Common Ailments

    There are many things in every home that can cause an asthma attack or make asthma
    worse. These are called triggers. Below is a list of common triggers. Make changes based
    on your child’s specific allergies or triggers for asthma attacks


    House dust mites: Many people are allergic to dust mites. Dust mites are tiny bugs that
    you cannot see. They live in cloth and carpet. Follow the guidelines below to help reduce
    the number of dust mites your child may encounter in your home. Put your child’s mattress, pillow and box springs in plastic or vinyl covers that close with a zipper.
    Remove stuffed animals or toys from your child’s bed.
    Wash all blankets and bedding once a week in hot water; wipe off once a week then change bedding.
    Wipe off furniture and items near your child’s bed once a week with a damp cloth.
    Do not dust or vacuum while your child is in the room.
    Remove carpeting if possible, especially from your child’s sleeping area and play area.

    Tobacco Smoke:
    If you smoke, ask your child’s doctor for ways to help you quit. Ask other family members to stop smoking also. If you have to smoke, wear a specific coat or “duster” when outside to smoke. Remove when entering the home.
    Do not allow smoking in your home, car or around your child.
    Be sure no one smokes at your child’s day care center.

    Indoor & Outdoor Pollen and Mold:
    Use half-strength bleach or mold-killing solution to clean bathrooms, kitchens and basements.
    Ensure shower curtains, refrigerator doors, bathtub and window corners are free of mildew or mold growth.
    Use air conditioning and keep windows closed, if possible.
    Use a dehumidifier, if available. Empty the pan daily.
    Do not use vaporizers.
    Avoid houseplants. If you have them, change the soil frequently.
    Do not mow grass or rake the leaves around your child.
    Repair leaky faucets and pipes or other water leaks.
    Monitor the pollen count and have your child stay indoors mid-day when the pollen count is high.

    Remove the pet from the child’s room at all times.
    Take asthma medications if you cannot avoid visits to family and friends with pets.
    Wash your pet every week.
    Choose a pet without fur or feathers.

    Keep counters and floors free of food crumbs and keep food and trash in closed containers.
    Avoid clutter such as piles of papers where cockroaches can hide.
    Do not use pesticide sprays, foggers or bombs.
    Use bug spray when your child is out of the house and completely air out the house before he or she returns.
    Use roach traps in areas that children cannot reach.

    Strong Odors and Sprays:
    Avoid burning wood, incense and scented candles.
    Avoid strong odors such as perfume, hairspray, paints and cleaning products.

    Exercise, Sports, Work, and Play:
    Your child should be able to be active without symptoms
    Ask the doctor about giving your child medicine before exercise to prevent symptoms.
    Have your child avoid hard work or play outside when pollution or pollen levels are high.

    Other Triggers:
    Colds / the flu. Have your child get a flu shot each fall.
    Food allergies. Avoid foods your child does not tolerate.
    Cold air. Have your child cover his or her nose and mouth with a scarf on cold or windy days.
    Other medicines. Tell your child’s doctor about all the medicines your child takes.
    Emotional / stress. Stressful situations that lead to changes in breathing can make asthma worse.

    Asthma is better controlled.
    Fewer asthma attacks.
    Less need for wheezing medications.
    Happier, more active children!

  • Diaper rash is usually caused by irritation of a baby’s skin that is exposed to urine, bowel movements, diaper irritants and infections. Diaper rash will usually increase between 7 and 9 months when a more varied diet can cause more irritating stools. (This is the period when your baby is trying different foods.) Your baby may also develop a diaper rash after taking antibiotics. This kind of diaper rash may be caused by a yeast infection and will not get better without medicated ointment your child’s doctor can order. Rarely diaper irritants can cause a rash that may heal if a different brand of diaper is used.

    Solutions for Diaper Rash:

    The best way to treat diaper rash is to prevent it, but this isn’t always possible. It is very important to keep the diaper area dry and clean. If the diaper rash continues even after you have tried the following suggestions, call your child’s doctor for advice.

    To decrease wetness on baby’s skin, change the diaper often when the baby is awake. Babies usually have 6-8 wet diapers every 24 hours. Ensure skin is fully dry prior to applying new diaper. If your baby has a diaper rash, it may be helpful to remove the diaper and allow the bottom to be open to the air. Place your baby on a couple of cloth diapers or receiving blankets over a plastic sheet. If it is cool weather, keep the room as warm as possible. Don’t use ointment on the skin while the diaper is off.

