small amounts to replenish lost fluids in his body. However, if his eyes look hollow and he does not urinate often, take him to the hospital to avoid shock.

Symptom # 10: Liquid Oozes Out of Your Toddler’s Ears

When you notice a white or yellowy liquid coming out of his ears, your toddler has ear infection. A ruptured eardrum can be treated by antibiotics or ear drops.

Parents should always exercise extra caution when it comes to their children. So if you notice something yet you are unsure, it is best to ask for professional advice. This way, even if the doctor tells you there is nothing to be worried about, at least you are assured your toddler is healthy and safe.

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Lactose Intolerance In Children

Lactose intolerance is the inability to produce lactase enzyme that helps the body absorb lactose. While it is not lethal, it can be very uncomfortable, especially to children. Here is a guide to help you understand lactose intolerance in children.

What Causes It

Lactose intolerance is very widespread in the United States. It has been reported that 30 to 50 million Americans have this condition. A person may have lactose intolerance for these reasons:

  • Ethnic Background – individuals of Asian American, Hispanic American and Native American race are more prone to developing lactose intolerance at an early age
  • Medications – some medicines can impede with the intestine’s ability to generate lower levels of lactase
  • Digestive Tract Illnesses – toddlers with conditions that affect the intestine (e.g.  Crohn’s disease or celiac disease) causes the body to suffer from lactose intolerance
  • Infection – a toddler who has had a severe case of diarrhea can develop momentary lactose intolerance for a week or two

The Signs and Symptoms

Signs of lactose intolerance vary from child to child. Some toddlers will not have any reaction while others will be very uncomfortable within 20 to 30 minutes after consuming dairy products and can last for 30 minutes to 2 hours. Children with lactose intolerance will display the following symptoms:

  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Gas
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain
  • Vomiting

How To Diagnose It

Some parents believe their children are lactose intolerant when they really are not. Hence, it is strongly recommended to consult with a pediatrician to verify whether or not your toddler has it. The doctor will check your medical history and perform a physical examination on your toddler. If your child has lactose intolerance, the doctor can also give suggestions on ways to manage it.

Treatment and Prevention

There is no cure for lactose intolerance. But, there are things you can do to help your toddler deal with it.

Modify Your Toddler’s Diet

If your little one is very sensitive, the best thing you can do is to eliminate dairy from your toddler’s diet. This means, he is not allowed to ingest cow’s milk or soy milk, butter, cheese, curd, yogurt and whey. You can give him lactose-free milk or expressed breast milk, green leafy vegetables, fortified bread, fortified juice, tofu and canned salmon or sardines to ensure he still gets the necessary calcium his body needs.

For mild lactose intolerance, you can give your toddler small amounts of dairy products or have him eat dairy products with other foods (e.g. drinking milk during dinner or mixing cheese to his pasta).

Read Food Labels

When buying food, always make sure to check the label first to ensure that the food does not contain any milk and dairy products. Common foods with these ingredients include bread, cereal, instant soups, lunch meats (cold cuts), margarine and cookie and pancake mixes.

Lactase Supplements

Talk with your pediatrician and ask if your toddler can take lactase supplements. They are available over-the-counter and come in drop and tablet form which your toddler can take with foods that contain lactose.

Lactose intolerance is a chronic condition. But, your child does not have to stop enjoying his food as long as you know how to deal with the condition.

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Ways To Prevent Dehydration In Children

Toddlers love being outside especially when the sky is clear and the sun is shining bright. However, being exposed to too much heat can cause dehydration. Here are seven simple tips on preventing dehydration in children.

Give Your Toddler Plenty of Fluids

Limit your toddler’s intake of sugary and carbonated drinks such as juice, shakes, soda and iced tea as these can cause dehydration. Stick to water. Water is the best drink you can offer your toddler. Encourage your little one to drink lots of water (suggested water intake for children is at least 8 glasses per day) especially when it is very warm or when he is actively playing. No matter where your toddler goes, always see to it he brings a bottle of water with him.

