Diseases and Medical Conditions

Tylenol and Ibuprofen Dosage Guidelines

By | Diseases and Medical Conditions, Safety Tips

Please do not routinely use both medications at the same time. Choose the medication that you feel works best for your child. Always use the dropper that came with the medication.

Printable dosing chart

Dosage is weight based and not age based.

Acetaminophen (Tylenol):
Can be given every 4-6 hours as needed, but no more than 5 doses in 24 hours. Suppositories are for ill/vomiting child unable to take liquid medication by mouth.


Ibuprofen (Motrin and Advil):
Can be given every 6-8 hours as needed, but no more than 4 doses in 24 hours. Approved for children 6 months and older.

Look for medication concentration on the label.

Flu Season

By | Diseases and Medical Conditions

Last year’s flu season was a long, memorable one for many people. This year, Cottonwood Pediatrics hopes to see fewer children for the flu because parents took preventive steps. Here are a few questions we hear from parents:

Does my child need a flu shot?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends everyone ages 6 months and older to get the influenza vaccine annually. If you have babies younger than 6 months, everyone else in the household should be immunized. The flu caused thousands of deaths in the United States last year and some of them were previously healthy children.

Can my kids get a flu shot yet?
Everyone 6 months and older should schedule to get a flu shot starting on the last week of September/beginning of October. We require that kids are up to date on their yearly well-checks. Parents and other adults can get the immunization at their doctor’s office or at pharmacies.

Can’t we just get Tamiflu instead?
Antiviral medication is not a substitute for the flu shot. We received many calls asking for Tamiflu last year but parents should know that the medicine should be given within 48 hours of the first symptoms. The reactions from the medicine could be just as bad as the flu symptoms, so please do not skip the vaccine.

Will my child be 100% protected from the flu this once vaccinated?
The virus can mutate but your child’s immune system will have 3x more work if your child is not vaccinated.

Schedule everyone’s flu shot and teach appropriate hand hygiene and cough etiquette.

To learn more about the flu season please visit:
Prepare Your Family for Flu Season –
AAP policy emphasizes importance of vaccination after high-severity flu season –

Bronchiolitis and Your Young Child

By | Diseases and Medical Conditions

Bronchiolitis and Your Young Child

Guidelines for Parents

Adapted from Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5

Respiratory illnesses caused by viruses are some of the most common health problems in infancy. The common cold is the one we see most often. Bronchiolitis is another. Because of its symptoms, bronchiolitis can be scary for parents as well as children. This brochure explains what bronchiolitis is, as well as its causes, symptoms, and treatments.

What is bronchiolitis?

Bronchiolitis is an infection of the small breathing tubes (bronchioles) of the lungs. It occurs most often in infants.

Bronchiolitis is sometimes confused with bronchitis, which is an infection of the larger, more central airways.

Bronchiolitis is almost always caused by a virus. The infection causes the small airways in the lungs to swell. This blocks the flow of air through the lungs and makes it hard for your baby to breathe. From October through March, bronchiolitis is often caused by respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection. During the other months, the illness is usually caused by other viruses.

Most adults and many children with RSV infections get only a cold. In infants the infection is more likely to lead to bronchiolitis. This is because their airways are smaller and are more easily blocked. Infants who develop bronchiolitis may develop asthma later in life. It is possible that RSV infection is the first trigger for the asthma. RSV is spread by contact with an infected person’s mucus or saliva. It often spreads through families, child-care centers, and hospital wards. Careful hand washing can help prevent the spread of this infection.

Signs and symptoms

A baby who develops bronchiolitis often starts off with signs of a cold, such as a runny nose, a mild cough, and a fever. After a day or two his cough may get worse. He will begin to breathe faster. The following signs may mean that he is having trouble breathing:

  • He may widen his nostrils and squeeze the muscles under his rib cage to try to get more air in and out of his lungs.
  • When he breathes he may grunt and tighten his stomach muscles.
  • He will make a high-pitched whistling sound, called a wheeze, each time he breathes out.
  • He may not take fluids well because he is working so hard to breathe that he has trouble sucking and swallowing.
  • If it gets very hard for him to breathe, you may notice a bluish tint around his lips and fingertips. This tells you that his airways are so blocked that there is not enough oxygen getting into the blood.

If your baby shows any of these signs of trouble breathing, or if his fever lasts more than 24 hours (or is present at all in an infant under 3 months of age), call your pediatrician.