    Use soap only once a day. Soap can dry and irritate the skin. Be sure to use a gentle soap. If your baby has a very messy stool, it may be better to clean the baby in the tub or sink. Be sure to gently pat the area dry. Rubbing/ lateral friction can make a rash worse.

    Use baby wipes that are moisturizing. They may contain alcohol which is very drying. If the brand you are using causes a problem, switch to another. Do not use diaper wipes until the rash has cleared, try using water, or mineral oil on a cotton ball.

    Use a thick, protective layer of ointment (A&D, Desitin, zinc oxide, Balmex, Eucerin or a brand recommended by your child’s doctor) on your baby’s bottom to help protect the skin. Use only medications and ointments that your child’s doctor recommends for your baby. Don’t use talcum powder. It may absorb moisture, but it can be inhaled by your baby and cause irritation to breathing passages. Cornstarch is a safer and more effective substitute.

    Call Your Child’s Doctor: If your baby’s diaper rash does not clear up within 1-2 days, or if blisters or raised areas appear.

  • Frequently Asked Questions About Head Lice

    What is Pediculosis?  Pediculosis or head lice are tiny, wingless bugs about the size of a sesame seed or smaller. They have six legs with tiny claws and live only on human scalps. Head lice can range in color from light brown to gray. While annoying, head lice are not life threatening.

    How widespread are head lice?  It is difficult to track head lice cases because head lice are not considered a disease and therefore public health departments and the Centers For Disease Control do not routinely track the number of head lice cases. However, schools and manufacturers of lice products estimate head lice cases at 12- 25 million infestations a year in the United States alone. Most of those infested are children under the age of twelve. Head lice have been infesting humans since the cave days.

    How do you get head lice? Head lice do not hop, jump or fly. They migrate through direct contact with an infested person and their belongings. Pets do not transmit head lice, and poor personal hygiene does not cause an infestation. In fact, head lice prefer clean, healthy heads. Head lice do not live in, nor spontaneously generate from, the dirt, trees or the air. They live on the human head!

    What are the symptoms of head lice? The most common symptom of a head lice infestation is persistent itching, particularly around the ears, back of the neck and crown, but some people never itch at all. Repeat infestations can cause some individuals to become super-sensitive to bites. Secondary bacterial infections can occur with excessive scratching. See a doctor if this occurs. Diagnosis of head lice is usually made by finding nits (lice eggs). Nits are tiny, whitish, oval eggs firmly attached to one side of the hair shaft at an angle. Viable nits are usually, but not always, found within a half-inch of the scalp. Hint – if you can blow or flick it off, or if it crumbles in your fingers, it is not a nit.

    How do you treat for head lice? Getting rid of head lice is a three-step process. You must kill all the live lice, check for and remove all the nits by combing and manual nit picking, and do a reasonable job of cleaning the infested person’s belongings and home environment. Please make sure you have head lice before treatment. Many people misdiagnose head lice and treat themselves or their children with chemicals unnecessarily.

    What are Pediculicides? Pediculicides are the pesticides used to eliminate head lice. Familiar over-the-counter brand names include: Rid, Nix, Pronto and Clear. These products contain insecticides (pyrethrin or permethrin) and should always be used with caution. Check with your pharmacist or doctor to determine which product is safe for your family. Never use these products if you are pregnant or nursing, or on infants under 6 months of age. Follow the directions exactly when using them. Misuse of these products i.e., leaving them on longer than the directions state or applying more treatments than specified by the manufacturer, puts children at risk for overexposure to chemical pesticides. Also, children with allergies may be at more risk for allergic reactions to pesticides. A prescription medication called Kwell should never be used. Kwell contains Lindane, a powerful neurotoxin and possibly carcinogenic pesticide, which can cause serious side effects including seizures and even death. Consumer Reports has petitioned the Food and Drug Administration to remove this pesticide from the market. Children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable to Lindane toxicity.

    Are head lice becoming drug-resistant?  People should also be aware that according to entomologists, any insect over time can develop resistance to pesticides. It is not surprising therefore, that many consumers, health professionals and entomologists report that head lice have become resistant to pediculicides. However, failure to follow directions, non-compliance and failure to pick nits manually can also result in a persistent head lice infestation. Predictably, consumers are frustrated and confused as to how to proceed.

