7 Tips to Improve Your Child’s Sleep Hygiene by Dr. Amit Jain, Pediatrician

Do you wonder if your children are getting enough sleep? Are they going to bed early enough? It is well known that in today’s hustle and bustle of daily life, sleep tends to get compromised for everyone, children and adults alike. Sleep is essential to good health and has many benefits from allowing one’s brain to process and store in memory what was experienced and learned that day to rejuvenating so that they may be ready for the day ahead with full mental functionality. Without enough sleep, one may suffer consequences of sleep deprivation including difficulty concentrating, inattention, headaches, poor behaviors / irritability, obesity, and depression. With enough sleep, children may be able to better concentrate, have more energy, thus decreasing the risk for obesity, have better mental health, and even a healthier immune system.

As your children grow, their sleep needs will vary. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has provided some helpful guidelines regarding how much sleep a child needs as they grow through various stages of their development.

This chart includes any naps a younger child may take during the day, as it is a total within a 24-hour period:

Is your child getting enough sleep? Our NOAH family wants to ensure your children are sleeping well, as it is an important component of their overall health. Below are some tips on improving your child’s sleep hygiene, so they may get a good night’s rest and stay healthy:

  • Keep a daily routine, including sleep and wake times, mealtimes, nap times, and play times. This can help the brain get into sleep mode when it is time for a nap or bedtime, as it helps with a smooth transition to sleeping. The disruption to this schedule should be kept to a minimum over the weekend and breaks as well.
  • Establish a good routine of daily physical activity, including getting fresh air and participating in age-appropriate sports.
  • Keep an eye on that screen time! The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends no more than 2 hours of screen time per day. This includes computers, phones, TVs, tablets, etc.
  • Along the same lines, all screens should be turned off at a minimum of one to two hours before bedtime as the blue light emitted from screens can prevent the brain from being able to fall asleep, or prevent the brain from getting to deeper stages of sleep until later in the night.
  • Limit your child’s bed as a place to sleep, and only for sleep. Any playtime or homework should be done in a different environment, as a simple cue of getting into bed can help trigger the brain to start falling asleep.
  • Avoid any sugary beverages such as juices and sodas just before bedtime. This includes a bottle of milk, formula, or juice (only water if needed), as these beverages at bedtime can cause or increase the speed of baby bottle tooth decay.
  •  Regarding bedtime routine, the AAP recommends the 4 B’s of Bedtime: 
  1. Bathing: having this as a part of the normal sleep routine is a hygienic and soothing way to separate evening activities and dinnertime from bedtime and can help the brain get into bedtime mode if used as a part of a routine.
  2. Brushing: Getting in the habit of brushing their teeth before bedtime can not only help prevent cavities and tooth decay, but also can help the brain transition into bedtime mode.
  3. Books: This can stimulate excellent brain activity and it can also help cue the brain for bedtime if used as part of a daily routine.
  4. Bedtime: To reiterate, none of the above are more important than enforcing a reasonable bedtime and encouraging your child to sleep at the same time every night.

If your child has trouble falling asleep or getting enough sleep, please reach out to your NOAH provider for further recommendations. We are happy to help promote this important concept in good health.

For additional information, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics website healthychildren.org.
(https://www.healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/sleep/Pages/Healthy-Sleep-Habits-How-Many-Hours-Does-Your-Child-Need.aspx)

Healthy Smile Tips by Dr. Lou Sarrosa, Dental Director

During the month of February, thousands of dedicated professionals, healthcare providers, and educators come together to support National Children’s Dental Health Month. The goal is to promote the benefits of good oral health to children, their caregivers and members of the community. At NOAH we believe in educating our little community members on the importance of having a healthy smile. We do this by partnering with local school districts, hosting free dental health screenings and providing oral health education to all attendees. We also attend various events in the community where we offer the same services while encouraging families in need of a dentist to come see us at one of our dental offices. At NOAH, we take oral health education a step further by providing these free community screening events all year long. With your help, and just a few simple tips from our dental pro’s, you and your child can have a healthy smile that is bright and cheerful.

HEALTHY SMILE TIPS

  • Brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.
  • Clean between your teeth daily.
  • Eat a healthy diet that limits sugary beverages and snacks.
  • See your dentist regularly for prevention and treatment of oral disease.