Also call your pediatrician if your baby develops any of the following signs or symptoms of dehydration:

  • Taking less than her normal amount of fluids
  • Dry mouth
  • Crying without tears
  • Urinating less often than normal

If you think your child has bronchiolitis and your child has any of the following conditions, call your pediatrician.

  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Bronchopulmonary dysplasia (seen in some infants who have been on a respirator as newborns)
  • Immune deficiency disease (like AIDS)
  • Organ transplant
  • A cancer for which she is receiving chemotherapy

Home Treatment

There are no medications you can use to treat RSV infections at home.

Antibiotics, which treat bacteria, are not helpful for bronchiolitis because it is almost always caused by a virus. However, you can ease your child’s cold symptoms. Try the following suggestions:

To relieve stuffy nose and fever:

  • Thin the mucus using mild salt-solution (saline) nose drops recommended by your pediatrician. Never use nonprescription nose drops that contain any medication. Only use salt-solution nose drops.
  • Clear your baby’s nose with a suction bulb. Squeeze the bulb part of the device first. Gently put the rubber tip into one nostril, and slowly release the bulb. This slight amount of suction will draw the clogged mucus out of the nose. This works best when your baby is under 6 months old.
  • Place a cool-mist humidifier (vaporizer) in your baby’s room. Set it close to her. Be sure to clean and dry the humidifier each day to keep bacteria or mold from growing. Do not use hot water vaporizers since they can cause serious scalds or burns.
  • bullet
  • If your baby has a fever, give her acetaminophen. (Be sure to follow the recommended dosage for your child’s age.) Do not give aspirin to your child. Aspirin has been associated with Reye syndrome, a disease that affects the liver and the brain. Never give her any other kind of cold medicine without first checking with your pediatrician.

To prevent dehydration:

  • Make sure your baby drinks lots of fluid so he does not become dehydrated. He may prefer clear liquids rather than milk or formula. He may feed more slowly and may not tolerate solid foods very well because he is having trouble breathing.

Professional Treatment

If your baby is having mild to moderate trouble breathing, your pediatrician may try using a drug that opens up the breathing tubes, which seems to help some infants.

Some children with bronchiolitis need to be hospitalized, either for breathing problems or dehydration. Your pediatrician will treat your baby’s breathing problems with oxygen and medication. The dehydration will be treated with a special liquid diet or with fluids given intravenously (directly into the blood stream)..

Very rarely an infant will not respond to any of these treatments. She might have to be put on a breathing machine (respirator). This usually is only a temporary measure to help her until her body is able to overcome the infection.


The best way to protect your baby from bronchiolitis is to keep him away from the viruses that cause it. When possible, avoid close contact with children or adults who have colds. If your baby is in a child-care center where other children might have RSV, make sure that those who care for him wash their hands well and often.

When your baby has a cold, he needs a bit more attention to detect early signs of bronchiolitis or another serious infection. Be sure to call your pediatrician if you think your baby might have such a problem.

Pandemic Influenza Planning: A Guide for Individuals and Families

By | Diseases and Medical Conditions

Pandemic Influenza Planning:
A Guide for Individuals and Families
Get Informed. Be Prepared.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
May 2006

“While the Federal Government will use all resources at its disposal to prepare for and respond to an influenza pandemic, it cannot do the job alone. This effort requires the full participation of and coordination by all levels of government and all segments of society… perhaps most important, addressing the challenge will require active participation by individual citizens in each community across our Nation.”

George W. Bush, President
United States of America

“Pandemics are global in nature, but their impact is local. When the next pandemic strikes, as it surely will, it is likely to touch the lives of every individual, family, and community. Our task is to make sure that when this happens, we will be a Nation prepared.”

Michael O. Leavitt, Secretary
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Pandemic Influenza – Get Informed. Be Prepared.

This guide is designed to help you understand the threat of a pandemic influenza outbreak in our country and your community. It describes commonsense actions you can take now in preparing for a pandemic. We cannot predict how severe the next pandemic will be or when it will occur, but being prepared may help lower the impact of an influenza pandemic on you and your family. Additional information including a planning checklist for individuals and families can be found at

What You Need to Know

An influenza (flu) pandemic is a worldwide outbreak of flu disease that occurs when a new type of influenza virus appears that people have not been exposed to before (or have not been exposed to in a long time). The pandemic virus can cause serious illness because people do not have immunity to the new virus. Pandemics are different from seasonal outbreaks of influenza that we see every year. Seasonal influenza is caused by influenza virus types to which people have already been exposed. Its impact on society is less severe than a pandemic, and influenza vaccines (flu shots and nasal-spray vaccine) are available to help prevent widespread illness from seasonal flu.

