If you have children, you know that crying is what babies do best. They cry when they are hungry, they cry when they are too cold or too hot, they cry when they need a diaper change, and they even cry when they are tired! God designed our babies to cry when they are in need. Crying is a useful tool to help parents know when their baby is in need. However, sometimes babies cry when they don’t need anything and aren’t even in any pain. This kind of crying can be so frustrating and very hard for parents to deal with.
The term “colic” was thrown around quite often until Dr. Ronald Barr developed the concept of the Period of PURPLE Crying. The term “colic” implied that babies had a “problem” or a “condition” when actually, normal and completely healthy babies cry…a lot. It’s part of their development that can begin as early as 2 weeks of age and continue on up to 3-4 months of age. Some babies don’t cry much during this time, but some cry excessively. It sometimes seems to parents that their child is in need or is in pain. If you have done all that you can to comfort your baby (i.e. ensuring he/she has a clean diaper, not too hot or too cold, belly is full, etc.), and your baby is still crying inconsolably (it can even last for hours), there is no need to worry!
The Period of PURPLE Crying sounds as though it received its name from the color that babies sometimes appear when they cry for long periods of time (and it even crossed my mind that it’s the color parents may appear when they are at their wit’s end!). The term “PURPLE Crying” actually was developed from an acrostic to remind parents of the stages of this trying time in parenthood:
P: Peak of crying – Your baby may cry more each week; the most at two months, then less at three to four months.
U: Unexpected – Crying can come and go and you don’t know why.
R: Resists soothing – Your baby may not stop crying no matter what you try to do.
P: Pain-like face – A crying baby may look like they are in pain, even when they are not.
L: Long lasting – Crying can last a much as five hours a day, or more.
E: Evening – Your baby may cry more in the late afternoon and/or evening.
When your baby is crying inconsolably, you can try to take measures to comfort them, but if it gets to be too much and you feel your nerves are wearing thin, lay your baby safely in his or her crib and walk away to give yourself a break. This is a good thing to do many times to just take a step away for a few minutes and regain your composure. Many times, loving, well-meaning parents have become so overwhelmed with frustration during a bout of crying from their baby that they shake their baby. Shaking a baby is extremely dangerous… [then you can insert whatever consequences happen from this because I couldn’t keep reading all the stuff online…]
If you are currently caring for an infant, keep the acrostic above in mind. Inform other parents of infants of the Period of PURPLE Crying, as well. Although it is very frustrating and trying time, this time will end and it does not imply that you are not caring for your child properly. It is just a developmental stage that all babies must go through. Remember to take breaks when you need to by either laying the baby in his or her crib or even calling family or close friends to watch your baby for a short time. Don’t allow yourself to get to a point where you are overwhelmed and never shake your baby.
God made the bodies of children amazing. Many times, if there is a problem with a child that is discovered at a young age, not only can they recover much faster than adults, but their bodies are able, in many ways, to permanently correct the problem. A great example of this is childhood vision problems. If caught at a young age, many vision or eye problems can be corrected for a lifetime!
One of these conditions is amblyopia which is more commonly known as “lazy eye”. A major concern with lazy eye is that, if left untreated, the eye that is “lazy” will eventually cease to function, causing vision loss in this eye due to the fact that the mind realizes that the eye, many times, is not looking at the appropriate objects. Kidshealth.org describes this well by saying, “…the brain’s programming will ignore signals from that eye.”
The most common cause of amblyopia, or lazy eye, is strabismus, which is more commonly referred to as “crossed eyes”. It is simply when the eyes do not align properly, causing the child to look at two different things at once. If you notice that your child’s eyes are not aligning properly, notify your pediatrician promptly because this condition is treatable for children! Many times, doctors are able to correct this problem by placing a patch over the properly-working eye which causes the other eye to worker harder and function better. There are times when surgery is required to correct the problem.
As children grow, they will begin having routine vision screenings at their well child check-ups. These are very important to make sure that there are no problems with your child’s vision. Although this is just a screening, this gives the providers the opportunity to monitor your child’s vision so that if there are any signs of possible vision problems, they can refer your child to see an ophthalmologist for further treatment which may include the use of glasses or contacts (depending on the age and maturity of your child).
As parents, you can also keep an eye out at home for cues that your child may be having trouble seeing. Do you notice them frequently squinting? Do they have difficulty reading a book they are holding? Do they express problems seeing objects far away, such as the board at school? Sometimes even headaches can be an indication of vision problems.
If it is determined that your child is in need of corrective lenses, remind your child that needing glasses is nothing to get discouraged about. Not only will glasses significantly improve their ability to see things they had difficulty seeing before, but they can also choose from a very wide variety of glasses that they feel best suits them! It’s just another way they can express individuality! As your child approaches the teen years, they may be more inclined to want contact lenses instead of glasses. Before deciding on contact lenses, discuss with your child the responsibilities that come with contacts – proper care and cleaning, removal each night before bed, etc.