Tis’ the Season – When is a Cold Not a Cold?

By Dr. Patty Avila, Pediatrician

It is that time of year again!  The busy time of year when everyone is preparing for the holidays is also when children are getting more colds and other respiratory illnesses.  These are the most common type of illness that children will see their doctor for, and it is important to recognize when to worry or not.  Most of these will be simple colds and resolve on their own, but there are some that can be serious.

The Common Cold; also called an Upper Respiratory Infection.

The common cold is caused by several different viruses and is the most common of all the respiratory illnesses. In the 1st 2 years most children will have about 3 to 5 colds per year. Older school age children and children in daycare can get sick even more often, because they are exposed to others.  Fortunately, most of these are just colds and will go away on their own and not lead to anything worse. 

Symptoms of the Common Cold:

  • Low fevers (101-102 degrees F).
  • Runny nose, nasal congestion comma and sneezing.
  • Sore throat.
  • Cough.
  • Not eating well.
  • Fussiness.

Most children will be better after 7 to 10 days of illness, but some may take up to 10 to 14 days to get better.

When to worry with the common cold:

Most children will not need to see their doctor with a common cold or upper respiratory infection. Infants younger than 3 months should see their pediatrician because they are at higher risk of getting very sick. 

See your doctor immediately if your child or infant is having:

  • Trouble breathing or fast breathing – using their muscles in between their ribs to breathe or the openings of the nose get larger with every breath.
  • Nails or lips turn blue.
  • The symptoms are lasting longer than 10 to 14 days.
  • Dehydration or not drinking well and not urinating well.
  • Child/infant is too sleepy or very fussy and not consolable.
  • Ear pain or any other concerns for child/infant not improving or getting worse.

Antibiotics do not treat the common cold since it is caused by a virus. 

Supportive care includes:

  • Increased fluids.
  • Use of pain/fever medication such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
  • Nasal saline with suctioning for congestion.
  • Honey for cough in a child OLDER than 1 year (NEVER given an infant <1 year of age honey).
  • Use of a humidifier may provide relief. 

The Flu; sometimes called Influenza.

The flu is also caused by respiratory viruses called influenza and can present very similar to the common cold.  Children with the flu feel much worse and are sicker than with the common cold.  The flu can have very serious complications including need for hospitalization and sometimes death.   

Symptoms of the Flu:

  • Rapid onset of high Fevers (above 101 degrees F), chills.
  • Headaches, body aches.
  • Runny nose, nasal congestion.
  • Chest pain and cough.
  • Sore throat.
  • Poor appetite.
  • Feeling tired and weak.

Most children will get better after 2 weeks. Fevers from the flu can last up to 5 to 7 days. 

See your doctor immediately if your child or infant is having:

  • Trouble breathing or fast breathing – using their muscles in between their ribs to breathe or the openings of the nose get larger with every breath.
  • Nails or lips turn blue. 
  • Dehydration or not drinking well and not urinating well.
  • Child/infant is too sleepy or very fussy and not consolable.
  • Ear pain or any other concerns for child/infant not improving or getting worse.

Young children and infants as well as children with high-risk medical conditions should see their pediatrician as soon as possible. These high-risk medical conditions include:

  • Heart defects.
  • Chronic lung issues.
  • Asthma.
  • Low immune system.
  • Diabetes.
  • Cancers. 

Supportive care includes:

  • Increased fluids.
  • Use of pain/fever medication such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
  • Nasal saline with suctioning for congestion.
  • Honey for cough in a child OLDER than 1 year (NEVER given an infant <1 year of age honey).
  • Use of humidifier may provide relief. 

Outside of supportive care, there is an antiviral medication called Tamiflu which may be indicated and started if the flu is diagnosed within the first one to 2 days.

Bronchiolitis.

Bronchiolitis is another respiratory illness that can be commonly seen during the winter months.  There are several viruses that can cause this illness but RSV, also known as Respiratory Syncytial Virus, is the most common.  RSV is an infection that will affect almost all children at least once before they turn 2 years old.  It usually starts as a cold and is followed by lower respiratory symptoms around 3 to 5 days of the illness.  For some children the illness can be severe, especially younger infants, preemies, and those with heart or lung defects.   