Influenza pandemics are different from many of the other major public health and health care threats facing our country and the world. A pandemic will last much longer than most flu outbreaks and may include “waves” of influenza activity that last 6-8 weeks separated by months. The number of health care workers and first responders able to work may be reduced. Public health officials will not know how severe a pandemic will be until it begins.

An Historical Perspective

In the last century there were three influenza pandemics. All of them were called pandemics because of their worldwide spread and because they were caused by a new influenza virus. The 1918 pandemic was especially severe.


1918-1919 Most severe, caused at least 675,000 U.S. deaths and up to 50 million deaths worldwide.


1957-1958 Moderately severe, caused at least 70,000 U.S. deaths and 1-2 million deaths worldwide.


1968-1969 Least severe, caused at least 34,000 U.S. deaths and 700,000 deaths worldwide.

Some Differences Between Seasonal Flu and Pandemic Flu


Seasonal Flu

Pandemic Flu

  Caused by influenza viruses that are similar to those already circulating among people. Caused by a new influenza virus that people have not been exposed to before. Likely to be more severe, affect more people, and cause more deaths than seasonal influenza because people will not have immunity to the new virus.
  Symptoms include fever, headache, tiredness, dry cough, sore throat, runny nose, and muscle pain. Deaths can be caused by complications such as pneumonia. Symptoms similar to the common flu but may be more severe and complications more serious.
  Healthy adults usually not at risk for serious complications (the very young, the elderly, and those with certain underlying health conditions at increased risk for serious complications). Healthy adults may be at increased risk for serious complications.
  Every year in the United State, on average:

bullet 5% to 20% of the population gets the flu;
bullet More than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu complications; and
bullet About 36,000 people die from flu.

The effects of a severe pandemic could be much more damaging than those of a regular flu season. It could lead to high levels of illness, death, social disruption, and economic loss. Everyday life could be disrupted because so many people in so many places become seriously ill at the same time. Impacts could range from school and business closings to the interruption of basic services such a public transportation and food delivery.

Importance and Benefits of Being Prepared

The effects of a pandemic can be lessened if you prepare ahead of time. Preparing for a disaster will help bring peace of mind and confidence to deal with a pandemic.

When a pandemic starts, everyone around the world could be at risk. The United States has been working closely with other countries and the World Health Organization (WHO) to strengthen systems to detect outbreaks of influenza that might cause a pandemic.

A pandemic would touch every aspect of society, so every part of society must begin to prepare. All have roles in the event of a pandemic. Federal, state, tribal, and local governments are developing, improving, and testing their plans for an influenza pandemic. Businesses, schools, universities, and other faith-based and community organizations are also preparing plans.

As you begin your individual or family planning, you may want to review your state’s planning efforts and those of your local public health and emergency preparedness officials. State plans and other planning information can be found at

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and other federal agencies are providing funding, advice, and other support to your state. The federal government will provide up-to-date information and guidance to the public if an influenza pandemic unfolds.

For reliable, accurate, and timely information, visit the federal government’s official Web site

Pandemic Influenza – Challenges and Preparation

As you and your family plan for an influenza pandemic, think about the challenges you might face, particularly if a pandemic is severe.

You can start to prepare now to be able to respond to these challenges. The following are some challenges you or your family may face and recommendations to help you cope. In addition, checklists and other tools have been prepared to guide your planning efforts. A series of planning checklists can be found at

Essential Services You Depend on May Be Disrupted

bullet Plan for the possibility that usual services may be disrupted. These could include services provided by hospitals and other healthcare facilities, banks, restaurants, government offices, telephone and cellular phone companies, and post offices.
bullet Stores may close or have limited supplies. The planning checklists can help you determine what items you should stockpile to help you manage without these services
bullet Transportation services may be disrupted and you may not be able to rely on public transportation. Plan to take fewer trips and store essential supplies.
bullet Public gatherings, such as volunteer meetings and worship services, may be canceled. Prepare contact lists including conference calls, telephone chains, and email distribution lists, to access or distribute necessary information.
bullet Consider that the ability to travel, even by car if there are fuel shortages, may be limited.
bullet You should also talk to your family about where family members and loved ones will go in an emergency and how they will receive care, in case you cannot communicate with them.
bullet In a pandemic, there may be widespread illness that could result in the shut down of local ATMs and banks. Keep a small amount of cash or traveler’s checks in small denominations for easy use.

