Choosing Safe Toys For Children This Holiday Season

The holiday season is the best time of the year to buy toys for children. However, parents are often overwhelmed by a larger selection, and choosing the best toy can become challenging.  The most important thing to remember when choosing toys for toddlers is picking safe and appropriate toys for their age.

Each year hospital ERs are visited by over 200,000 young children, typically under the age of three, who have incurred toy-related injuries.   These injuries can be avoided if parents keep these guidelines in mind when buying toys:

  • Carefully read warning labels
  • Do not buy toys with small and removable parts
  • Check to see if toys are on a recall list by visiting sites such as recalls.gov or cpsc.gov.
  • Avoid buying toys with parts that launch or projects
  • Do not purchase toys with sharp edges or points
  • Make certain that cords or strings are shorter than seven inches
  • Avoid buying toys that make extremely loud noises

Most toys come with warning labels that advise parents of potential choking hazards and compatibility by age group. Parents should pay close attention to these labels and do due diligence by researching toys and inspecting them for further dangers.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

What is Pediatric Diabetes?

Approximately 10% of all Americans have diabetes, with an increasing number of these cases occurring in children and teenagers under the age of 20. Diabetes that occurs within this age range (referred to as pediatric diabetes) usually presents as type 1 diabetes, which causes the body to stop producing insulin. However, type 2 diabetes, which causes insufficient insulin production and causes cells to absorb less sugar from the bloodstream, has begun to account for more of these cases over time.

According to Dr. Hariram Ganesh, a pediatric endocrinologist at Forest Hills Pediatrics, increasing rates of obesity and economic factors are largely to blame for the increased prevalence of pediatric type 2 diabetes.

“Rising obesity rates have caused rates of type 1 and type 2 diabetes in children to even out,” said Dr. Ganesh. “Junk food is much cheaper and more accessible than healthy options. Many families would rather spend a dollar on fast food than 60 dollars on something healthy at the grocery store. “

Children with prediabetes may exhibit certain signs, such as excessive thirst and the frequency with which they need to use the bathroom. Additionally, black marks may occur around the neck, armpits, groin, or other parts of the body due to abnormally high insulin levels. Some other signs you may notice include:

  • Yellow, brown, or red patches of skin
  • Hardened or thickened skin on the fingers or toes
  • Blisters (in rare cases)
  • Skin infections or rashes

If you notice any of these signs, you should bring your child to your primary physician as soon as possible. They can help determine whether your child’s symptoms warrant a referral to an endocrinologist or are indicative of a less severe problem.

While neither type 1 nor type 2 diabetes has a cure, both are treatable. For children with type 2 diabetes, an initial plan of three to six months of dietary changes and exercise coupled with medication may help manage the condition. In cases of type 1 diabetes, however, treatment options are more limited.

“Type 1 primarily involves insulin dependence and cannot be managed with diet and exercise alone,” said Dr. Ganesh. “Even if a child loses weight, they’ll continue to need insulin. Otherwise, they may end up in the hospital.”

Still, Dr. Ganesh emphasizes the importance of diet and exercise, regardless of any diabetes diagnoses your child may or may not have received.

“Diabetes is just one problem among many related to childhood obesity, and in many cases, a diagnosis may only be a matter of time. Parents should make a point to emphasize a healthy diet and physical activity for their children, whether that involves playing with them or finding a local place for them to regularly participate in physical recreation,” said Dr. Ganesh.

If your child is exhibiting signs that may be indicative of prediabetes, schedule an appointment at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center now by calling (718) 206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

What is RSV?

RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) is a respiratory illness that is typically most prevalent during the fall, winter, and early spring seasons. Most children born in the United States will have experienced it at some point before their second birthday.

The virus often presents symptoms similar to those of a cold, including a runny nose, coughing or wheezing, fever, and decreased appetite. These symptoms usually appear approximately four to six days after infection, but may not appear all at once.

