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Everyone has Feelings

Talking to your son or daughter about how they are feeling is very important.  A few helpful tips can help make dealing with these situations easier:

For Parents:

  •  Spend time with your children as a family, and ask them how they have been feeling.  If a concern arises about signs of depression, seek medical attention/advice.
  • If your child is involved with a stressful situation give them ideas for how to deal with the situation.  Examples could be getting involved in a stress relieving activity like yoga, working out, playing games, reading a book, or focusing on an activity that your child really enjoys.

For Kids:

  • Get involved in an activity where you help other people.  Being involved with an activity where you give your time toward helping others improves your well being, and puts some of the problems you are focusing on into perspective.
  • Form good, solid relationships- not only with your parents and siblings, but with friends at school.  Being around a core group of people that share your values and act as positive role models for each other is important for your overall well being.
  • Remember, everyone gets angry sometimes.  It is important to talk through your feelings and come up with appropriate resolutions to the conflict that has occurred.  Also, it is important to try to understand the other persons point of view.

Always remember that you can talk about things that are bothering you with your Pediatrician at Pediatrix.Sincerely,

Michael Magalnick, DO, FAAP

Posted in Blog on January 31st, 2013

Learning About Sunscreen

Pediatrix understands that outdoor play and a healthy amount of Vitamin D are important for growing kids, but prolonged exposure to the Ultraviolet rays from the sun can become problematic to people of all ages.  Ultraviolet rays are dangerous because they can trigger a chemical reaction within your body’s cells and may cause:

  • Premature aging of the skin
  • Development of skin cancer
  • Development of cataracts

As winter draws to a close, the dangers of the sun and ultraviolet rays become more prominent.  Rising temperatures and longer days attribute to increased sunlight exposure, while the risks to your child increases as well.  No one understands these dangers more than Pediatrix.  You can never be too careful when it comes to the proper skin care in the harsh Arizona climate.

The use of sunscreen is important, but what is just as necessary is a clear understanding of the types of sunscreen and how to properly apply it to your child – of which Pediatrix is here to help.

There are two primary types of sunscreen: physical sunscreen and chemical sunscreen.  Physical sunscreen is the more traditional type of sunscreen; it is the type that you squeeze out of the bottle and lather on to the skin, paying close attention to those hard to reach areas.  Physical sunscreen creates a protective layer for your skin, blocking most of the ultraviolet rays from the sun so that the skin cannot absorb them or their harmful properties.

Chemical sunscreen contains organic chemicals and is often squeezed on to the skin just like physical sunscreen.  The key difference between chemical and physical sunscreen is that where physical sunscreen blocks the ultraviolet light from penetrating your skin, the chemical sunscreen absorbs most of the ultraviolet rays, allowing a small fraction to actually reach your skin.

When applying sunscreen to your child, it is important to cover all exposed areas of the skin.  It is also important to use the recommended amount of sunscreen; many people use as little as half the recommended amount of sunscreen by the bottle, so be sure to read the directions clearly!

If you are concerned about your child’s exposure to the sun or have noticed the development of worrisome marks on the skin, please contact your pediatrician at Pediatrix.  Make an appointment to discuss proper sun exposure and the recommended sun protection for your child.

 

Sincerely,

 

Subir K. Mitra, MD, FAAP

Posted in Blog on March 28th, 2012

Sugar & Weight, Choosing a Healthy Diet for Your Child

As a pediatrician in Phoenix, I often see children drinking sports drinks.  What’s shocking to me is that these drinks often contain more than twice the recommended daily sugar for an adult!  This is just one example of a growing epidemic of including too much sugar in a child’s diet.  It is important to understand the impact a child’s sugar intake has on their weight and overall health. When making nutritional choices, parents should keep in mind that calories from sugar add up quickly and over time can lead to weigh gain and other severe health issues.

Let’s differentiate between natural sugar and added sugar.  Natural sugar is found in unprocessed items exactly as they would be found in nature, such as the sugar in a strawberry.  Added sugar is any additional sugar that is added to foods during preparation.  Sugar additives and sweeteners such as high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, and fructose are frequently added as a preservative in processed foods.  Do not be misled—even foods that do not taste sweet have these ingredients.  For instance, many varieties of crackers contain high fructose corn syrup although you would not classify them as sugary foods.