Symptoms of Bronchiolitis:

  • Cold symptoms with fevers, runny nose, nasal congestion, and cough.
  • Fussiness.
  • Poor Feeding.
  • Wheezing.
  • Difficulty breathing.

See your doctor immediately if your child or infant is having:

  • Trouble breathing or fast breathing – using their muscles in between their ribs to breathe or the openings of the nose get larger with every breath.
  • Nails or lips turn blue. 
  • Dehydration or not drinking well and not urinating well.
  • Child/infant is too sleepy or very fussy and not consolable.
  • Ear pain or any other concerns for child/infant not improving or getting worse.

Supportive care includes:

  • Increase fluids.
  • Use of pain/fever medication such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
  • Nasal saline with suctioning for congestion.
  • Honey for cough in a child OLDER than 1 year (NEVER given an infant <1 year of age honey).
  • Use of humidifier may provide relief. 

For infants who are high risk there is an injection that is given monthly during the winter months called Synagis that can decrease the risk of severe RSV infection. 

Croup.

Croup is a common respiratory illness during the Fall and Winter months and is usually seen in infants and young children – children younger than 5 year of age.  It is caused by several different viruses including the flu virus and some cold viruses.  The illness is characterized by swelling of the upper airways including the voice box (larynx) and the windpipe (trachea). Symptoms from Croup are usually worse at the beginning of the illness. 

Symptoms of Croup:

  • Fevers which can be low grade or high.
  • Cold symptoms with runny nose and nasal congestion.
  • Hoarseness of voice.
  • Barky or “seal like” cough.
  • Noisy breathing when breathing in – stridor.

The swelling of the airway can sometimes be severe and need immediate medical attention.

See your doctor immediately if your child or infant is having:

  • Trouble breathing – struggles to catch their breath.
  • Noisy breathing that is getting louder and child/infant appears to struggle to breathe.
  • Cannot talk because of difficulty breathing.
  • Lips/mouth or nails turn blue.
  • Drooling and not able to swallow saliva.
  • Dehydration or not drinking well and not urinating well.
  • Child/infant is too sleepy or very fussy and not consolable.

Steroids can decrease the swelling and can be given by mouth, injection, or in a breathing treatment.  If given early can help decrease the need for hospitalization and improve breathing.  There are breathing treatments with epinephrine that can be given as well in severe cases, but these will require careful observation in the Emergency Department or Hospital setting.

Use of cold moist air can help improve mild symptoms as well and can be used at home with a cool mist humidifier.

PREVENTION TIPS

  • For all respiratory infections, the best form of prevention is to avoid exposing infants/young children to people who are sick or crowded situations. 
  • Breastfeeding infants as long as possible (at least 6-12 months) is also an important way to help prevent and fight infections because breastmilk provides antibodies. 
  • Practicing and teaching children good hand hygiene is key.
  • Use soap and water and scrub for at least 20 seconds (singing the ABCs).  Another option is the use of an alcohol-based hand rub if hands are not visibly soiled. 
  • Teach children to cover their coughs and sneezes properly by using a tissue or coughing in their arm rather their hands. 
  • Keep children home from daycare or school when they are sick to avoid spreading the illness. 
  • Eating a healthy balanced diet high in fruits and vegetables can help boost the immune system and help decrease the chances of getting sick.   

At NOAH, we’re here for you. If you have any questions for your child’s pediatrician, give us a call at 480-882-4545. You can also send a message to your pediatrician via your child’s MyChart account.

Tips to Treat Nosebleeds in Children by Dr. Debbie Bauer, Pediatrician

“Nosebleeds are very common in children, especially during these winter months,” says Debbie Bauer, Pediatrician. The dry air from outside combined with the dry air from heaters inside can make the skin inside the nose more fragile and sensitive. This is one of the most common reasons children get nosebleeds. Some children also get nosebleeds from picking their nose, from sniffling too much from allergies/colds, or of course from being hit in the nose.

Learn what to do if your child has a nosebleed and when to get help from a doctor below. Also, check out our tips on how to prevent nosebleeds from coming back!

What should you do if your child has a nosebleed?

– First, don’t panic! Nosebleeds are rarely serious. Your child will have an easier time following your instructions if you remain calm.

– Have your child sit down and put their head slightly forward, NEVER have them tilt their head backwards.