While it usually does not lead to hospitalization, RSV can be particularly dangerous to children if it causes bronchiolitis or pneumonia to develop; it’s the most common cause of both of these illnesses in children under the age of one. If an infant develops either of these conditions, becomes dehydrated, or experiences significant difficulty breathing, the situation could become more serious and require hospital care.

RSV can also be especially dangerous for older adults, accounting for approximately 177,000 hospitalizations in adults over the age of 65.

The virus is usually spread through:

  • Bodily fluids such as mucus, saliva, or droplets
  • Surfaces that have the virus on them
  • Direct contact such as kissing an infected person

The best way to decrease the risk of an older adult or infant developing RSV is to prevent as many means of transmission as possible and promptly get them medical care if their symptoms seem to be worsening.

People and children who are at risk of developing severe cases of RSV should:

  • Avoid close contact with infected people and, if possible, close-contact settings such as daycare centers where RSV can more easily spread
  • Frequently wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds and refrain from touching their face until after they’ve done so

If you are sick with RSV, you should:

  • Avoid close contact with non-infected people
  • Frequently clean surfaces you’ve touched with disinfectant
  • Wear a mask and/or cover coughs and sneezes with a sleeve or tissue
  • Frequently wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds

If you or someone you know has developed RSV symptoms that require medical attention, you can schedule an appointment at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center by calling (718) 206-7001 now.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Head Lice Prevention Month

Since 1985, healthcare organizations have informed communities about head lice symptoms, diagnosis, and prevention for National Pediculosis Prevention Month, also known as Head Lice Prevention Month.

Although reliable data isn’t available on this condition, pediculosis (head lice infestation) is fairly common. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately six to 12 million infestations affect children between the ages of three to 11 each year. Adults can also develop infestations through contact with both children and other adults.

Head lice typically spread through contact with the hair of an infested person, though it can also occur when people share clothes or lay on furniture after an infested person has recently used them. Lice typically remain on a person’s scalp; however, in rare instances, they may move to the eyelashes or eyebrows.

Signs of pediculosis include the feeling of something moving through the hair, itching, the development of sores on the scalp, and difficulty sleeping due to the increased activity of head lice in the dark. A diagnosis is generally made when live head lice are found on the scalp.

You can prevent the spread of head lice by teaching your child to avoid sharing clothes or supplies, using furniture recently used by an infested person, or coming into head-to-head contact with friends or classmates. It’s also helpful to encourage them to regularly comb their hair. You can keep yourself free of head lice by following these recommendations, as well.

If an infestation has already developed, lice removal kits are a non-chemical solution for combing lice out of an infested person’s hair. Several over-the-counter and prescription lice removal shampoos, creams, lotions, and drugs are also available.

If you or your child need a diagnosis or treatment for head lice, schedule an appointment at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center at (718) 206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Parents – Know The Symptoms Oppositional Defiant Disorder

Every parent has experienced their children display difficult or defiant behavior at times. It is normal part of parenting.  Some children and teens, however, may exhibit these traits along with others including anger, irritability, and vindictiveness persistently and for a prolonged period of time.  These children may have a condition known as Oppositional Defiant Disorder, or ODD.

ODD is a type of behavioral disorder, mostly diagnosed in childhood. Those with ODD typically act uncooperative, defiant, and hostile toward their peers, parents, teachers, and other authority figures. According to the American Psychiatry Association, children diagnosed with ODD exhibit this pattern of behavior for a minimum of six months.

The cause of oppositional defiant disorder is still unknown, but likely involves a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Children with ODD are generally considered more troubling to others than they are to themselves. The disorder can impact their relationships with friends and family and affect their educational and social interactions.

Symptoms of ODD typically begin during pre-school years, but in some cases, they can develop later. They almost always occur before a child enters their early teen years. Sometimes it is difficult to recognize the difference between a strong-willed or emotional child and one with oppositional defiant disorder, as it is normal for children to exhibit oppositional behavior at certain stages of their development.

Typical symptoms of ODD include:

  • Anger and irritability – Those diagnosed with ODD are characterized as easily losing their temper, are frequently annoyed by others, and are often resentful.
  • Argumentative and defiant behavior – Children with ODD often argue with adults or authority figures, defy or refuse to comply with rules, and often blame others for their mistakes.

