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child health

When our children are babies we worry a lot about poop.  Are they going often enough?  Is it the right color and consistency?  Do they have diarrhea?  Your child’s pediatrician will ask a lot of questions about poop that first year or so.  A lot about a child’s health and eating habits can be gleaned from observing what is coming out in their diapers.  Once your baby becomes a toddler there is much less focus on poopy diapers.  Most toddlers settle into a nice easy, once a day cycle that we don’t give much thought to.  We change the diapers, give them some prunes or prune juice if things seem to be getting a bit backed up and that is about it.

However, toddlers can have their own challenges in the poop department.  One of those being toddler diarrhea.  Toddler diarrhea is pretty much an otherwise unexplainable bout of diarrhea.  There is no real cause or underlying medical condition for toddler diarrhea, but many things can trigger it.  In most cases parents and doctors won’t know exactly what caused the diarrhea and things will eventually return to normal on their own.

There are a few things that are thought to set off toddler diarrhea including a change in diet or eating happens, an unrelated illness like a cold (especially if it caused changes in appetite and eating habits), or too much fruit or fruit juice.  Most toddlers will seem unfazed by the diarrhea and will continue to eat normally and gain weight normally.  For the most part there is no real treatment for toddler diarrhea other than a few diet changes.  Most doctors recommend keep their diet fairly bland, eliminating dairy (except for yogurt, which can help with digestive issues) and using a probiotic to help get things back on track.

My daughter is just getting over a case of toddler diarrhea.  She had a cold last week and by the end of the week had pretty bad diarrhea.  We took her to the doctor because she wanted to make sure she didn’t have an ear infection or anything.  Other than a little bit of nasal irritation from her cold the doctor found nothing.  She was diagnosed with unexplained diarrhea (or toddler diarrhea) and off we went with a recommendation to stick with a bland diet for a while and a week’s worth of probiotic samples.  4 days later and (knock on wood) she seems to be over her diarrhea.

If your toddler has diarrhea and no other symptoms to indicate they are ill you may find that they just have a bout of toddler diarrhea.  Call your child’s doctor to determine if he or she wants to see your child and to find out what they recommend for treating toddler diarrhea.  If the diarrhea continues or your child appears to be dehydrated call your doctor right away.  Dehydration is common with diarrhea and can be dangerous if it goes untreated.

It can be so frustrating when your toddler has a cough and you don’t know what you can do for them. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under 3 years of age not be given any over-the-counter cold or cough medications. The common cold often causes a cough in toddlers as the mucus builds up in their throat. They don’t know how to blow their nose yet so it is made that much worse by the mucus build up in their nasal passages. A cough is often most severe at night when they are lying down and the mucus builds up even more.

My daughter just recently had a cold with a bad cough. I felt so bad for her, she was so tired from not sleeping well because of the cough. I wanted to do something for her to make her feel a little better so I did a little research on natural cough remedies for toddlers.

If you find yourself with a toddler who has a stubborn cold and cough here are a few remedies you can try:

  • Elevate their mattress by placing a couple (or so) pillows under one end of the mattress. This will keep them a little bit upright while they sleep and help prevent so much mucus from pooling in their throat causing them to cough.
  • Use a humidifier or cold-mist vaporizer in their room to help keep the air moist. Moist air is helpful for congestion and coughing.
  • Use a vapor rub. Look for one that is safe for toddlers. I’ve heard it is a good idea to rub it on their feet and put socks on them. That way they get the benefit of the vapor rub without the risk of putting it in their mouth.
  • A spoonful of honey. Honey has been shown to be very effective in relieving a cough. You child must be over 1 year of age before they can have honey so this remedy won’t work for babies. If you child is over a year old give him or her 1/2 a teaspoon of honey.
  • A warm bath in a warm/moist room. Run the shower in the bathroom with the door closed for a few minutes to heat up the room and make the air very moist. Then run a bath and let your little one play in the bath for a little while. This will help break up the mucus and is very relaxing for them.
  • Use a bulb syringe and saline solution to clear out their nasal passages. Most toddlers won’t cooperate, but if they do; tilt their head back a bit, put 10-15 drops of saline solution into each nostril, use the bulb syringe to remove the mucus and saline. Don’t fit your toddler, if they don’t cooperate with this one try something else.
  • Give them lots of fluids. This will help keep them hydrated during their cold and will also help break up the mucus in their throat that is causing the cough.