– Put firm pressure on either side of their nose with your fingers and hold it there for 10 minutes.

– After 10 minutes, check to see if the bleeding stopped. If it hasn’t, hold firm pressure again for 10 more minutes.

– When bleeding has stopped, gently clean blood off their face with water but do not put anything in their nose or have them forcefully blow their nose.

When should you get help from a doctor?

– If your child has a nosebleed for more than 20 minutes without stopping.

– If your child looks very pale, weak or sweaty.

– If you see blood in your child’s urine or stool.

– If your child has strange, unexplained bruises.

– If frequent nosebleeds are concerning you.

How can you prevent nosebleeds?

– You can use a saline nasal spray to keep their nose from getting dry.

– You can use a humidifier in their room.

– You can apply a small amount of Vaseline inside their nose carefully with a Q-tip.

– If your child picks their nose, keep their fingernails trimmed short.

At NOAH, we’re here for you. If you have any questions for your child’s pediatrician, give us a call at 480-882-4545. You can also send a message to your pediatrician via your child’s MyChart account.

Skin Care Tips for Teens by Dr. Debbie Bauer, Pediatrician

“Adolescence can be a tough time – especially on your teen’s skin! Almost 8 out of 10 teenagers will have acne at some point,” says Dr. Debbie Bauer, Pediatrician. This is because the changing hormones cause an increase in oil production and can lead to clogged pores. This can happen all over your child’s body, not just their face. And while acne isn’t dangerous for their health, it can cause scars and decrease their self-esteem.

Here are a few pointers for home care of your teen’s skin:

  • Keep it clean: They should wash their face with warm water and a gentle cleanser twice per day. CeraVe, Cetaphil and Dove make reasonably-priced and effective cleansers.
  • Be gentle: Harsh scrubbing or rough washcloths are not recommended. Your teen should be using just their hands to gently rub in the cleanser and rinse off.  Very hot water or very cold water should not be used.
  • Stick to the routine: Oily skin and acne can last for months or years, so it’s important to have a good skin routine to minimize the effects. Remind your teen to always remove make-up before sleeping.  And change sheets and pillowcases frequently.
  • Don’t pop pimples: Although it’s tempting, squeezing pimples will only make things worse. Not only will they introduce more oil onto their skin from their hands, but this will probably push the oil deeper into the skin and cause inflammation and swelling.
  • Keep moisturizing: Drying out their face can actually lead to more acne because their body will try to produce even more oils to keep their face from being so dry. Make sure the moisturizer bottle says “oil free” or “noncomedogenic” on it so it doesn’t clog their pores more.
  • Use sun block: This is important for every child, but especially for those with acne. The sun’s rays can irritate skin and make acne and scars much, much worse. Make sure the sunscreen is at least SPF 15.

Some kids even need prescription medication to help manage acne, and our NOAH Pediatricians are here to help with that too!

For more information about taking care of your skin, visit the American Academy of Dermatology: www.aad.org.

October is Dental Hygiene Month!

“Don’t be tricked on Halloween, choose the right treats that may help your children steer clear of the Mouth Monsters (also known as tooth decay) like Ginger Bite-Us and Tartar the Terrible. Instead, choose Tooth D.K. Dark chocolates and sugar-free gum which are better for the teeth compared to gummies, caramel, sour candy or bubble gum,” says our friends at The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists. They’re less likely to get stuck in the tiny grooves and crevices of your teeth. If you prefer chocolate, try to encourage your kids to eat dark chocolate. This tasty treat is packed with antioxidants that can stop bacteria from sticking to teeth, which may help fight gum infections and has less sugar in most cases than milk chocolate with may help reduce tooth decay! Don’t forget to rinse your mouth with water anytime you consume sweet treats and make sure to brush before bed! Have a safe and Happy Halloween from our NOAH family to yours!

For more information, go to: https://mouthmonsters.mychildrensteeth.org/aapds-guide-to-a-tooth-friendly-halloween/

Halloween Safety Tips by Amit Jain, MD, FAAP, MBA

It’s that time of year again! Halloween is right around the corner. With it comes lots of fun, elaborate costumes, tricks, and treats! Have your children thought of the costume they’d like to wear this year? We here at NOAH want to make sure they stay safe while out trick or treating this year. With assistance from the American Academy of Pediatrics, have provided some great safety tips below to keep them safe while they’re out.