  • Vindictiveness – This is defined by repetitive acts of spitefulness or revenge. Children with ODD typically display vindictive behavior multiple times over a six-month period.

It is important for parents to understand that managing a child with ODD is not something you have to do alone.  Recognizing the symptoms and getting help from qualified professionals can be beneficial.

Speak to your pediatrician about recommending a child psychologist or a child psychiatrist with expertise in disruptive behavior problems. A mental health expert can coordinate a behavioral health treatment plan that includes developing learning skills to help build positive family interactions and manage problematic behaviors. Additional therapy, and possibly medications, may also be needed based on the severity of the disorder.

To make an appointment with a pediatric mental health professional, please call 718-206-5575.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Understand Developmental Disabilities

March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. During this month-long observance we look to raise awareness and educate the community on developmental disabilities.

Developmental disabilities are a group of conditions due to an impairment in physical, learning, language, or behavior areas. These conditions begin during a child’s developmental period, may impact day-to-day functioning, and usually last throughout a person’s lifetime.

Developmental disabilities occur among all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups. Recent estimates in the United States show that about one in six, or about 17%, of children aged 3 through 17 years have one or more developmental disabilities, such as:

  • ADHD
  • Autism
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Down syndrome
  • Hearing Loss
  • Vision impairment

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) most developmental disabilities are believed to be caused by a complex mix of factors including genetics; parental health and behaviors (such as smoking and drinking) during pregnancy; complications during birth; infections the mother might have during pregnancy or the baby might have very early in life; and exposure of the mother or child to high levels of environmental toxins, such as lead. For some developmental disabilities, such as fetal alcohol syndrome is caused by drinking alcohol during pregnancy.

Diagnosing a developmental disability involves monitoring when children reach developmental milestones, such as when they first speak, crawl and walk and how they behave and learn. As a parent, you know your child best. If you feel your child is not meeting the milestones for his or her age, speak with your pediatrician and share your concerns because early intervention is vital in helping your child overcome barriers and lead a full life.

If you would like to make an appointment with a pediatrician at Jamaica Hospital, please call our Ambulatory Care Center at 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Is Your Child’s Rash Due To Fifth Disease?

Fifth disease, also known as erythema infectiosum, is a contagious viral infection that is most common in school-age children.  The disease produces a rash on the face and body of those who have it.

Jamaica Hospital shares that a child with a red rash on their cheeks may have fifth disease

The feature that sets fifth disease apart from other types of rashes, such as rubella or scarlet fever is the distinctive, sudden appearance of bright red cheeks, commonly referred to as a “slapped cheek” rash. This can followed by a second rash a few days later on the chest, back, buttocks, arms and legs. The rash may be itchy, especially on the soles of the feet. It can vary in intensity and usually goes away in seven to 10 days, but it can come and go for several weeks.

Other symptoms of fifth disease are usually mild and may include:

  • Fever
  • Runny nose
  • Headache
  • Pain and swelling in the joints

Fifth disease is transmitted from person to person by respiratory secretions, such as saliva, sputum, or nasal mucus when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The incubation period is usually four to 14 days, but can be as long as 21 days. Those with fifth’s disease are most contagious when symptoms resemble that of a fever or a cold. By the time a rash appears they are no longer contagious.

There is no vaccine or medicine that can prevent fifth disease. You can reduce your chance of being infected or infecting others by:

  • Washing your hands often with soap and water
  • Covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze
  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick
  • Staying home when you are sick

Treatment for fifth disease typically involves taking over the counter medications to relieve symptoms, such as fever, itching, and joint pain.

To make an appointment at Jamaica Hospital’s Pediatric Ambulatory Care Center, please call 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Does Your Child Have a Growth Disorder?

When is a lack of growth a cause for concern? All children grow at different rates. The same boy that is the smallest in his class in elementary school might be the tallest at his high school graduation. In most cases lack of height can be attributed to genetic factors or in other instances it could just be that the child is a “late bloomer.”