Dress Your Toddler Comfortably

Layering during very hot days is a no-no. Make sure your little one is dressed as comfortable as possible. Choose clothes that are loose-fitting, lightweight and made from natural fabrics such as cotton to allow the skin to breathe. Opt for clothes in pastel colors instead of dark-colored clothes since light colors reflect light while dark ones absorb it. The more heat his clothing absorbs, the hotter your toddler will feel causing him to overheat.

Include Water-rich Foods Into Your Toddler’s Diet

Giving your toddler soup during hot days is pointless. Feed your toddler foods that have high water content such as carrots, cabbage, cucumber, radish, spinach, squash, tomatoes, apples, grapes, watermelon, lychee, peaches, oranges and popsicles to keep your toddler hydrated.

Manage Your Toddler’s Activities

A toddler playing at the playground during midday will surely get dehydrated because the sun is at its highest. Keep your toddler inside your home or in the shade from 10 in the morning until 3 in the afternoon. Ask your little one to take a water break every 15 to 20 minutes when playing outside so he can cool down and replenish the lost fluids in his body.

Offer An Electrolyte Drink

If your toddler refuses to drink water because he is suffering from diarrhea, fever or vomiting, give your toddler an electrolyte solution such as Pedialyte, PediaVance or ReVital. This special liquid refills the water and salt his body has lost, preventing dehydration.

Give Pain Relievers

A toddler who is in extreme pain due to an illness (e.g. sore throat or hand, foot and mouth disease) has a possibility to stop drinking fluids. Give the sick child pain reliever such as children’s acetaminophen or ibuprofen to relieve the discomfort and encourage him to drink liquids in small amounts.

Watch Your Toddler

Always keep a close eye on your toddler when he is outside. Watch for signs of dehydration. Oftentimes, children look fine after drinking water or after staying in the shade for a few minutes but it does not mean they are not dehydrated.

Dehydration is a dangerous condition especially to toddlers as they need ample nutrition and water in order to maintain their growth. Hence, adult supervision is needed to ensure dehydration is prevented.

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Down Syndrome In Children – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Down syndrome, also known as Trisomy 21 is a condition that leads to developmental delays, both mentally and physically. This happens when a child gets additional genetic material from chromosome 21. It occurs in about 1 in 800 births and is more prevalent in boys born to women ages 35 and up. The effects of Down syndrome in children are a case by case basis. Others live healthy lives while some need serious medical assistance.

Causes

Down syndrome is caused by an error in cell distribution during the development of the egg or sperm. There are 3 genetic variations that can cause Down syndrome:

  • Trisomy 21 – The most common cause of Down syndrome. Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes. A child gets chromosomes from the father (23) and the mother (23), a total of 46 chromosomes. However, when a child gets an extra copy of chromosome 21 in “all of his cells”, it becomes 47 chromosomes. That extra chromosome causes setbacks with the way the body and mind develop.
  • Mosaic Down Syndrome – An uncommon form of Down syndrome. Occurs when children have “some cells” with an extra copy of chromosome 21.
  • Translocation Down Syndrome – Arises when part of chromosome 21 gets connected onto another chromosome before or during delivery.

Symptoms

Some common signs of Down syndrome include:

  • Head is smaller than normal
  • Excess skin at the neck
  • Small ears
  • Tilted eyes
  • Flat nose
  • Obtruding tongue
  • Uneven teeth and delayed dental development
  • Wide, short hands
  • Short height
  • The big toe and second toe are apart
  • Behaviour problems like autism, ADHD, depression and short-temperedness
  • Slow learner
  • Heart defect
  • Eye, hearing and respiratory problems

Treatment

There is no exact treatment for Down syndrome. But, any parent can reduce the possibility of further complications by following these tips:

Regular Check-ups and Screening

A toddler with Down syndrome needs regular medical care. This is done to prevent possible health risks from happening. Your toddler will have to undergo dental and hearing exams every 6 months, annual thyroid testing and x-rays of the spinal column (between 3 to 5 years of age).

