Archive for October, 2008

Flu Shot or Not?

Flu season is on its way.  Though getting a flu shot may seem like a no brainer to some, at $20 a shot for my family of six, I want to know if it’s really necessary.

New Jersey recently passed a law requiring flu shots for all pre-school and elementary school kids. Some parents are happy because it will mean their kids are less likely to pick up the flu at school. Others are furious that the government is regulating medical procedures for their children they see as risky and unnecessary.

According to the CDC the number of Americans getting the flu in a particular year could be as low as 5 percent or as high as 20 percent of the population. More than 200,000 people are hospitalized and 36,000 people die. Those most likely to die of influenza and related complications are the elderly and other immune compromised people.

Members of “priority groups” will get flu shots first if, as in recent years, there are shortages. This high-risk group includes:

•    Children aged 6 to 23 months
•    Children over 2 years old with chronic health conditions
•    Children who are taking long term aspirin therapy
•    Household members of children less than 6 months of age, since these babies are too young to get a flu shot themselves
•    Women who will be pregnant during the flu season
•    Residents of long-term care facilities
•    Adults with any condition that weakens the immune system
•    Any person in close contact with someone in a high-risk group, such as healthcare workers.

People who should not get a flu shot include:

•    Anyone who’s severely allergic to eggs (ingredients for flu shots are grown inside eggs)
•    Infants under 6 months old
•    Anyone who’s ever had a severe reaction to a flu vaccination (although most people do not      experience  any side effects from the flu shot)
•    Anyone with Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), a rare condition that affects the immune system and nerves
•    Anyone with a fever

Flu shots are made of dead influenza virus cells and cannot give your child the flu. A nasal mist vaccination is available for children over 2. This is a live vaccine and your child could develop flu symptoms.

Some parents worry about the preservative Thimrosal contained in some vaccines can cause autism. Studies have shown no measurable connection. Thimrosal-free shots are available.

Flu shots are available at a variety of locations including some stores and pharmacies and your county health department. Most HMOs will only cover flu shots if they are given at your pediatrician’s office. You will then only be asked to pay your required co-pay.  The flu shot cannot keep your children from getting other kinds of viral infections and may not even prevent some influenza strains.

The best  way to ensure your child stays healthy this winter is to wash hands often, avoid crowds, and never share cups or eating utensils.

Find more great child health articles and Child n’Parent

By:  Megan Wallgren

Add comment October 25th, 2008

Encourage Your Child To Read For Pleasure

Give your child a gift that will last a lifetime!  Encourage them to read for pleasure.  Children who read for pleasure have active imaginations and enjoy learning.

When reading, children must use their imagination. With the expansion in the visual technology industries like television and video games, children do not commonly use their imagination. Books open up a world where your child has to visualise what is happening, rather than rely on pictures from other people.

Reading will broaden your child’s horizons and take them into new and exciting worlds. The Harry Potter books are popular because they allow the children to escape their life and enjoy the different world of wizardry. Children who read for pleasure tend to be adventurous and willing to explore the world they find themselves in, because books encourage exploring new ideas.

Teachers have noticed extraordinary differences in the scholastic achievements between children who read for pleasure and children who do not. Children who read during school holidays are more likely to excel in writing and in spelling.

Reading allows your child to see words in different contexts, which can aid comprehension. The more you see how a word is used, the more likely you are to use the word correctly in your own vocabulary.  Seeing the words correctly spelt will help your child to learn spelling. Your child’s writing skills will increase by reading sentences and seeing how paragraphs link together.

Children who read for pleasure are even able to socialise with others better.  Despite being a solitary activity, reading encourages an understanding of how people relate to each other as the characters in books form relationships.

Readers learn about consequences of actions and logical progression because books always follow a logical sequence of events, and characters must deal with the consequences of their actions.

Often children who read for pleasure will perform well in written tests, because they are more likely to understand the phrasing of the questions, and will be able to write their answers with clarity.

Allowing your child to choose the books to read encourages an interest in reading. Even books that are not “educational” will bring benefits to your child’s learning and scholastic progress.

Ensure your child chooses a book at the right level. If it is too difficult, the child may become discouraged. If the book is too easy to read, your child may become bored and decide to play a video game instead.

Parents can encourage reading by regular trips to a library to exchange books. You can make this a family trip. Try turning off the television set sometimes in the evenings or on weekends. When everyone in the family sits together, reading their own books, your children will see reading as fun, relaxing, and a reasonable form of entertainment.

You can read with your children. Reading books aloud allows children to hear the characters in a different way, and develops good listening skills. Remembering how you spent time each week reading a book together will be a precious memory when your child grows up.

Reading books aloud to your child gives you a chance to broaden your child’s vocabulary. Choose a book that is slightly beyond their current understanding, and explain any confusing terms.

Give your child time to sit and enjoy the experiences of reading. Reading is an activity that can be enjoyed anywhere, so encourage your child to pack a book when travelling in the car.

