When to Call Your Pediatrician with Dr. Bartram
Safe Sleep and Reducing the Risk of SIDS with Dr. Bartram
Pediatric Services at Valley Health with Dr. Bartram
NAS (Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome) with Dr. Bartram
Lice in the School-Age Child with Dr. Bartram
Jaundice in the Newborn with Dr. Bartram
Immunizations for Your Child with Dr. Bartram
Breastfeeding vs. Formula with Dr. Bartram
Trick-or-Treating Safety for You and Your Family
Halloween is an enchanted, thrilling time of year for children and even many adults. The particular nature of Halloween traditions, however, can pose safety risks for all involved. To help prepare you and your family for a spooktacular holiday, we’ve compiled Tricks and Tips from the CDC and Nationwide Insurance.
Trick-or-Treating Safety for Children
S – Swords, knives, and similar costume accessories should be short, soft, and flexible.
A – Avoid trick-or-treating alone. Walk in groups or with a trusted adult.
F – Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you.
E – Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them. Limit the amount of treats you eat.
H – Hold a flashlight to help you see and others see you. Always WALK and don’t run from house to house.
A – Always test make-up in a small area first. Remove it before bedtime to prevent skin and eye irritation.
L – Look both ways before crossing the street. Use established crosswalks wherever possible.
L – Lower your risk for serious eye injury by not wearing decorative contact lenses.
O – Only walk on sidewalks whenever possible or on the far edge of the road facing traffic to stay safe.
W – Wear well-fitting masks, costumes, and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips, and falls.
E – Eat only factory-wrapped treats. Avoid eating homemade treats made by strangers.
E – Enter homes only if you’re with a trusted adult. Don’t stop at dark houses. Never accept rides from strangers.
N – Never walk near lit candles or luminaries. Be sure to wear flame-resistant costumes.
Halloween Safety Tips for Adults
Follow these tips to help make the festivities fun and safe for everyone:
- Provide healthier treats for trick-or-treaters such as low-calorie treats and drinks. For guests, offer a variety of fruits and vegetables.
- Use party games and trick-or-treat time as an opportunity for kids to get their daily dose of 60 minutes of physical activity.
- Be sure walking areas and stairs are well-lit and free of obstacles that could cause someone to fall. Check lightbulb the night before trick-or-treating and replace any that require it.
- Keep candle-lit jack o’ lanterns and luminaries away from doorsteps, walkways, landings, and curtains. Place them on sturdy tables, keep them out of the reach of pets and small children, and never leave them unattended. Use battery-powered candles as an alternative to flame lit if possible.
- Remind drivers to watch out for trick-or-treaters and to drive safely. Arrange a designated driver if necessary.
- Keep vehicles in a garage where possible to avoid vandalism or accidental bumps and scratches from passersby. If your car must be left outdoors, it is recommended that valuables be removed from the car and brought indoors to discourage theft.
- Pets should be brought inside and contained during trick-or-treat hours and/or while guests are present to avoiding stressing the pet or anyone visiting your home.
Content Adapted from the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Halloween Health and Safety Tips and Nationwide’s Now from Nationwide Blog.
Tips for Recognizing and Treating Seasonal Allergies in Children
Seasonal allergies – also known as hay fever and allergic rhinitis – cause sneezing, runny nose, congestion, itchy, watery eyes, sore throat, sinus headaches and general discomfort in many children. Allergies are provoked by high pollen levels as well as mold and spores that occur more heavily during certain times of the year.
Seasonal allergies arise in early spring and continue through early summer, and then are seen again in the fall. While many associate seasonal allergies with the advent of spring and blooming foliage, some children suffer during both allergy seasons.
In the fall, with symptoms triggered by common fall allergens like ragweed and mold, it’s important for parents to take a pre-emptive approach. This means planning ahead and starting medications one to two weeks prior to the beginning of the allergy season in August and continuing the medicine for the recommended amount of time.
