The Latest on Vaccines
In June, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued several recommendations for childhood vaccinations:
- Flu vaccines are now recommended for children six months to 23 months old. Children this age have a higher likelihood of hospitalization for the flu. Flu shots should be available in October, at the start of the flu season.
- There is no recommendation to immunize children (or the general public) against smallpox. There’s no known immediate danger of a smallpox outbreak, and the vaccine is not currently available to physicians. The CDC has determined that the risks of the vaccine far outweigh the benefits at this point.
- There had been a shortage of the tetanus-diphtheria vaccine, and some children experienced delays in getting their booster shots. The shortage is now over, and the CDC is encouraging doctors to notify patients who need their boosters.
Visit the American Academy of Pediatrics for a look at the childhood immunization schedule. (http://www.cispimmunize.org/pro/2002_main.html)
Sources: American Academy of Pediatrics; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2001.
The Latest on DEET
If you want hours of protection from mosquito bites, the most effect insect repellant is one that contains DEET. A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that other repellants, such as natural plant-based lotions, can provide some protection but they wear off quickly. Other natural products seem to offer no protection at all. In the study, the longest-lasting repellant was Off! Deep Woods®. It contains 24 percent DEET and lasts for about five hours.
The US Environmental Protection Agency claims that DEET does not pose danger to humans if it’s used according to product instructions. The Environmental Toxicology Newsletter, put out by the University of California at Davis Cooperative Extension, recommends that children should use a repellant containing only 10 percent DEET. Repellant should never be applied to children’s hands or under their clothes.
If you’re going to be outside for a short period of time and are reluctant to use DEET, you may want to experiment with some of the other more natural products, and remember to apply them frequently.
Source: Journal of the American Medical Association, 3 July 2002
Meds for Kids
According to the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, it’s common for children with food allergies to experience allergic reactions in schools and pre-schools. In the past two years, 18% percent of children have had at least one reaction in school, and 36 percent of those involved organ systems.
Be sure your child’s teachers know how to treat a serious reaction. If there are medications that you keep at home for allergic reactions, make sure there’s a supply at school as well.
Source: Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, July 2001.
Vitamins for Kids?
Most children probably do benefit from a daily multivitamin. Kids can be pretty picky about what they eat, so supplementing their food intake is a good idea for most. Here are some guidelines:
- Wait until your child is about four years old before you start the vitamins
- Look for vitamins that don’t contain sugar or artificial coloring
- Keep the vitamins out of reach of your children
You can start your child on adult vitamins at age 12.
Source: S. Ditchek, R. Greenfield, A. Weil, L. Willeford. Healthy Child, Whole Child. Harper Resource, 2001.
What Kind of Toothpaste?
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), the effort you put into cleaning your teeth is more important than the kind of toothpaste you use. The ADA does recommend that you use a toothpaste with fluoride that has their seal of approval.
Adults should use just enough toothpaste to cover the length of the bristles on their toothbrushes. Children may need to be reminded that they need to use an amount that’s about the size of a pea.
The ADA also recommends brushing twice a day and flossing once a day.
Source: The American Dental Association