Fun / elaborate costumes can be an exciting part of Halloween. One of the most effective but most easily forgotten ways to help make your child’s Halloween a safe one is with costume safety.

Here are some great safety tips:

  • As most of the trick or treating happens after dusk, make sure costumes are bright and colorful and / or have some reflective surfaces that can be easily seen by drivers and others. You can even consider adding some reflective tape or striping to the costumes and trick-or-treat bags with such tape. It can even help for a cool effect the children would love.
  • Make sure the costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, and are clearly labeled as flame-resistant.
  • Along with this, make sure your children have shoes that fit well and are comfortable for walking long distances.
  • Masks can obscure a child’s vision, especially to the sides (peripheral vision) as the mask moves around their face. Consider non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as fun and safe alternatives to masks.
  • Any swords or other sticks / canes that are a part of the costume should not be sharp or too long that they could hurt your child if they trip and stumble over these objects.
  • Make sure all children and their escorts have flashlights with a fresh set of batteries.
  • Before leaving for trick or treating, make sure your children know how to call 9-1-1 or their local police department in case they get lost or separated or in an emergency. Have a safety plan in place for the chance that a child gets separated from the group, which should include having the child stay where they are in a safe location if they do get separated from the group. The non-emergency number for the Phoenix Police Department is: 602-262-6151.
  • Also, make sure they have a good meal prior to going trick or treating, and bring a water bottle for each child and the children’s escorts to stay hydrated while out.
  • A parent or responsible adult should be with and watching children at all times while out. Instruct children to always stay in a group and close to the parent / responsible adult. Also instruct them to remain on well-lit streets, always use the sidewalks (or as close to the edge of the road as safe if no sidewalk is available, facing traffic), and use designated crosswalks to cross the street.  Don’t assume you have the right of way – it is much more difficult to see the road and pedestrians at night! While out trick-or-treating, only go to homes with a porch light that is on. Remember to never enter homes or cars for a treat.
  • If your older children are going alone, plan and review a route that is acceptable to you beforehand – and ensure they will stay on that route. Plan and agree upon a time that they should arrive home by. Remember curfews – Phoenix juvenile curfew hours are 10 p.m. for children 15 and younger and midnight for 16- and 17-year-old children. If possible, give them a cell phone for emergency contact use.
  • Finally, after the fun night of trick-or-treating, sort and check all treats before the child eats any of them (including ones they eat while still out trick-or-treating). Throw away any spoiled, unwrapped, or suspicious looking treats. Ration out treats for the weeks and months following Halloween. They should not eat any of these treats immediately before bedtime. Along with this, remind your children that the rules don’t change from a normal day – remember to have your children brush their teeth before bedtime to get all of that stuck-on candy out of their teeth.
  • Also, don’t forget to have regular check-ups with our wonderful Pediatric Dentists here at NOAH!

Please check the American Academy of Pediatrics website for some more awesome safety tips here:

https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/news-features-and-safety-tips/Pages/Halloween-Safety-Tips.aspx

Have a fun, safe, and Happy Halloween from your friends at NOAH!

Car Seat Safety by Dr. Amit Jain, Pediatrician

We here at NOAH care about your child’s health and safety not only at the clinic, but at home and on the go too. One very important part of this is Car Seat Safety.  We would like to remind you about the importance of Car Seats, and how to keep your child safe when on the go.

Especially for a new parent, the variety of car seats available today can be overwhelming! And it makes it more difficult to make sure your child is buckled in appropriately. We would like to help alleviate some of the confusion! Thinking about a car seat starts before your child is born. Most hospitals require an appropriate car seat for you to take your baby home and do car seat checks when your new baby is first allowed to go home from the hospital.

Unintentional injuries (including car accidents) are the leading cause of death in children and teens. Courtesy of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), we know that on average, 3 children were killed every day in traffic accidents. Of those, more than a third of the children were unrestrained. More than half of injuries and deaths were cases in which car seats and seatbelts were incorrectly used.

