Three ways to relieve a stuffy nose

By Dr. Benjamin Moresco
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio
Baylor College of Medicine, Third Year Resident (PGY3)

Please note: the model used below is a specially designed manikin used by medical professionals to practice and demonstrate procedures.

Cold and flu season, fall allergies, and children getting settled back into school (and sharing lots of germs with each other) create the perfect combination for little ones to get stuffy noses. Runny noses are one thing, but even worse is the nasal congestion and sinus pain that can accompany a cold. What can parents and caregivers do at home to relieve a stopped-up nose and painful sinus pressure?

What you may not know is that many children who visit the Emergency Room (ER) during the fall and winter could have been cared for at home. In addition to the handy dandy bulb-syringe, there are some newer options available for families to help clear the nose and mouth of mucus. Be sure to remember two very important things: keep your child well hydrated and always use nasal saline before you suction.

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Today’s tobacco not a safe alternative

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

Did you know that nine out of ten smokers start smoking before the age of 18? Consequently, tobacco prevention is a pediatrician’s problem to tackle.  Fortunately, over the past several decades, tobacco use has declined, primarily because of regulations put in place to bar the industry from marketing to children and youth.

Enter vaping – the tobacco industry’s latest attempt to hook your child. Overall, tobacco use among teens has declined since the 1970s; however, a recent study published in Pediatrics revealed that 13.7 percent of 12th grade students in Southern California currently smoke cigarettes or e-cigarettes compared to 9.9 percent in 2004 (before e-cigarettes were available).  E-cigarettes are a type of electronic smoking device available in a variety of colors, sizes, and flavors (eg. vanilla, chocolate) and are advertised to be a “safer” form of tobacco.

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Can children thrive on a vegetarian diet?

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

Because of the recent increase in obesity incidence and a desire to improve cardiovascular health, many families have developed an interest in vegetarian diets; however, parents often fear that with a diet restriction, they may not be able to meet the nutritional needs of their children. I currently am raising three, young lacto-ovo-vegetarians and assert that, with knowledge and creativity, parents can ensure the normal nourishment and growth of their child. Indeed, studies have shown that with vegetarian diets children may still attain normal weights and heights.

Definitions
Vegetarians do not eat meat, poultry, or fish. Those who do consume eggs and dairy products are lacto-ovo-vegetarians. Lacto-vegetarians eat dairy but not eggs. And vegans only consume plant foods. Although a well-varied diet can be sufficient for all types of vegetarians, without close monitoring of food selection, vegan children may be at risk for a nutritional deficiency.

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My child is being bullied. What should I do?

By Elena Mikalsen, Ph.D.
Section Chief, Department of Psychology

There are more and more stories in the media about children being bullied at school. Finding out that your child is being bullied is frightening and you may wonder how much to worry and what to do to help your child. Here are some basic tips on what we know about bullying and ways to handle situations involving your child and bullying.

What is bullying?

  • Spreading rumors
  • Making threats
  • Physical/verbal attacks
  • Excluding someone from a group on purpose
  • Can happen on-line – cyberbullying

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How to keep your baby safe from choking

By Dr. Farooq Mirza
Emergency Department
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio

Around eight to nine months of age, infants begin exploring their environment by putting almost everything into their mouths. They have to be protected from ingesting dangerous materials. Any hard, smooth food that requires a grinding, chewing motion should not be given to young children.

  • Large chunks of foods such as meat, vegetables, etc., are a choking hazard.
  • All nuts (peanuts), hard candy, grapes, raisins, hot dogs, sausages, popcorn, and corn should not be given to children under four years of age, since the chewing motion is not well established. Even thick peanut butter poses a choking hazard for infants.
  • Small items such as coins, buttons, pins, paper clips, etc., should be kept out of reach of young children
  • Un-inflated balloons should not be allowed around children. Balloons and plastic bags or wrap are designed to be airtight. If they are placed over the mouth and nose or are inhaled, they may make a tight seal and smother the child. If an inflated balloon bursts, the pieces should be disposed of immediately.
  • While most toys designed for children under three years are safe, the toys of older siblings pose a danger to their younger brothers and sisters. Take care to ensure that young children do not have access to toys designed for older children.

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Grant helps provide children with safety helmets

By Dr. Joel S. Blumberg
Director, Pediatric Continuity of Care Clinic
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio

With the support of the Texas Medical Association and the Texas Pediatric Society, the Pediatric Primary Care Clinic of The Children’s Hospital San Antonio has acquired a limited number of bicycle helmets to distribute to patients. Texas Medical Association’s Hard Hats for Little Heads program promotes exercise and teaches children and their parents about the importance of wearing a helmet when bicycling, in-line skating, skateboarding, and when riding scooters.

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Test your flu IQ

By Michelle Barajaz, MD, FAAP
Director, Baylor College of Medicine Residency Program

Most parents would do anything to protect their children from harm. We buckle them into their car seats, make them wear helmets, and teach them to look both ways when they cross the street. However, every year many parents fail to take a simple step that could save them from losing their child to a very real and present, but mostly preventable, danger: influenza. See how much you know about how to protect your child by taking our quick true/false quiz.

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