It is important to ensure your child has the best vision possible. Without proper vision, your child could experience other problems such as learning difficulties. Make sure you are following your pediatricians’ recommendations for proper eye exams and care to ensure your child is able to have a clear view of the world around them.
These facts and more can be found at kidshealth.org/parents.
While I was watching television with my three-year-old son the other day, we saw a woman being interviewed and the camera was pretty close to her. My son pointed out that the woman’s teeth were brown…and they were. He then said, “I guess she doesn’t brush her teeth.”
Good dental hygiene must begin at an early age! The Children’s Dental Health Project says, “Children with cavities in their primary (baby) teeth are three times more likely to develop cavities in their permanent (adult) teeth” The Children’s Dental Health Project is a non-profit organization which is funded by many respectable health agencies, such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Their slogan is “the voice for children’s oral health” and they hold to this statement as their website is full of information on the importance of dental hygiene for children, from babies to school-age kids.
So, how do you care for a baby’s first teeth? The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends beginning before your baby’s teeth even come in! They recommend taking a small piece of gauze to clean the inside of baby’s mouth after each feeding to clean out any residue or plaque. When baby’s teeth begin to show, take a small, child-size tooth brush and add a tiny amount of fluoride toothpaste (about the side of a grain of rice, as recommended by the ADA) and brush over the teeth. Around age two is when you can increase the amount of fluoride toothpaste to pea-size (and picking their favorite cartoon character on the tube is a great incentive to keep them interested in brushing!) And absolutely never let your child take a bottle or sippy cup to bed (neither at nap time nor bedtime). Children should finish their bottle or sippy cup before going to bed. By allowing them to go to sleep with it, this places your child at a very high risk for tooth decay and damage as the liquid will set on their teeth once they’ve fallen asleep, causing severe damage to the teeth.
As your child grows, continue to instill dental hygiene by requiring your children to brush their teeth thoroughly twice a day. The ADA suggests that children should be able to independently brush their teeth by age seven, but recommends checking their brushing skills until you are certain their brushing is up-to-par! And don’t forget to teach them to floss!
It is recommended by the Children’s Dental Health Project as well as the ADA that children have their first visit to the dentist around their first birthday. From there the dentist will recommend a schedule for dental check-ups which could range anywhere from every 6 months to once per year. These routine visits should be kept. These visits are taken as a preventative measure. It is much easier to catch a problem (such as a cavity) and correct it early than it is to correct a problem that has been developing for a while.
Dental problems can cause overall health problems for your children if they are not taken care of promptly, and the longer a problem is ignored, the more it may cost to have the problem corrected. If your children do not have dental insurance and you cannot afford to pay for dental visits, there are programs that can help! Check with your local DHHR or visit https://www.cdhp.org/priorities/coverage-financing for more information! Your child’s oral health is worth it!
Chickenpox seems to be the disease that no one takes seriously. I was under the impression that it wasn’t that bad before I began advocating for vaccines. I would ask Dr. Solari, “Why did they even make a chickenpox vaccine? We shouldn’t be encouraged to get a vaccine for something that isn’t dangerous!” But I was so wrong. Chickenpox should not be taken so lightly. It is a serious disease and is capable of causing long term problems. Don’t believe me? Keep reading.
Most of us probably know the common symptoms caused by chickenpox: small, itchy, red spots all over a person’s body and may be accompanied with a fever. We also know how contagious chickenpox is! The things we may not know are the serious complications that can stem from chickenpox. These can include (but are not limited to) dehydration, pneumonia, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and sepsis (infection in the blood stream). These complications are serious and many times require hospitalization to be treated. Sometimes, even death can occur.
In the many discussions that I’ve seen, or even sometimes been a part of, I’ve frequently heard the argument that the chickenpox vaccine is just unnecessary because the disease is so mild. These kinds of statements are usually followed up with a phrase such as, “I had chickenpox when I was a kid and I’m completely fine!” This is kind of faulty thinking is referred to as “hasty generalization”. Just because the person making this statement did not have any complications from the chickenpox does not mean that is the truth for everyone. The CDC says, “Before the vaccine, about 4 million people would get chickenpox each year in the United States. Also, about 10,600 people were hospitalized and 100 to 150 died each year as a result of chickenpox.” So maybe the one person in the discussion did not have any problems other than typical chickenpox symptoms, but these numbers tell a much different story! Since the release of the vaccine in 1995, the incidents of chickenpox have declined more than 82%.