After years of collecting statistics on childhood development experts have developed a standard growth chart. Pediatricians use this chart as a guideline to monitor the growth of their patients against other children of the same age during a child’s annual well visit.  Children are ranked by percentile (from 1 to 100). If a child is ranked either below the 3rd or above the 97th, a doctor will usually want to investigate potential reasons as to why.

While in most cases there is no need for concern, for some children, a lack of growth could be caused by a growth disorder. The most common reason for a growth disorder is related to the pituitary gland, which is located at the base of the brain. One of the main functions of this gland is to release growth hormones to your body. When the pituitary gland doesn’t make enough growth hormone,  it causes a condition known hypopituitarism, which can slow down a  child’s rate of growth. Special tests can determine if a child isn’t producing enough growth hormone. If not, daily injections of growth hormone can often help them grow at a more conventional rate.

Another gland that produces hormones important for growth is the thyroid. Your thyroid makes a hormone called thyroxine. If it makes too little, the condition is called hypothyroidism. Having too little thyroxine cause a child to grow more slowly. Doctors can do a simple blood test for hypothyroidism. If it’s needed, pills can be prescribed to compensate for the lack of this hormone.

Thankfully, many growth disorders can be successfully treated today. The best advice is to make sure your child sees their pediatrician for their annual visit so any issue can be immediately identified. If you do not have a pediatrician, you can make an appointment to see one inJamaica Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center.

For more information, or to make an appointment, please call 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Measles

The measles is a highly contagious viral infection that is easily transmitted from person-to-person. Thanks in large part to most people receiving vaccinations in early childhood; the number of cases had been kept low. Recently however, there have been a number of cases reported in the New York area; believed to have been spread by people who were exposed while visiting Israel.

People who have been infected with the measles virus may initially most likely have a fever, a cough, and white spots on the inside surface of the cheeks. The classic skin rash will also start to develop, usually on the face first and then spread down to the rest of the body. Long term complications can include an inner ear infection, diarrhea, pneumonia, hepatitis, encephalitis and in rare cases, death.

The people who are at greatest risk of contracting the measles are people who have not been vaccinated, who are immunocompromised, young children, pregnant women who have not been vaccinated.

Treatment of the measles involves basically just keeping the patient comfortable at home. Contact with others should be avoided as much as possible and proper handwashing should be exercised at all times.

If you think you or your child may have been exposed to measles, or exhibiting symptoms, please make an appointment with your doctor. To schedule an appointment at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-7001.

 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Employee Spotlight Shines on Tracey Kunj-Ramen

This month Jamaica Hospital Medical Center shines its employee spotlight on one of our newest employees, Tracey Kunj-Ramen, the Certified Child Life Specialist for Pediatrics. Tracey joined our staff two weeks ago but is very familiar with Jamaica Hospital. She had been a volunteer on 2 South since 2007 while she was still a student. Tracey also spent some time doing an internship at Flushing Hospital Medical Center.

Tracey was born in Guyana, and grew up in Queens where she spent most of her life living, and continues to reside. She attended elementary, middle and began high school at Thomas Edison H.S. before moving for a short while to Connecticut. After she completed high school, she graduated from Hunter College with a BA in Psychology and received a Master’s of Science in Psychology from Southern New Hampshire University specializing in Child and Adolescent Development.

Tracey has two sons, ages five and two, who she loves spending time with. One of the things she and her husband enjoy doing is taking the boys on spontaneous road trips on the weekends. They enjoy discovering new places and having quality family time together. She also enjoys reading, dancing and eating Italian food whether at home or going out to her favorite restaurants.

Tracey enjoys working with the children who come to the hospital as patients. She understands how important it is to make not only the children feel comfortable and less anxious, but also how important it is to be reassuring to the parents. Tracey takes pride in her duties as a Child Life Specialist because she feels that people who have a positive experience at the hospital will feel confident about recommending their friends, family and neighbors.

We welcome Tracey to Jamaica Hospital and look forward to her contributions to our team of doctors, nurses, and other specialists who provide care to our youngest patients.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.