Organic? Hormone-Free? Non-GMO? Get the Facts

By Ruchi Kaushik, MD, MPH, FAAP
Assistant Professor, Pediatrics
Director, ComP-CaN (Comprehensive Peds for Complex Needs)
Baylor College of Medicine
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio

For us parents, nourishing your child is one of the most innately primitive experiences. From the wide open baby-bird like mouths of your infant to the look of belly-filled satisfaction on the face of your ever-growing teen, nothing is more rewarding than feeding your child.  But with all of the “healthy” options at the grocery store, how are you to know which choices are truly healthy and worth the extra cost?

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Is your child at risk for lead poisoning?

By Dr. Ruchi Kaushik
General Pediatrics
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio

Affecting almost 1 million children in the United States, lead poisoning remains the most preventable environmental health problem. Any child may be at risk for lead toxicity. If you are the parent of a child six years and younger, read on to learn about the risks, prevention, screening, and treatment of lead poisoning.

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Just say no … to the latte?

By Dr. Ruchi Kaushik, MD, MPH
Pediatric Primary Care Physician
Director, ComP-CaN (Comprehensive Peds for Complex Needs)
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio

Today’s teens are on the go. In my own home, we juggle piano, Tae Kwon Do, violin, dance, and running 5Ks with schoolwork, eating healthy family dinners, sleeping, and, of course, having fun and being a kid!  Of those activities, sleep is most likely the first to be neglected, and teens often turn to caffeine and energy drinks to stay alert and in action.  But how much caffeine is too much and what’s in energy drinks anyway?

What is caffeine and what does it do?
Caffeine is a stimulant found in coffee, tea, colas, and energy drinks and is known to enhance performance in adults; however, it has not been studied in children and teens. It raises heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature; helps improve attention and wakefulness; and prevents fatigue.

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What is the difference between a sports physical and a wellness checkup?

By Dr. Sky Izaddoost
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio Primary Care
Alon Town Centre

Summer camp time. Sports physical time. Every year, parents flood medical offices for a last minute sports physical so their child can participate in team sports at school or go to summer camp. Most walk-in clinics charge about $50 for a sports physical.  Parents gladly pay the money, not realizing that their insurance covers an annual well-child checkup, which would include the sports physical– without a co-pay in most cases.

What is the difference between the two?  A sports physical is an abbreviated well-child checkup.  The physician or practitioner is only looking for reasons that your child would not be able to participate in sports or go away to summer camp. They check old injuries like previously broken bones to make sure they have healed, determine if chronic medical conditions like asthma should limit play, and screen for conditions that could potentially cause death with exercise like heart conditions.  There is no further management.  The physical exam is also shortened, looking only for conditions that would affect play.

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Tips for treating and preventing diaper rash

By Dr. Theresa Willis
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio Primary Care
Dominion Crossing

At one time or another, your baby will get diaper rash. First, check with your pediatrician and make sure that the rash isn’t something that needs to be treated by a doctor. Babies and toddlers in diapers can get fungal infections due to the frequently damp and warm area inside the diaper. Bacterial infections and other skin conditions such as eczema are also possibilities that your doctor will look for during an office visit.

If there are no other causes for your baby’s diaper rash, your doctor may tell you that he or she has diaper dermatitis. Diaper dermatitis is a general term used to describe an inflamed rash in the diaper area. It is thought to be caused by the mixing of stool and urine that decreases the pH and prolonged contact then leads to skin breakdown.

The rash can be very uncomfortable and lead to fussy babies and battles over diaper changes because it can be painful when the inflamed area is cleaned.

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Help your teen cope with stress

Elena Mikalsen, Ph.D.
Pediatric Psychologist
Section Chief of Psychology Department

Is your teen spending too much time on social media and not enough time sleeping? It’s one reason your teen may feel stressed and anxious. According to recent American Psychological Association’s (APA) Stress in America Survey, our younger generation is increasingly more stressed. More than one in four teens and young adults say they do not feel they are doing enough to manage their stress, compared with about one in ten older adults.

The APA’s survey also indicated that teens are more likely to report using passive rather than active coping strategies, which are not always as helpful. Teens rely mainly on taking a nap, listening to music, going online, eating and playing video games to cope with stress and depression. Below are some more active ways of coping which parents can easily discuss and teach to their children.

Physical activity
One in five teens and young adults reports exercising less than once a week or not at all. Exercise is one of the most effective stress and anxiety relievers. Any of these activities are helpful: yoga, hiking, biking, walking, dancing, running, rock climbing, and skateboarding. The best activity is one which involves a social component. It doesn’t need to be a team sport.

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Oral health: the gateway to total health

By Dr. Ruchi Kaushik
General Pediatrics
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio

Oral health is the most common chronic disease of childhood. Additionally, gum disease has been linked to future heart and lung disease, diabetes, premature and low-birth weight babies, and a number of other conditions.  The 2000 Surgeon General’s report, Oral Health in America, states that, if left untreated, poor oral health is a “silent X-factor promoting the onset of life-threatening diseases which are responsible for the deaths of millions of Americans each year.”

As a result, teaching your child about good oral hygiene from the start can prevent tooth decay and gum disease and their complications. Continue reading “Oral health: the gateway to total health”