To help control most children’s allergies, parents can purchase over-the-counter antihistamine remedies, such as Zyrtec, Claritin or Allegra. These medicines are not likely to cause drowsiness and can help calm the body’s immune reaction against allergens.
Here are some additional tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics (www.aap.org) to help control seasonal allergies:
- Don’t let children out to play early in the morning. Pollen is heavier early in the morning.
- Keep children indoors when grass is mowed and prevent them from playing in fields of tall grass.
- In the fall, children should avoid playing in piles of dead leaves.
- Don’t leave windows open during allergy season; run the air conditioner in both your home and car.
- Keep pets bathed regularly to remove pollen from their fur and keep the pets out of the child’s bedroom.
- Shower or bathe your child at the end of the day to remove allergens from the body and hair.
When home remedies and over the counter medications don’t relieve your child’s symptoms, consult with your child’s pediatric or family medicine provider. It may be necessary for the provider to prescribe antihistamines and intranasal corticosteroids to effectively combat the symptoms your child is experiencing. In particular, a child with a chronic secondary condition, such as asthma, may experience more severe symptoms and may need to be referred by his or her provider to an allergist.
Respiratory Distress in Babies and Children
Allergies can trigger respiratory issues, particularly when a child has a secondary condition. It can be frightening when a baby or toddler starts having breathing problems, and the struggle for parents and caregivers is knowing when to handle it on your own and when to call the pediatrician or go to the ER or a QuickCare center. It is very important to learn the signs of respiratory distress in your child, so you can respond appropriately.
Common signs of respiratory distress that need medical care immediately:
- Increased breathing rate
- Rapid heart rate
- Flaring of the nostrils
- Belly breathing – abdominal muscles visibly expand and contract during breathing
- Retractions – chest sinks in, breaths are deeper
- Color changes – bluish tint seen around the mouth, inside the lips or on the fingernails
- Coughing to the point of vomiting
If you suspect your child is also affected by a virus, watch for these signs of worsening illness:
- Fever showing up in the middle of an illness
- Persistent fever
- Increasing or worsening cough
When a parent or caregiver notices these indications, the child should be seen by a healthcare provider right away to be evaluated or reevaluated.
If your child is experiencing symptoms of seasonal allergies and you need more information, Valley Health has pediatric and family medicine providers in neighborhood health centers throughout the Tri-State to help. Find a location near you at valleyhealth.org.
Meet the Author, Traci Phillips, FNP, and learn about Valley Health – Southside
When asked about the services offered at Valley Health – Southside, Phillips explained, “We have a very well-rounded group of providers with years of experience handling all aspects of children’s health care. The staff includes pediatricians and nurse practitioners as well as two children’s psychologists and a dietitian – to help children with weight management and other issues.”
Phillips continued, “With so much coverage, plus extended hours Monday through Thursday, Valley Health – Southside is able to give parents tremendous access to care for their children. While we encourage appointments, walk-in care is available, too.”
Valley Health – Southside welcomes new patients Monday through Thursday between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. and on Fridays between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. To schedule an appointment, please call 304-529-0645.
Citations from the American Academy of Pediatrics:
About Our Chronic Care Management Program
Chronic Care Management nurse, Chrissy Theuring, LPN, provides an overview of the services and benefits of Valley Health’s chronic care management program, Care Connect.
Care Connect is available at our Westmoreland, Harts, Huntington, Milton and Wayne health centers and is offered to Medicare patients of all ages who struggle with more than one chronic illness. Click here to learn more.
Time to Get Vaccinated for the 2018 Flu Season
October has just begun and it’s the perfect time to get your flu shot. Getting vaccinated each year provides the best protection throughout flu season. It’s important to get a flu vaccine every year, even if you got vaccinated the season before. Flu strains constantly change, and it’s not unusual for new flu viruses to appear each year.
Flu season typically begins in October and November, peaks during the months of December through February and then tapers off in the spring.