On the CDC’s website, there are many links to stories of healthy children who contracted chickenpox and experienced severe symptoms, some resulting in death. Recently, I’ve heard talk of “Pox Parties” where parents will take their otherwise healthy children to friend’s house where the friend has chickenpox in order to infect their own child with chickenpox so that they can gain immunity. But this causes unnecessary suffering to the child and opens the door, not just to chickenpox, but to the many other possible complications from chickenpox that could require your child to be hospitalized or worse. There is no need to take such a risk just to gain immunity when there is just a simple vaccine that will prevent the chickenpox all together. If you are invited to a “Pox Party”, just say no.
There are also some who believe that healthy children will not experience a bad case of chickenpox and will definitely not have any complications from it. Although it is true that children who have chronic illnesses are at a higher risk for complications from the chickenpox (and other vaccine-preventable diseases), it is not true that healthy children are exempt from complications. By clicking here, you can read a heart-wrenching story about a healthy five-year-old boy who died a tragic death from chickenpox (Warning: the article is detailed and very difficult to read due to the suffering this child went through). Hearing stories such as these, I cannot comprehend why anyone would want to risk their child suffering as this boy did when we now have medical advancements that can protect our children from these types of diseases.
It takes extreme amounts of time and money before vaccines are released to the public. Medical experts and scientists are not going to waste their time and money developing a measure of prevention for diseases that “aren’t that bad”. They put their time and money into developing ways to prevent the serious diseases that can cause severe suffering and death. Even if the chance of severe complications from chickenpox is small, there is still the chance that it could happen to any of our children. Why take that risk for your kids? Keep them up-to-date on ALL of their vaccines. If you aren’t sure why a certain vaccine is recommended (or even required for school), call our office and schedule an appointment to meet with Dr. Solari or Fonda who can give you the hard facts about why each and every vaccine is vitally important.
One of the most common vaccines that people refuse to get is the influenza vaccine. Flu shots are recommended for everyone one every year. The reason that you must get your flu shot every year is because new strains of the influenza virus come out every year, so new flu shots are developed to protect against these strains. However, there are many common misconceptions about the flu shot! This blog will be slightly different, as I will pose it as a Q&A to address these misconceptions and try to shed a little light on why the flu shot is so important every year.
Q. Is the influenza virus really that dangerous?
A. The influenza virus can easily lead to complications (such as pneumonia or dehydration) which are where the significant dangers lie. Approximately 200,000 people are hospitalized each year because of complications from the flu. Deaths have reached a high of 49,000 people in one year! All children are considered high risk for the flu as they make up a large portion of those who are hospitalized each year. Severe complications from the flu are most common in children ages 2 and younger. Also, if you or your children have chronic health conditions (such as asthma or diabetes), these conditions leave you very susceptible to severe complications from the flu.
Q. If I have my children vaccinated with the flu shot each year, can I decline one for myself?
A. No. Vaccines, as we have discussed in prior blogs, do not have a 100% guarantee for immunity. Since you are the caregiver of your children and you are around them most often, you could easily pass along the virus to your children if you have been infected. If your children have been vaccinated, the virus would be less severe for them, but they will still suffer the symptoms. To ensure the safety of your family, it is recommended that everyone in the household who is able receive the flu shot.
Q. Can I get the flu from the flu shot?
A. No. The flu shot is made with an “inactivated” influenza virus (some shots have no virus in them at all). The FluMist (a spray that is administered by inhaling through the nose) is a live virus, but the virus immediately dies once it enters the body due to the body temperature. Many people claim that they have gotten the flu from the flu shot, but there are a few possibilities for the symptoms they may experience after receiving the vaccine. Once the vaccine is administered, the body must build antibodies over a period of two weeks before full protection is in place. In addition to this, the vaccine can result in mild soreness, particularly at the injection site which can appear as a symptom of the flu. Also, it is possible that when going to a facility to receive the flu vaccine, the person was exposed to the influenza virus which he or she may have contracted before even receiving the vaccine. Or possibly the person contracted a strain of the flu that was not included in the vaccine for that flu season. Finally, as we mentioned above, no vaccine is 100% guaranteed immunity. The person may have contracted the flu after receiving the flu shot, in which case their symptoms will be much less severe than if they had not received the vaccine at all!
The flu vaccine is no different than any other vaccine that has been created. The flu vaccine had to go through years of testing. Study after study had to be performed on the vaccine to ensure the safety of it before releasing it to the public. It is just as important as any other vaccine that we have available and it has the same capabilities as other vaccines to save lives! I personally know someone who died of complications from the influenza virus. Keep your family safe this flu season and have everyone in your family who is able to receive the flu vaccine – this year and every year!
This information and more can be found at cdc.gov.
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