Children who learn how to read for pleasure will reap the benefits in their schoolwork, and will have fun using their imagination in ways technological forms of entertainment do not allow. Broaden your child’s horizons and give them the gift of reading for pleasure.

Find more great parenting tips at Child n’Parent.

By:  Hayley Hunkin

1 comment October 18th, 2008

Jessy’s Story

I am a mom of 2 (almost 3) due November 17th, 2008   Yikes!  It’s getting close. I have an 8 year old, Bella,  and a 4 (almost 5 year old), Sophia, and I am having another little girl.  Her name will be Skarlet.

When I went from having one kid to 2 kids, I knew that it was going to be hard and it was.   Bella became very, very jealous of Sophia, and ever since she was born Bella has not been the nicest big sister.  I have tried explaining to her that she got just as much attention as Sophia did when she was her age, but she is still jealous and acting out and trying to boss Sophia around.

Part of the reason, I think, has to do with Sophia’s father somewhat coming around.  Bella gets very mad and sad and jealous.  Bella’s father didn’t see her at all until she was probably around 2, and for a few years saw her on Christmas and her birthday.  But for the past 2 or 3 years he hasn’t been around at all and I get so angry and I feel so bad.  I don’t understand how a father could just not care about his child enough to even call her once in a while, so I have had a hard time with Bella.  She acts out a lot!

So, in February I got married to a wonderful guy and we got pregnant. He is really excited.  He loves Bella and Sophia very much but I think he is super excited to have a child of his own.  The pregnancy was rough with morning sickness and the marriage was kind of in a shambles for a while but it’s getting better and I think everything will work out, but I do have some concerns with both kids when this baby comes.  I try and give my older kids as much as I can right now before the baby comes, swim lessons, alone time with each of them etc. but I still think there still will be issues.

I think they are excited about the baby coming but at the same time there will be times when Sophia is throwing a fit and she will threaten to hit my tummy and that really worries me.  I also have decided to home preschool Sophia so that we have our one on one time together while the baby is napping and what not, I am hoping this will help.

If any of you have any suggestions on anything or have been through similar things as far as jealousy, a father that isn’t around etc.

I would love to hear from you, I’m so stressed out over it all it would help to know that I’m not alone.

Thank you for listening,


1 comment October 10th, 2008

Get Back at School Germs with These Healthy Handwashing Tips!

As a young Mother, I wanted to teach my three year old daughter some quality health habits.  Hand washing was big in my mind; so I encouraged her to wash her hands after using the bathroom and before meals.  At first, I helped I her wash her hands, demonstrating how to do it while saving water.  One day I decided to cut her loose to try it on her own.  She came out of the bathroom with a big smile on her face;   “You washed your hands, right?” I asked.  “Yes,” she answered proudly, “and I saved even more water.”  “Oh yeah?”  I answered, “How did you do that?”  I expected to hear something along the lines of water conservation with a quick, but good wash.  She gave me cute smile with an answer that left my mouth hanging; “I used the water in the potty!”  Needless to say, we made another fast trip to the bathroom sink.

In today’s fast paced world, hand washing is slowly becoming a thing of the past.  Isn’t it funny that a simple health habit which kills germs and prevents sickness is something that some people are just too busy to do!   In one study conducted by the Minnesota Department of Health at the Minnesota State Fair, only 65% of the females along with 39% of the males actually washed their hands after using the bathroom.  It pretty much adds up to one big yuck!

Teach your kids to wash their hands!  Not only will it lower your medical bill, you’ll feel like a really good Mom as you teach them a health habit that they can really hang on to.  Start by teaching them how to lather up with only one pump of soap.  Teach them proper hand washing skills by demonstrating how to squish the soap between their fingers to get all the soap running around the little crevices.  Show your child how to rub the soap into the fingernail to kill any nasty underlying germs.  Also, teach your child how to safely turn on both the hot and cold water to quickly achieve a warm temperature.  Keep a bottle of hand sanitizer near the back door for quick killing germ attacks, especially after playing in the dirt or sand.

Practicing the health habit of good hand washing can carry over into the school years.   Washing hands at school will kill yucky germs and help your whole family to stay healthy.  Tell your child to leave the germs at school by washing their hands after every bathroom break and just before lunch.   Buy some sanitizing wipes that they can keep in their backpack for both hand and face clean ups at school. Most teachers keep hand sanitizer in the classroom.  Ask your child to sanitize regularly after recess.  If the classmate sitting next to them is blowing, coughing or sneezing, tell your child to sanitize more frequently, especially if they have borrowed any school supplies.

The good health habit of hand washing can carry over into the adult years.  If you teach your child well, you can bet that when they grow up and go to the State Fair they will come out of the bathroom with their hands washed!  Oh, and they won’t use the water in the potty.

By:  Debby Hoffer

2 comments October 2nd, 2008


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