A stubborn cough can be so frustrating, especially when it interferes with your child’s ability to sleep. Try a few things to see what works best for your child. My daughter liked the honey (it tasted good and seemed to work well at alleviating her cough so she could fall asleep). I also find the warm bath in the warm, moist bathroom works well to.

Talk to your doctor if you are worried about your child’s cough at all, or if it persists longer than their cold symptoms.

Do you have any tried and true home remedies that have worked for your little one’s cough? Please share them.

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection anywhere along the urinary tract.  The urinary tract consists of the kidneys, the bladder, the ureters (tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder), and the urethra (tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body).  Urinary tract infections are caused by bacteria getting into the urinary tract.  The bacteria can cause an infection and inflammation at any point along the urinary tract so the infection may be in the uretra, the bladder or the kidneys.

Urinary tract infections are fairly common in children with about 8% of girls and 2% of boys suffering from one at some point during their childhood.  They are easily treated, however, if left untreated can cause permanent kidney damage so be sure to take your child to the doctor if you suspect a UTI.

Depending on the age of your child it can be a little difficult to identify a urinary tract infection.  Younger children who cannot communicate well will not be able to tell you what is going on.  Here are a few of the symptoms to look for that may indicate your child has a UTI: Continue reading

Maya had her 18 month check up a few days ago.  She does not, I repeat DOES NOT like the doctor’s office.  For her first few well-baby check ups she did well.  Cried a little when she was getting weighed and measured, but did well with the pediatrician.  The last couple have been nightmares.  I can literally feel her tense up in the elevator on the way up to the doctor’s office.   I feel bad for her, who wants to see that adorable face stressed out.

This time she told me “no” when I started getting her undressed so they could weigh her, I knew that was a bad sign.  She was hysterical the second I laid her down on the scale.  I’m surprised they were even able to get her correct weight and height measurements!  She is up to a “whopping” 21lbs 9oz which puts in the 15 percentile for weight (my skinny mini).  Her height is now 32in.  I think she be tall and thin (just like mom!!).

I was finally able to calm her down when we got back into the exam room, that was until her pediatrician knocked on the door to announce her arrival.  Maya immediately started crying and didn’t stop until we left.  As soon as the doctor entered the room Maya started saying and signing “all done”.  She even told the doctor to “stop” when she was looking in her ears, eyes, and mouth.  It was plan as day.  The pediatrician couldn’t get over it, she said it was the first time an 18 month old had actually told her to stop.

Her doctor assures me this is perfectly normal behavior for this age.  She promises it will get better after age 2, we’ll see.  She did recommend getting Maya a play doctor set so she can become familiar with the different instruments by playing with them.  And apparently Elmo has a great DVD, Sesame Street – Elmo Visits the Doctor, that she also recommended.  If you have a little one who has trouble with the doctor you may want to give these things a try too.

As for the results of her well-baby check up.  Obviously the pediatrician was impressed with her vocabulary!!  She says about 50 words or so regularly and has a few phrases as well.  She is doing well developmentally as far as play, walking, talking, etc.  Her height and weight are fine, within her normal curves.  No health issues (she has never been to the doctor other than for well-baby check ups {knock on wood}) She is an all around healthy little girl.

We are being sent to an allergist so Maya can be tested for a possible peanut allergy.  The appointment is next week and I’ll update you on the particulars after that appointment.  For now just keep your fingers crossed that the hives from peanut butter were just a fluke and she isn’t allergic to nuts.

Swine flu (or H1N1) has been all over the news for the last week or so.  Many families are becoming worried that they will be affected by swine flu.  It is hard to know what to expect, what to do, and just how bad (or not) it is since the media has gone so over the top with their reporting of this story.

So what is swine flu?  Swine flu (or H1N1) is a type A influenza virus that typically infects pigs.  Recently it has begun infecting humans and is spreading from human to human.  Since this particular influenza virus is new to the human population we have no natural immunity to it.  For more information be sure to visit the World Health Organization’s website.

The symptoms for H1N1 are similar to those of any influenza virus and include:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Body aches
  • Cough
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

If you suspect that you may have the flu contact your healthcare provider.  Anti-viral medication, such as Tamiflu, have proven effective in treating this virus.

So what can you do to protect your family?  It is simple really.  Treat this as you would the regular flu season.  Wash your hands frequently (especially after shaking hands, touching public surfaces, etc), avoid crowded places if you are concerned about contracting the virus, avoid sick people, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, etc.