Food and Water Supplies May Be Interrupted and Limited

Food and water supplies may be interrupted so temporary shortages could occur. You may also be unable to get to a store. To prepare for this possibility you should store at least one to two weeks supply of non-perishable food and fresh water for emergencies.


bullet Store two weeks of nonperishable food.
bullet Select foods that do not require refrigeration, preparation (including the use of water), or cooking.
bullet Insure that formulas for infants and any child’s or older person’s special nutritional needs are a part of your planning.


bullet Store two weeks of water, 1 gallon of water per person per day. (2 quarts for drinking, 2 quarts for food preparation/sanitation), in clean plastic containers. Avoid using containers that will decompose or break, such as milk cartons or glass bottles.

Being Able to Work May Be Difficult or Impossible

bullet Ask your employer how business will continue during a pandemic.
bullet Discuss staggered shifts or working at home with your employer. Discuss telecommuting possibilities and needs, accessing remote networks, and using portable computers.
bullet Discuss possible flexibility in leave policies. Discuss with your employer how much leave you can take to care for yourself or a family member
bullet Plan for possible loss of income if you are unable to work or the company you work for temporarily closes.

For the Business Checklist visit:

Schools and Daycare Centers May Be Closed for an Extended Period of Time

bullet Schools, and potentially public and private preschool, childcare, trade schools, and colleges and universities may be closed to limit the spread of flu in the community and to help prevent children from becoming sick. Other school-related activities and services could also be disrupted or cancelled including: clubs, sports/sporting events, music activities, and school meals. School closings would likely happen very early in a pandemic and could occur on short notice.
bullet Talk to your teachers, administrators, and parent-teacher organizations about your school’s pandemic plan, and offer your help.
bullet Plan now for children staying at home for extended periods of time, as school closings may occur along with restrictions on public gatherings, such as at malls, movie theaters.
bullet Plan home learning activities and exercises that your children can do at home. Have learning materials, such as books, school supplies, and educational computer activities and movies on hand.
bullet Talk to teachers, administrators, and parent-teacher organizations about possible activities, lesson plans, and exercises that children can do at home if schools are closed. This could include continuing courses by TV or the internet.
bullet Plan entertainment and recreational activities that your children can do at home. Have materials, such as reading books, coloring books, and games, on hand for your children to use.

For the “Childcare, School, and University Checklist,” visit:

Medical Care for People with Chronic Illness Could be Disrupted

bullet In a severe pandemic, hospitals and doctors’ offices may be overwhelmed.
bullet If you have a chronic disease, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, or depression, you should continue taking medication as prescribed by your doctor.
bullet Make sure you have necessary medical supplies such as glucose and blood-pressure monitoring equipment.
bullet Talk to your healthcare provider to ensure adequate access to your medications.
bullet If you receive ongoing medical care such as dialysis, chemotherapy, or other therapies, talk with your health care provider about plans to continue care during a pandemic.

A “Family Emergency Health Information Sheet” is provided in this guide and at:

Pandemic Influenza – Prevention and Treatment

Stay Healthy

These steps may help prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses such as the flu:

bullet Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze-throw the tissue away immediately after you use it.
bullet Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. If you are not near water, use an alcohol-based (60-95%) hand cleaner.
bullet Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
bullet If you get the flu, stay home from work, school, and social gatherings. In this way you will help prevent others from catching your illness.
bullet Try not to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs often spread this way.


Vaccines are used to protect people from contracting a virus once a particular threat is identified. After an individual has been infected by a virus, a vaccine generally cannot help to combat it. Because viruses change over time, a specific pandemic influenza vaccine cannot be produced until a pandemic influenza virus emerges and is identified. Once a pandemic influenza virus has been identified, it will likely take 4-6 months to develop, test, and begin producing a vaccine.

While there is currently no human pandemic influenza in the world, the federal government is facilitating production of vaccines for several existing avian influenza viruses. These vaccines may provide some protection should one of these viruses change and cause an influenza pandemic. The supply of pandemic vaccine will be limited, particularly in the early stages of a pandemic. Efforts are being made to increase vaccine-manufacturing capacity in the United States so that supplies of vaccines would be more readily available. In addition, research is underway to develop new ways to produce vaccines more quickly.


A number of antiviral drugs are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat and prevent seasonal influenza. Some of these antiviral medications may be effective in treating pandemic influenza. These drugs may help prevent infection in people at risk and shorten the duration of symptoms in those infected with pandemic influenza. However, it is unlikely that antiviral medications alone would effectively contain the spread of pandemic influenza. The federal government is stockpiling antiviral medications that would most likely be used in the early stages of an influenza pandemic and working to develop new antiviral medications. These drugs are available by prescription only.