The flu vaccine takes about two weeks after vaccination to fully develop protective antibodies against the flu virus. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends people get vaccines by the end of October to be fully immunized against this year’s flu. Infants and some young children who need two doses for full protection should start the vaccination process soon, because the two doses must be given at least four weeks apart.
The CDC has updated its age recommendation this year to include babies six months of age. Children six months through eight years of age will need two doses of flu vaccine if they are getting vaccinated for the first time or if they have only had one dose of flu vaccine in the past. Children who have had two doses of flu vaccine (given at any time) only need one dose per season.
To prevent the spread of flu to children younger than 6 months and too young to get a flu vaccine, everyone who is around the baby should be vaccinated. Also, studies have shown that flu vaccination of a mother during pregnancy can protect the baby after birth from flu infection for several months.
According to CDC, flu can spread from the person who is ill to others up to six feet away. Most experts think that flu viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. A person can also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.
People with flu are most contagious in the first three to four days after their illness begins. Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to five to seven days after becoming sick. Children and some people with weakened immune systems may pass the virus for longer than seven days. Generally speaking, most people can return to school or work after being fever-free without fever-reducing medications for at least 24 hours.
Symptoms can begin about two days after the virus enters the body. That means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. Some people can be infected with the flu virus but have no symptoms. During this time, those people may still spread the virus to others.
The best way to avoid getting ill is to get the flu vaccine every season. Flu vaccines are available at all Valley Health primary care center, including school-based health locations. If you have questions about the safety of the influenza vaccine, and which type of vaccine delivery system is best for you and your loved ones (spray, injection, jet injector), please feel free to call your Valley Health provider for information.
If you are having flu-like symptoms and would like an evaluation, please contact your primary care provider or call your local Valley Health location.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Screenings
Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women in the United States (excluding non-melanoma skin cancers). One in eight women will be diagnosed with this disease. The two greatest risk factors for breast cancer are increasing age and being female.
In women with no other risk factors for breast cancer, such as family history, screening mammography starting at age 40 can decrease the mortality rate associated with this cancer. The goal for screening is to detect cancer early in an otherwise healthy woman having no symptoms. Early detection avoids the need for more invasive treatments and improves the likelihood of survival. Death resulting from breast cancer is declining in the United States because of early detection and treatment.
Mammography can begin at age 40 and continue annually through age 75. The decision to stop screening should not be based on age alone and should be discussed with your doctor depending on your health status. There are additional risk factors which may place a patient at a higher risk for breast cancer; therefore, increased frequency and method of screening may be necessary.
Starting at age 25, clinical breast examination (CBE) can be performed every 1-3 years in women without any symptoms of breast disease. After age 40, women should have a clinical breast examination annually. At any point, if a woman has breast symptoms, a clinical breast exam can be performed. Women at higher risk for breast cancer may need more frequent exams.
Another important tool in breast cancer detection and prevention is breast self-awareness. Breast self-awareness is a woman’s recognition of the normal appearance and feel of her breasts. Any changes such as tenderness, pain, nipple discharge, mass, redness or skin changes such as dimpling should prompt the woman to see her doctor. This is of particular importance because over 50% of breast cancer cases in women over age 50 and 71% of cases in women under age 50 are discovered by the patient themselves.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. I encourage all women to make an appointment with their physician to discuss breast cancer risk and recommendations for screening.
Andrea Marcum Vallejos, MD, is an obstetrician-gynecologist who maintains her clinical practice at Valley Health – A Woman’s Place in Huntington, W.Va. Dr. Vallejos completed her medical degree and residency at the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine at Marshall University.
Substance Use During Pregnancy & Treatment Options
At Valley Health, we work together to achieve the best outcomes for our patients.
Andrea Vallejos, OB-GYN, and lead addition psychologist David Wolfe, PsyD, discuss substance use during pregnancy, the importance of being open with your providers, and treatment options at Valley Health.