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'Pediatric Specialty Care' posts

Seattle rain? You can still play inside!

In the last few years, I’ve taken note of various national campaigns encouraging improved health and wellness in children. Some aim to inspire at least an hour of play daily. Others focus on movement in conjunction with eating nutritious food to help fight childhood obesity. All of these campaigns share a common important message: regular physical activity improves a child’s overall health.

With the winter months upon us, my patients and families are concerned how to maintain activity levels when it’s cold, rainy, and gets dark outside too early. Even in the warmest months, there may be reasons a child might be inside more than out – including safety concerns. Fortunately, there are many fun ways children CAN stay active indoors when playgrounds are cold, ball fields are icy, yards are soggy, or the sun goes down too early.

Here are some ways kids can play inside while also working on strength, balance, flexibility, or coordination:

No “window of opportunity” for celiac disease prevention

As a pediatric gastroenterologist, I’m often asked whether there is any way to prevent a child from developing celiac disease. Based on what I knew regarding how food allergies develop, I used to counsel families that there might be a “window of opportunity”, between four and six months, when it’s possible to introduce grains and other gluten-containing foods that could potentially “teach” the immune system to tolerate gluten and thus lower the risk of developing celiac disease.

However, my “window theory” recently got thrown out the window when the results of two important scientific studies were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Parents: talk to your kids about e-cigarettes

Do you know what an e-cigarette is?  Does your child?  You may be surprised.  In 2012, 1.78 million U.S. students reported having used e-cigarettes.  And that number has only continued to increase.  Our communities have been slow to realize the impact of electronic cigarettes on our children, but this is an issue parents and pediatricians need to tackle head-on ...

Putting the science into action: helping children benefit from reading

It is astonishing to me how important it is to read to children from an early age. Research tells us there are short term and long lasting benefits from exposing children to books and language from the beginning. In an exciting progression, the idea of early literacy has moved from academia to policy. Supporting parent engagement and early literacy programs is a core part of Washington’s Early Learning System.

Early literacy does not mean early reading. Early literacy emphasizes positive exposure to a literacy-rich environment. Many important reading concepts begin before kindergarten. Studies show us that a child’s early literacy environment (age 0-3) plays a crucial role in school success and reading ability. Children enter kindergarten with different knowledge levels. Those who enter with the least knowledge of beginning reading skills are at academic risk.

The benefits of early literacy do not stop at kindergarten; it continues throughout the school years. Frequent positive literacy experiences in preschool is directly associated with:

Can food allergies be undiagnosed?

With food allergies on the rise in the past several years, you probably know at least one person who is allergic to cow’s milk, eggs, soy, wheat, nuts, or seafood. Individuals with a food allergy typically experience symptoms every time they eat a particular food. These symptoms range from relatively mild like hives and swelling to more severe such as coughing, vomiting, or loss of consciousness.

Unfortunately, there are no approved treatments for food allergies today. Individuals cope by avoiding the food and having proper medications nearby in case of an allergic reaction. As most children eventually outgrow some food allergies, it’s important to get tested for an accurate diagnosis.

To diagnose a food allergy, allergy specialists usually ...

7 benefits of eating together as a family

Regular family meals are good for children and for the family as a whole! Here's why:

1. Eating together encourages family togetherness
  • Positive family mealtimes help family members maintain relationships and feel a sense of belonging
  • When children can count on regular time with a parent or adults, they feel loved, safe and secure
  • Children set roots for a lifetime as they experience their family’s values and traditions

2. Eating together fosters happy, well-adjusted kids
  • Kids can feel accepted by their family and may not need to seek approval from the wrong crowd
  • Adolescents are less likely to be depressed and generally have a better self- esteem
  • Adolescents are less likely to smoke cigarettes, use marijuana, illegal drugs or alcohol

3. Eating together helps kids do better in school
  • Listening to grownups at the table exposes children to new works which helps them read better
  • Table talk gives youth a safe place to express their ideas. They ....

Using technology to help educate, prepare, and distract kids in the hospital

The hospital can be a scary place for any patient, and even more so for children. iPads have been around for nearly four years and in that time they have expanded the way children are educated, prepared, distracted, and provided normalization in the pediatric areas of the hospital.

Educating kids

An iPad allows staff to teach patients about a new diagnosis while making it fun and interactive. An iPad provides a visual and hands on way to teach about a diagnosis and also make sure the patient understands their diagnosis. There are many apps designed by healthcare professionals for diagnosis education with kids. Some of these applications include: “Medikidz explains Type One Diabetes”, “Blast Those Blasts” (for children with cancer, specifically leukemia), “Flow Breather” (for children with cystic fibrosis) and “Wellapets- Asthma Education Pets for Kids.”

Helping kids prepare for a procedure or experience

Most pediatric patients ...
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