Stay Informed

bullet Knowing the facts is the best preparation. Identify sources you can count on for reliable information. If a pandemic occurs, having accurate and reliable information will be critical.
bullet Reliable, accurate, and timely information is available at
bullet Another source for information on pandemic influenza is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Hotline at: 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636). This line is available in English and Spanish, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
bullet Look for information on your local and state government Web sites. Links are available to each state department of public health at
bullet Listen to local and national radio, watch news reports on television, and read your newspaper and other sources of printed and web-based information.
bullet Talk to your local health care providers and public health officials.

Questions and Answers

Will bird flu cause the next influenza pandemic?

Avian influenza (bird flu) is a disease of wild and farm birds caused by avian influenza viruses. Bird flu viruses do not usually infect humans, but since 1997 there have been a number of confirmed cases of human infection from bird flu viruses. Most of these resulted from direct or close contact with infected birds (for example: domesticated chickens, ducks, and turkeys). It is important not to handle, play with, or pick up dead birds. Information on who to contact in your state is at:

The spread of bird flu viruses from an infected person to another person has been reported very rarely and has not been reported to continue beyond one person. A worldwide pandemic could occur if a bird flu virus were to change so that it could easily be passed from person to person. Experts around the world are watching for changes in bird flu viruses that could lead to an influenza pandemic.

Is it safe to eat poultry?

Yes, it is safe to eat properly cooked poultry. Cooking destroys germs, including bird flu viruses. The United States maintains trade restrictions on the importation of poultry and poultry products from countries where the highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza strain has been detected in commercial or traditionally raised poultry, not in wild or migratory birds.

Guidelines for the safe preparation of poultry include the following:

bullet Wash hands before and after handling food.
bullet Keep raw poultry and its juices away from other foods.
bullet Keep hands, utensils, and surfaces, such as cutting boards, clean.
bullet Use a food thermometer to ensure food has reached the safe internal temperature – in all parts of the bird. Cook poultry to at least 165°F to kill food-borne germs that might be present, including the avian influenza virus.

For more information, see poultry preparation fact sheets at:

What types of birds can carry bird flu viruses?

Avian influenza viruses can infect chickens, turkeys, pheasants, quail, ducks, geese, and guinea fowl, as well as a wide variety of other birds, including migratory waterfowl.
Each year, there is a flu season for birds just as there is for humans and, as with people, some forms of the flu are worse than others, depending on how strong the virus. A weak virus may cause only mild illness in infected poultry and birds but a strong virus could cause severe and extremely contagious illness, and even death, among infected poultry and birds.

Will the seasonal flu shot protect me against pandemic influenza?

bullet No, it won’t protect you against pandemic influenza. But flu shots can help you to avoid seasonal flu.
bullet Get a flu shot to help protect you from seasonal flu.
bullet Get a pneumonia shot to prevent secondary infection if you are over the age of 65 or have a chronic illness such as diabetes or asthma. For specific guidelines, talk to your health care provider or call the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Hotline at 1-800-232-4636.
bullet Make sure that your family’s immunizations are up-to-date.

What is the U.S. government doing to prepare for pandemic influenza?

bullet The U.S. government has been preparing for pandemic influenza for several years. In November 2005, the President announced the National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza.
bullet Ongoing preparations include the following:
bullet Monitoring migratory and wild birds for avian flu.
bullet Working with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other nations to help detect human cases of bird flu and respond to an influenza pandemic, if one begins.
bullet Supporting the manufacturing and testing of influenza vaccines, including finding more reliable and quicker ways to make large quantities of vaccines through cell-based technologies.
bullet Developing a national stockpile of antiviral drugs to help treat and control the spread of disease.
bullet Supporting the efforts of federal, state, tribal, and local health agencies to prepare for and respond to pandemic influenza, including hosting planning summits with state and local leaders in each state.
bullet Working with federal agencies to prepare and to encourage communities, businesses, and organizations to plan for pandemic influenza. These efforts have included joint exercises in pandemic preparation.

For More Information

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) hotline, 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636), is available in English and Spanish, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. TTY: 1-888-232-6348. Questions can be emailed to

Links to state departments of public health can be found

The World Health Organization –

WHO is coordinating the global response to human cases of H5N1 avian influenza and monitoring the corresponding threat of an influenza pandemic. Information on this page tracks the evolving situation and provides access to both technical guidelines and information useful for the general public.