There are various types of car seats to consider based upon your child’s age, weight, and height including rear-facing, convertible (rear-facing that can become forward-facing), forward-facing, and booster seats (with or without back support). Below is a chart explaining the various car seats, separated by age group. To securely install these various car seats, you can either use the available seatbelts or the LATCH system. Nearly all vehicles and car seats built after September 1, 2002 include this LATCH system (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) which consists of a lower anchor where the seat cushions meet, and a tether which can be located on the panel behind the seat, on the back of the seat, the ceiling, or the floor.

Some important points when using these systems:

  • Most rear-facing car seats do not use the tether for installation, just the lower anchor and/or seatbelt.
  • You should not use both the lower anchor and seat belt together unless specifically instructed in the car seat installation instructions. However, the tether can and oftentimes will be used along with the seatbelt to securely install the seat.
  • To get a tight fit using the seatbelt, the seatbelt should lock. For most modern cars, the seatbelt can be locked by pulling it out all the way, and then letting it retract as it clicks.
  • When possible, the middle back seat is the safest. However, the middle seat often doesn’t have a LATCH system, or is too small, or uneven to safely support a child. It is most important that wherever the child may be seated, that the seat is securely and tightly installed in the vehicle.
  • Infants and children should wear thinner clothes when buckled into car seats as bulky clothing such as jackets can leave the straps too loose, increasing the risk for injury. 
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all infants be placed in rear-facing car seats starting from their first ride home from the hospital.
  • All infants and toddlers should ride rear-facing as long as possible (even if their legs are bent), until the highest weight or height allowed by their car seat.
  • When children outgrow their rear-facing only car seat, a convertible car seat installed rear-facing should be used.
  • A forward-facing car seat should be used only once a child has reached the weight or height limit for their convertible rear-facing car seat. Similarly, a forward-facing car seat should be used until the weight or height limit for that specific car seat has been reached (this is usually listed on the label of the car seat).
  • A belt-positioning booster seat is the next step and should be used until a child’s seatbelt fits properly across their shoulder (without riding up to their neck), which is typically at a height of 4 feet, 9 inches or taller, and 8-12 years of age.
  • The safest place for all children younger than 13 years old is the backseat.
  • Do NOT use the car seat after it has been in a moderate to severe crash, such as if any of the following are true (according to the NHTSA):
    • The vehicle could NOT be driven away from the crash
    • The vehicle door closest to the car seat was damaged
    • Anyone in the vehicle was injured
    • The airbags went off
    • There is any significant damage to the car

And remember, always be a good role model by buckling your own seatbelt every time you’re in the vehicle! Set a reminder whenever you buckle your child’s car seat to help you remember never to leave your child in or around your car when you leave.

If you need help installing your child’s car seat, or just want to make sure it is secure, below are some great options for you to reach out to:

  • Your local fire department
  • Parent partners plus
  • Phoenix Children’s Hospital car seat safety program

For more information, please visit:

Why Get Your Child a Flu Shot by Dr. Amit Jain, Pediatrician

It’s that time of year again! The fall and winter seasons are approaching. Along with exchanging presents during the holiday season, everyone, especially children, are passing around germs and illnesses between each other. We here at NOAH want to inform you about the flu and why it is important to protect your child against the flu with the flu vaccine.

The Flu is short for Influenza – a virus that most often causes an illness that affects our breathing and airways. There are many different viruses that can cause common cold symptoms, but influenza is different in that it is more contagious, and often causes worse symptoms, lasts longer (a week or more) and has more severe problems that it can cause compared to other common cold viruses including pneumonia (an infection of the lungs), and a bacterial infection.

The flu is highly contagious, and most often spread via droplets, meaning it is most often caught from being near when a person with flu coughs or sneezes. It can also be caught when a child touches something contaminated with the flu virus, then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth.

The symptoms of the flu include:

  • Sudden, often high fever
  • Chills
  • Body shakes
  • Muscle aches
  • Headache
  • Being more tired than usual
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Sore throat
  • Dry cough
  • Some children may even throw-up (vomit) and have diarrhea

Although the likelihood of getting the flu is high, the children who would suffer the greatest problems from getting the flu are:

  • Those with chronic medical conditions – especially respiratory conditions including Asthma and chronic lung disease
  • Heart problems
  • Diabetes
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Weakened immune system
  • Disorders of the brain or nervous system

How can you prevent or decrease the risk of your child getting this scary flu virus? The best way to protect against the flu is the influenza vaccine. All infants and children 6 months old and older can get the flu vaccine every year. Since babies younger than 6 months cannot get the influenza vaccine, the best way to protect them is that everyone around and taking care of the baby get the flu vaccine. Along with this, frequent, good hand washing with soap and water is especially important. If you cough or sneeze, be sure to do so into your elbow (like a vampire holding their cape!) or into a tissue, but not directly into your hands. Teach your children these good habits from a young age as well! Sanitize toys that your children play with frequently as well.