There are three main sources of sugar in a child’s diet.  Soda and sports drinks can contribute up to 30% of added sugar intake for your child.  Obvious sweets like cake, cookies, and ice cream are the second source of sugar in your child’s diet.  Both of these sources of sugar are fairly obvious, but it takes a very savvy consumer to recognize the third.  Through hidden sugar sources you may be unknowingly adding a significant amount of sugar into your child’s diet. Often advertised as healthy, items like granola bars, yogurt, trail mix, and soy milk mislead consumers about their sugar content.  Therefore, it is imperative that you read nutrition labels as well as the list of ingredients on a product.  The closer sugar is to the beginning of the list, the more sugar there is the food product.

The World Health Organization recommends that less than 10% of calories in a diet should come from added sugar.  Obviously, the most foolproof way of directing your child to healthy snacks is to provide them only healthy choices.  To curb your child’s sweet tooth, start by replacing some of their mid-day sweets with natural sugar and an item high in protein, like strawberries and a cheese stick.  The natural sweetness of the fruit will help curb their taste for sugar, while the protein in the cheese stick will leave them feeling fuller for longer, reducing the temptation to eat a sugary snack a few minutes later.

Desserts and treats can still be enjoyed—but in moderation.  A healthy diet is all about balance. Completely eliminating all sugar from a diet is unrealistic, but providing and encouraging healthy meals and snacks, teaching good eating habits, and saving sweets for special occasions will benefit your child’s health significantly.

If you are concerned about your child’s sugar intake or weight, please contact your pediatrician at Pediatrix.  Make an appointment to discuss healthy nutrition options for your child.

 

Sincerely,

 

Subir K. Mitra, MD, FAAP

Posted in Blog on December 22nd, 2011

Giving Safe Toys for the Holidays

While children are writing their lists to Santa, parents are writing out their holiday gift list. While your child may ask for a specific toy, it may be hazardous to their health. Just because a toy is on the market does not guarantee it is safe—it is your job as a parent to be an educated consumer.

Here is a SAFE TOYS acronym to help parents select appropriate toys:

  • Small Pieces – If you have young children, avoid toys with small parts. A general rule of thumb is if your child is younger than three, do not purchase toys with pieces smaller than an empty toilet paper roll.
  • Appropriate Content – Be mindful of the age of the child receiving the gift. From video game violence to the content of a book series, take into account the child’s perspective and how the material will be received.
  • Flying Objects – Toy planes and model rockets can be a lot of fun if used correctly and under proper supervision. When used incorrectly they have the potential to cause serious damage and injuries.
  • Electrical Toys – Toys that plug in put your child at risk of electrical shock and burns. Select battery operated models instead. Just remember that batteries are small pieces.
  • Toxic Chemicals – Children’s toys have been found to contain dangerous levels of chemicals of concern such as lead, mercury, cadmium and arsenic. Research toys before purchasing to ensure their safety.
  • Open Packages – Never purchase a toy if the package has been opened or tampered with.
  • You’ll shoot your eye out, kid” – Remember Ralphie from the classic movie, A Christmas Story, who wants a BB gun for Christmas? From BB guns to Nerf guns, these toys do have the potential to cause harm. If a child does receive a gift that ‘shoots,’ remind them that it should never be aimed at anyone’s head, younger children, or pets.
  • Sharp edges – avoid toys that have sharp edges or the potential to cause abrasions. Parents should also be careful when opening packaging, as this too can be dangerous.

 

Keeping your family safe and healthy should always remain a priority. Please contact Pediatrix if you have any specific holiday health concerns for your child.

Pediatrix offers resources on safety recalls to ensure that your child’s toys are safe year-round.

Pediatrix physicians are available after office hours during the week and on weekends and holidays. If you have a non-urgent matter, please schedule an appointment during normal business hours. To contact the physician on call, please call (602) 866-0550.

 

Have a safe holiday season.

 

Sincerely,

 

Subir K. Mitra, MD

Posted in Blog on December 8th, 2011