Preventing Common Springtime Allergies

By | Diseases and Medical Conditions

Preventing Common Springtime Allergies

Dehumidification to Reduce Dust Mites and Mold

The arrival of spring for much of North America means April showers and May’s warmer temperatures. Unfortunately, moisture and warmth are two conditions that contribute to increases in both dust mites and mold. As you plan for ways to reduce your allergen exposure in spring and summer, keeping your home’s relative humidity low should be one of your top priorities.

One important step is to add dehumidification to your allergen avoidance protocol if you haven’t already done so.

Countless studies have shown the link between humidity and the prevalence of dust mite populations. The reason is simple: 70-75% of the weight of a house dust mite is water. They maintain this needed water level through the absorption of water vapor in the air. So high relative humidity is crucial to their survival. Some of the leading experts in the field of dust mites and their allergen wrote the following in a recent article:

“Maintaining RH [relative humidity] below 50% is one of the most common recommendations for reducing dust mites and their allergen levels in homes because ambient RH is the key factor that influences dust mite prevalence. Mites must obtain sufficient water from the air to survive. Laboratory studies have shown that adult mites die of dehydration in 5 to 11 days, depending on temperature (25°C-34°C), when continuously exposed to RHs of 40% or 50%.” [ Larry G. Arlian, PhD, Thomas A. E. Platts-Mills, MD, PhD. “The Biology of Dust Mites and the Remediation of Mite Allergens in Allergic Disease.” Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. March 2001]

Moisture in your home’s air not only makes the environment more hospitable to dust mites, but to mold growth as well. Molds thrive in humidity at or above 50-55%. A musty smell in your basement or bathroom is likely a mold or mildew problem as a result of excess moisture from leaks or spills or from consistently high relative humidity in your home. Extra care should be taken to monitor your home’s relative humidity especially if your region is prone to heat and moisture.

What Is Relative Humidity And How Can It Be Controlled?

Relative humidity is the measure of the amount of water in the air compared with the amount of water the air can hold at a specific temperature. For example, a 77° F room with 60% relative humidity means that at that point in time, the air is 60% water! An instrument called a hygrometer [or humidity gauge] is used to measure relative humidity in the home and is an important tool for monitoring your home’s humidity levels all year long.

In any given home on a summer day, humidity levels from room to room can range from 50-100%! Air conditioning and electric dehumidifiers are the most effective ways to control indoor humidity levels. Air conditioning works because cool air cannot hold as much moisture as warm air. Most dehumidifiers use a fan or a blower to pull air in, where it then passes through a cooling coil and is chilled to its dew point. This process results in condensation on the coils, which then flows into a bucket. Some dehumidifiers allow for the collected water to be pumped through a hose and into a sink, bathtub or out a window. After passing through the coils, the moisture-reduced air is then heated back to room temperature and released into the room.

Questions to Ask When Looking For A Dehumidifier

  • There are several key questions you should ask when looking at the various models and options for home dehumidification:
  • What is the unit’s water extraction capability?
  • Does it have an automatic shut-off when the tank is full?
  • Can the water be pumped to a sink or outside using a hose or tube?
  • What is the lowest temperature at which the unit can operate without freezing up?
  • Does it have a multi-speed fan?
  • What is the energy consumption?
  • How loud is it?

Study Finds Parents Overlook Most Important Asthma Steps

By | Diseases and Medical Conditions

Study Finds Parents Overlook Most Important Asthma Steps

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Parents of children with asthma try hard to protect their youngsters but often overlook the most important measures, including banning smoking in the house and shutting windows to keep pollen out, U.S. researchers report.

A quarter of parents surveyed said a smoker lived in the same house as the child with asthma but admitted they had not done anything about it.

Many parents reported they had bought a mattress cover, protecting their child from dust mite allergens, but did not shut windows to keep pollen out of the house — even when they knew their child’s asthma was triggered by pollen.

“Eighty percent of parents in this study knew at least one specific factor that triggered their child’s asthma symptoms, and 82 percent of those had devoted some effort to help their children avoid these triggers,” said Dr. Michael Cabana, the University of Michigan pediatrician who led the study.

Only half of the 1,788 asthma-proofing steps taken by parents of 896 asthmatic children in the study were likely to work, the researchers reported in the August issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

Many tried useless products, they found.

“Parents hear ‘Sprinkle this on your carpet’ or ‘Clean out your air ducts’ or ‘Buy this air ionizer’ and parents who are desperate to help their kids can get misled into spending money on things of questionable value,” said Dr. Toby Lewis, who also worked on the report.