Along with this, it may be a good idea to keep your child home from daycare or school if they are having the following symptoms:

  • Fevers (usually a temperature greater than 101F)
  • Chills and shaking of the body
  • Headaches
  • Body aches
  • Tiredness / sleepiness
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose / congestion
  • Dry cough

Do not hesitate to bring your child in to your NOAH clinic to evaluate your child and determine if any treatment would be helpful. 

The side effects from the flu vaccine are few, and generally much less severe than getting infected with the flu. These include:

  • A low-grade fever
  • Some redness and soreness around the site that the injection was given.
  • The flu vaccine is made using eggs. Those who have a severe allergy to egg (anaphylactic reaction) should have a discussion with their doctor before getting the flu vaccine.

At NOAH, we are here to help you and your child get through the cold and flu season safely and healthily. Please call today to make an appointment to get you and your child the flu vaccine!

For more information, please visit:

  1. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/chest-lungs/Pages/The-Flu.aspx
  2. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/immunizations/Pages/Prepare-Your-Family-for-Flu-Season.aspx
  3. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/index.htm
  4. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/vaccinations.htm

Newborn Screening Awareness

By Dr. Patricia Avila, Pediatrician

What is Newborn Screening?

The state of Arizona screens for 31 disorders including genetic and metabolic conditions, hearing loss, and specific heart problems.  Newborn Screening includes a 2-part blood test, hearing screening, and screening for Critical Congenital Heart Disease.

Why are these tests important?

All babies are at risk.  Newborns can look healthy but can develop serious medical problems within the first weeks of life if not diagnosed and treated early.  If these conditions are not treated early, they can lead to developmental problems, slow growth, blindness, and sometimes death.  The Newborn Screening tests help to make sure all babies are tested for conditions at birth that need treatment early.  They save and improve the lives of more than 12,000 babies across the US each year.

How are these tests done?

Newborn Screening Heel Stick

A small amount of blood (approximately 5 drops) is taken from your baby’s heel and placed on a special paper.  The first test is done in the first 24 -36 hours of life in the hospital.  The second test is ordered to be done by 5-10 days of life.  Repeating the tests helps to make sure the first test is accurate.  The tests are sent to the State lab to screen for different genetic and metabolic conditions.  It is important that they are done on time to prevent serious health consequences that can happen if the disorder is left untreated.  The results are communicated to your Pediatrician who will take the necessary steps to confirm the diagnosis and start treatment early with the help of specialty doctors.

Hearing Screening

This test is done usually in the hospital before the baby is discharged.  There are 2 different ways this test can be done.  The screening measures how your baby responds to sounds and is quick and painless.  Results from this test are available as soon as the testing is done.  If not passed it will be repeated in the hospital.  If it is not passed prior to hospital discharge, your Pediatrician will order repeat testing to be done a later date.

Critical Congenital Heart Disease Screening 

This screening test helps to detect if your baby has a heart condition that is critical and involves a Pulse Oximeter which measures the blood oxygen levels.  It is done in the hospital as well after the baby is at least 24 hours old before the baby is discharged.  This screening is painless as well.  A sensor will be placed on the Right hand and foot.  If is abnormal it will be repeated.  If it is persistently abnormal your Pediatrician will discuss with you what next steps need to be done to ensure your baby does not have a heart defect.

Resources
https://azdhs.gov/preparedness/state-laboratory/newborn-screening/index.php#info-for-parents-home
https://www.babysfirsttest.org/sites/default/files/Az%20Parent%20Brochure-2018.pdf
https://www.babysfirsttest.org/sites/default/files/Can%20My%20Baby%20Hear.pdf
https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/Pages/Newborn-Screening-Tests.asp
https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/Pages/Newborn-Pulse-Oximetry-Screening-to-Detect-Critical-Congenital-Heart-Disease.aspx