Posts Tagged ‘Health’

Helping Kids Recover From Injuries

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

Some 9.2 million children are injured each year. Stuff happens. So it's important to know what to do when helping kids recover from injuries. Here are some tips from the experts at The Center for Injury Research and Prevention at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia:

At the hospital:

•    Help your child see the hospital staff as helpers. Remind your child that the staff has a lot of experience helping children feel better. Encourage her to participate by asking his or her own questions to the doctors or nurses. It’s important for you as a parent to have accurate information, so ask your own questions too.
•    Be patient with your child. Children’s reactions can include crying, temper tantrums, whining, clinging and acting out in frustration. These feelings and behaviors are common but usually temporary. If your child’s behavior is becoming unmanageable, it’s okay to set rules and limits like you would at home.

After the hospital: 

•    Allow your child to talk about feelings and worries, if he wants to. For younger children, encourage play, drawing and story-telling. Ask your child (and brothers and sisters) what they are thinking, feeling and imagining. Be a good listener — and share the facts, as well as your feelings and reactions.
•    Help your child do some things on his or her own. It is often tempting to do things for your child after he or she is injured or ill. But it is more helpful for children to do things again on their own. As much as the injury or illness allows, encourage your child to do the things (including chores) he or she used to do.
•    Set normal limits. You may be tempted to relax the rules to help your child feel special, or to make up for the hard times that he or she is experiencing. However, it is often better for your child if you set normal limits on behavior and keep most of your family rules and expectations the same.

Helping your child cope:

•    Keep in mind that people in the same family can react in different ways. Remember, your child’s feelings and worries about the injury might be different from yours. Brothers and sisters can feel upset too, even if they were not involved.
•    Take time to deal with your own feelings. It will be harder to help your child if you are worried or upset. Talk about your feelings with other adults, such as family, friends, clergy, your doctor or a counselor.
•    Go back to everyday routines. Help your child get enough sleep, eat regularly, keep up with school, and — as much as the injury allows — go back to doing things with friends.

Visit After The Injury to learn more about child injury and pain care, to take a quiz to rate your child's reactions to injury, and to create a personalized a care plan to help your child recover from the injury.

A Blog for Parents of Troubled Teens

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

A friend just told me about the Troubled Teen Blog, and I'm impressed.

If you are dealing with struggling-teen issues — whether searching for
answers or seeking comfort from other parents in similar situations — this blog may be of help to you and your family.

It discusses residential drug treatment, sexuality, teen stress, teen pregnancy, runaway teens, self-destructive behavior and a lot more. Is it easy reading? No. But it's a great source of information, compassion and support for families who are dealing with one or more of these issues, some of which affect very young teens and even tweens.

Bob Greene Helps You Feed Your Family Healthy Meals — For Less

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

I was so jazzed to get to interview health-and-fitness guru Bob Greene recently for

No, I didn't get to chat with him on Oprah. (I wish!) It was a phone interview. But boy, did his enthusiasm come right through the phone!

We talked about how busy parents can put good food on the table without breaking the bank by choosing quality over quantity, visiting the local farmer's market, skipping highly processed food, preparing and packing lunches and buying in bulk.

Check out the interview here.

Teens and Smoking: Why?

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

On the way back from dropping my son off at school this morning, I pulled up alongside an older Volvo
at a stop light. I smiled when I saw two girls, about 17 years old, in
the car, thinking that the driver's parents had probably made darned
sure she was driving a safe car.

They were so young and beautiful. Smiling, chatting, downing their Starbucks coffee drinks. Then, almost in unison, they both stuck their hands out the car window and flicked ashes from a cigarette.

My heart sank.

My mother in law, Pat, died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) when my son, Matt, was just in first grade. A lifelong smoker, she tried many times to quit. But the habit, which she picked up in college, was too tough for her to give up. I remember her telling all this to Matt and then telling him to NEVER start smoking. To this day, he still talks about that conversation with his grandmother.

This morning, I wanted to get out of my car and go tell all of this to those girls. Those lovely, healthy young women with beautiful skin, bright eyes and (I hoped) still-healthy lungs and hearts.

I didn't, of course. The light turned green. We went our separate ways. And I don't expect those two girls to be seeking out a parenting blog… Until they are parents themselves, of course. When they're addicted to smoking and worried like hell that the second-hand smoke, and the example they're setting, might be hurting their kids. When they're looking up articles on Google about how to quit smoking or how to make sure their own kids never smoke.

How much easier it would be for today's teens to not pick up that first cigarette. Or to quit now, after a few months of smoking, rather than having to stare down that nicotine beast after a decade or more of damage.

If you're a parent who is smelling cigarette smoke on your kid's clothes when then come home, please show them this post. You may not be the parent of those two particular girls. But then again, there might be an older, gold-colored Volvo sitting in your driveway right now.

No Health Insurance? Here’s Help

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

It's tough not to worry.

Turn on CNN and you see stories about hundreds of people losing their jobs as employers resort to layoffs, companies downsize and businesses go out of business.

“Losing your job is scary enough,” says Adam Goldstein, M.D., a professor of family medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine. “But for some people, such as those who have chronic health problems that require both medications and regular visits to the doctor, that fear becomes magnified by the loss of health insurance that often goes hand in hand with the loss of one’s job.”

More than 45 million Americans had no health insurance in 2007, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. What to do if it happens to you? Goldstein offers the following tips:

°    Check to see if you qualify to continue your current health insurance under COBRA. COBRA is a federal law that gives workers and their families who lose their health benefits the right to choose to continue group health benefits for limited periods of time after job loss. Qualified individuals still must pay the entire premium for coverage to continue. For more information, click here.

°    Call your primary-care doctor and explain your situation. Most physicians will work with you to ensure that you still have access to care while you work out a way to pay your medical bills. They may have a sliding-scale policy to allow those with fewer financial resources to pay less at each visit.

°    Seek care at a community health center or free medical clinic whose mission is to serve patients, regardless of their ability to pay. Federally supported community health centers also provide a range of primary-care services on a sliding-scale fee basis. Also, take advantage of the free blood-pressure machines available at many pharmacies.

°    Try to get your medications at reduced or no cost. Prices in pharmacies may vary widely, with the most expensive charging two to five times more than the least expensive. Shop around. Many pharmaceutical companies offer medications for free for a limited time to patients with no income and few financial assets. The Partnership for Prescription Assistance offers access to more than 450 public and private patient-assistance programs, including more than 180 programs offered by pharmaceutical companies. For more information, click here.

How to Keep Tots to Teens Cavity-Free

Sunday, October 19th, 2008

"Dad, You Are So Weird""When should my child have her first trip to the dentist?" "Do I need to clean my baby's gums if he has no teeth yet?"

These questions and more are answered in my article on kids' dental health in this month's issue of Sonoma Family-Life magazine. Check it out for some great tooth-care tips.

After all, Halloween (and all that candy) is just around the corner!