“The bottom line is, talk to your doctor before you spend a lot of money, and do the cheap, easy things first,” she added.

Doctors need to do more to educate parents about the best ways to prevent asthma attacks, the researchers said.

“The first level of education for parents is to learn that much of asthma occurs as a reaction to triggers in the environment, and that everyone’s triggers are different. One of the first steps in getting asthma under control is figuring out a child’s triggers,” said Lewis.

Some of the potentially harmful things parents were doing included using a humidifier in the room of a child whose triggers include house dust mites. House dust mites thrive in humid environments.

Allergies and Pollens

By | Diseases and Medical Conditions

Allergies and Pollens

The pollens most people are allergic to are produced by plain-looking plants that do not have showy flowers because these type of plants rely on bees and birds to carry their pollen. The pollens that cause allergy problems are carried through the air. It could be said that the more you see of a plant or its pollen, the less sensitive you probably are to it. Just outside of Atlanta, Georgia, in spring, virtually everything will be coated with a layer of yellow pine tree pollen. Many people think that this it the cause of their misery since they see it everywhere. But very few people are actually allergic to pine pollen – it just happens to be the most visible. The fact that we can see it everywhere tells us that it is a heavy particle that settles quickly out of the air making it rather tough to breathe in. Hundreds of other pollen allergens that we can’t see are also in the air.

The main allergy culprits in the early spring are other tree pollens like hickory, elm and oak. Late spring and early summer is when weeds such as ragweed, sagebrush, redroot, pigweed and Russian thistle (tumbleweed) produce their pollen. A single ragweed plant can generate a million grains of pollen a day, but unlike pine tree pollen, you may never see a single one. Unfortunately, your body will know they are there. Ragweed is one of the major culprits for sneezing and runny noses in North America. In the late summer and early fall, grasses including Kentucky bluegrass, timothy grass, Bermuda grass and redtop grass are the main pollen offenders. Most people who are allergic to pollen are usually sensitive to several different types.

Pollen Counts

You’ve probably heard your local news station give you information about pollen counts in your area. A pollen count represents the concentration of all the pollen (or a particular type if noted) in the air in a certain area at a specific time. The measurement is expressed in grains of pollen per square meter of air collected over 24 hrs. The National Allergy Bureau and offer pollen counts, which may be available for your area.

Peak times for pollen vary by region of the country. The further north you are, the later your area’s pollinating period and allergy season will begin.

Anemia and Your Young Child

By | Diseases and Medical Conditions

Anemia and Your Young Child
Guidelines for Parents
Adapted from Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5.

Anemia is a condition that is sometimes found in young children. It can make your child feel cranky, tired, and weak. Though these symptoms may worry you, most cases of anemia are easily treated. This brochure explains the different types of anemia and its causes, symptoms, and treatments.

What is anemia?

Anemia is a condition that occurs when there are not enough red blood cells or hemoglobin to carry oxygen to the other cells in the body. The body’s cells need oxygen to survive. Your child may become anemic for any of the following reasons:

  • Her body does not produce enough red blood cells.
  • Her body destroys or loses (through bleeding) too many red blood cells.
  • There is not enough hemoglobin in her red blood cells. Hemoglobin is a special pigment that makes it possible for the red blood cells to carry oxygen to all the cells of the body, and to carry waste material (carbon dioxide) away.

Types of anemia

Iron-deficiency anemia is the most common type of anemia in young children. It is caused by a lack of iron in the diet. The body needs iron to produce hemoglobin. If there is too little iron, there will not be enough hemoglobin in the red blood cells. Infants who are given cow’s milk too early (before 1 year of age) often develop anemia because there is very little iron in cow’s milk. Also, it is hard for young infants to digest cow’s milk. Cow’s milk can irritate a young infant’s bowel and cause slight bleeding. This bleeding lowers the number of red blood cells, and can result in anemia. A lack of other nutrients in the diet can also cause anemia. Too little folic acid can lead to anemia, though this is very rare. It is most often seen in children fed on goat’s milk, which contains very little folic acid. Rarely, too little vitamin B12, vitamin E, or copper can also cause anemia.

Blood loss can also cause anemia. Blood loss can be caused by illness or injury. In rare cases, the blood does not clot properly. This can cause a newborn infant to bleed heavily from his circumcision or a minor injury. Because newborns often lack vitamin K, which helps the blood clot, infants generally get a vitamin K injection right after birth.

Hemolytic anemia occurs when the red blood cells are easily destroyed.