Early Childhood Intervention

Your pediatrician may recommend your toddler to undergo an early intervention program. This special program will stimulate your child at an early age by giving physical therapy (for improving movement) and speech therapy (for boosting language skills). Special education is also offered to help children with intellectual development delays.

Parent’s Love and Support

Having a toddler with Down syndrome may overwhelm you. But remember, no treatment or prevention will be effective if you do not give him the affection and support he deserves. Maintain eye contact when talking to your toddler. Teach your toddler how to dress, bathe and brush teeth on his own. Perform lots of physical activities together to increase muscle strength and motor skills. Enroll him in classes to help him socialize with children his age.

You play an important role in helping your toddler with Down syndrome reach his full potential. There might be hitches along the way, but knowing your child is slowly progressing is worth every effort.

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Allergies In Children – What Parents Need To Know

An allergy is a disorder of the immune system which usually occurs when a person’s immune system abnormally reacts to a harmless substance (known as an allergen) in the environment. Everyone is at risk to it, especially children. Hence, it is imperative for parents to learn about allergies in children so they can better manage the condition.

Most Common Allergens

The most common allergens are:

  • Drugs – OTC (over-the-counter) and prescription medications such as aspirin and penicillin
  • Food – products such as peanut, dairy (cheese, milk and egg), wheat, soybeans, seafood (crab, fish and lobster), tomatoes and strawberries
  • Animal or Pet Dander – found in the animal’s hair, saliva and urine
  • Environmental Factors – dust, dust mites, mold, pollen, hot or cold temperatures, sunlight
  • Insect Stings – venom from fire ants, honeybees, wasps and yellow jackets

It is also true that allergy is hereditary. If both of the toddler’s parents have allergies, there is an 80% possibility the toddler will acquire an allergy of some sort. If only one is allergic, then there is a 25% to 50% chance.

Symptoms of Allergies

  • Eyes – red, puffy and watery eyes
  • Nose – sneezing, nasal itching, runny and clogged nose
  • Stomach – bloating, diarrhea, vomiting
  • Chest – asthma (difficulty breathing), coughing, wheezing
  • Skin – eczema (dry, flaky, irritated skin particularly around the neck, arms and legs), hives (small, red bumps that spread around the body), contact dermatitis (red, swollen rashes that occur after direct contact with an allergen)

Diagnosing The Exact Cause of An Allergy

Detecting the exact cause of an allergy is quite tricky. It would be best to visit your toddler’s doctor so allergy testing can be administered. Your toddler might undergo skin testing – the most common method of allergy testing. It is done by putting a small amount of the suspected allergen to your toddler’s skin and then lightly piercing the area so the substance moves under the skin. The skin will then be observed for signs of a reaction.

A blood test may also be administered. But it is less accurate than skin testing.

Treatment

Keep Your Toddler’s Surrounding Clean

Keep your home as allergen free as possible. Remove any item from your home that collects dust (e.g. rugs, carpets, heavy curtains, etc.). Clean your home, especially your child’s bedroom frequently, at least 3 times a week. Change his beddings once a week and wash them in hot soapy water. Keep the windows closed, especially at night. During pollen or allergy season (spring, summer and fall season), let your toddler stay indoors. Keep pets and plants outside your home. If you run a humidifier, make sure to change the water to avoid mold and mildew from growing. Lastly, create a smoke-free environment. Do not smoke inside or outside your house.

Offer Medication

There are prescription and over-the-counter drugs that prevent and provide relief from allergies. Antihistamines and Corticosteroids (an anti-inflammatory medicine) are available in capsule, eye drop, liquid and nasal spray form. Make sure to consult with your pediatrician first for the correct dosage.

Allergy Shots

For severe allergy problems, allergy shots or immunotherapy may be given. Your toddler will receive weekly shots for 6 months. Once his body can endure the shots, it will be administered twice a month for 6 months, followed by monthly injections for a year.

Raising an allergic toddler can be difficult. But luckily, you can help manage it so he can outgrow it and live a normal life.

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