Sickle-cell anemia, a very severe hemolytic anemia, is most common in children of African heritage. Sickle-cell anemia is caused by an abnormal hemoglobin. Children with sickle-cell anemia may suffer many “crises” or periods of great pain, and need to be hospitalized.

Thalassemia, another hemolytic anemia, is most common in children of Mediterranean or East Asian origin. If you have a history of sickle-cell anemia or thalassemia in your family, make sure you tell your pediatrician so that your child is tested for it.

Signs and symptoms of anemia

Anemia causes the following signs and symptoms:

  • Pale, gray, or “ashy” skin (also, the lining of the eyelids and the nail beds may look less pink than normal)
  • Irritability
  • Mild weakness
  • Tiring easily

Children with severe anemia may have the following additional signs and symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Swollen hands and feet

Also, a newborn with hemolytic anemia may become jaundiced (turn yellow), although many newborns are mildly jaundiced and do not become anemic.

Children who lack iron in their diets may also eat strange things such as ice, dirt, clay, and cornstarch. This behavior is called “pica.” It is not harmful unless your child eats something toxic, such as lead paint chips. Usually the pica stops after the anemia is treated and as the child grows older.

If your child shows any of these symptoms or signs, see your pediatrician.

A simple blood count can diagnose anemia in most cases.

Treatment for anemia

Since there are so many different types of anemia, it is very important to identify the cause before beginning any treatment. Do not try to treat your child with vitamins, iron, or other nutrients or over-the-counter medications unless your pediatrician recommends it. This is important because such treatment may mask the real cause of the problem. This could delay a proper diagnosis.

If the anemia is due to a lack of iron, your child will be given an iron containing medication. This comes in a drop form for infants, and liquid or tablet forms for older children. Your pediatrician will determine how long your child should take the iron medication by checking her blood regularly.

Do not stop giving the medication until your pediatrician tells you it is no longer needed.

Iron medications are extremely poisonous if too much is taken.

Iron is one of the most common causes of poisoning in children under 5 years of age. Keep this and all medication out of the reach of small children.

Following are a few tips concerning iron medication:

  • Do not give iron with milk. Milk blocks the absorption of iron.
  • Vitamin C increases iron absorption. You might want to follow the dose of iron with a glass of orange juice.
  • Liquid iron can turn the teeth a grayish-black color. Have your child swallow it quickly and then rinse her mouth with water. You also may want to brush your child’s teeth after every dose of iron. Tooth-staining by iron looks bad, but it is not permanent.
  • Iron can cause the stools to become a dark black color. Do not be worried by this change.

Preventing anemia

Iron-deficiency anemia and other nutritional anemias can be prevented easily.

Make sure your child is eating a well-balanced diet by following these suggestions:

  • Do not give your baby cow’s milk until he is over 12 months old.
  • If your child is breast-fed, give him foods with added iron, such as cereal, when you begin feeding him solid foods. Before then, he will get enough iron from the breast milk. However, feeding him solid foods with too little iron will decrease the amount of iron he gets from the milk.
  • If you formula-feed your baby, give him formula with added iron.
  • Make sure your older child eats a well-balanced diet with foods that contain iron. Many grains and cereals have added iron (check labels to be sure).

Other good sources of iron include egg yolks, red meat, potatoes, tomatoes, molasses, and raisins. Also, to increase the iron in your family’s diet, use the fruit pulp in juices, and cook potatoes with the skins on.

With proper treatment, your child’s anemia should improve quickly. Be sure to contact your pediatrician if you think your child might be anemic.

The information contained in this publication should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.

Seven Steps to Stop Smoking

By | Diseases and Medical Conditions
    Seven Steps to Stop Smoking

    • Recognize your habit and your addiction. There are two basic reasons for smoking: nicotine addiction and pleasure. Paying more attention to when you smoke and what makes you light up can help you develop strategies for quitting.
    • Build your motivation to quit. List the pros and cons of smoking and quitting and write down your top five reasons for quitting.
    • Develop a quitting plan. Would you rather go it alone or with a group? Would quitting cold turkey be preferable to gradually reducing your nicotine intake? Do you want to use medications to boost your efforts?
    • Set a quit date.
    • Quit. Get rid of all of the cigarettes, ashtrays, matches and lighters in the house. Keep your top five quitting reasons with you and refer to them when you crave a cigarette.
    • Maintain your program for the first two weeks. The cravings will subside and you will begin to feel better in a few days, though irritability, nervousness, sleep problems, difficulty concentrating and coughing may last for a few weeks.
    • Survive the first six months. The physical addiction subsides after a week or two, but psychological cues can still give you the urge to light up.