    What should I do if I have used pediculicides and still have head lice? If you have used a pediculicide correctly and still have live lice or new nits, you probably have a persistent case of head lice. According to the Palm Beach County Head Lice Task Force and the Head Lice Treatment and Prevention Project at Florida Atlantic University College of Nursing, persistent head lice is defined as three incidents of live lice found over a 6-week period. If you have head lice that have resisted treatment, do not continue to use additional chemical treatments in the hopes that they will work. They will not, and such chemical treatments were never meant to be used repeatedly. Instead try a treatment program called Head Lice to Dead Lice. This pesticide-free treatment has proved extremely successful in eliminating persistent head lice infestations. The Five-Step Battle Pan outlined in both the video and book incorporates the use of olive oil as a smothering agent. The smothering program is non-toxic and has a high success rate when followed as directed. Lice breathe through holes in their sides. When you cover these holes with olive oil, the lice will die. However, it takes awhile for them to die, because head lice can shut down their systems for hours. That’s why you need to know exactly how and when to use a smothering program.

    Why is manual nitpicking so important? Every successful lice removal program must include manual nit picking. Even if you treat with chemicals and/or olive oil you must also incorporate manual nit picking into your treatment program because nothing has proved successful in killing nits. Lice lay their eggs close to the scalp. It used to be thought that eggs further than 1/2 inch from the scalp were not viable. However, new research indicates that this is not true, especially during warm weather. Therefore, removing all the nits is the only sure way to get an infestation under control. Getting rid of head lice requires perseverance. There are companies that can do this for you, but they can be pricey. Two companies are Lice Clinics of America or Lice Doctors.

    What are DEC plugs? Skin can become irritated after using a pediculicide. This can result in the formation of desquamated epithelial cell plugs (DEC) which people often mistake for nits. This causes many caregivers to overtreat with chemicals thus continuing the cycle. If you are not sure if you are seeing nits, take a suspected nit on a hair shaft to your doctor and have him confirm the diagnosis by looking at the suspected nit under a microscope.

    What if you can’t see the nits to pick them out?  Check for and remove nits in bright light – daylight is best. Sit near a window and shine a bright light on the infested person’s head. If you have poor eyesight, get someone to help you or purchase a blue vision visor which magnifies nits 2 1/2 times at a distance of 8″.

    Can you use mayonnaise, butter or Vaseline to smother head lice? Like olive oil, mayonnaise, butter and Vaseline are smothering agents. However, unlike olive oil, these substances are difficult to get out of the hair, particularly in the case of Vaseline. Children are often repelled by the smell of butter and mayonnaise and both these substances can turn rancid, and cause problems if children suck on their hair. Mineral oil (including baby oil) is not recommended because it can be harmful to mucous membranes. Olive Oil is the best smothering agent. It has been lab-tested and found to be effective in killing head lice. Olive oil has few, if any, allergic properties and is relatively inexpensive. The least expensive grade – pumace or restaurant grade – is best. And olive oil can be purchased with food stamps. Smothering head lice is a safe and effective treatment option, but it can be somewhat complicated. To smother successfully, you have to be persistent and know when and how to apply the smothering agent.

    How do you clean the home environment? Some entomologists believe that you do not have to clean the home environment at all because head lice die very quickly once they are off the human head (36-48 hours), are very slow moving off the head, and nits need a human blood meal within 45 minutes of hatching to survive. That said, most people are not comfortable unless they do some cleaning of the home environment. The PVP cleaning program (personal items first, vacuuming, etc.) outlined in Head Lice to Dead Lice is a simple and reasonable cleaning program that should eliminate any lice in the home. If you find yourself obsessing about housecleaning, you need to take a deep breath and refocus your energies back to the infested person’s head.

    When is it safe to send a child back to school? Most schools have a no-nit policy to control head lice outbreaks. Generally, when you have completed one pediculicidal treatment & one olive oil treatment (or two olive oil treatments) and a thorough nit combing and manually removed all nits, you can send your child back to school. At this point, there should be nothing left on the head that is capable of moving onto another head. However, this does not mean your child is lice free. You must continue to check for lice, do the olive oil on specified days and manually remove nits. Remember, the olive oil treatment program is a twenty-one day program based on the life cycle of the louse. As long as you continue to treat with olive oil on the designated treatment days, your child should not infest anyone else. If you choose to use only pediculicides, be aware that these treatments are not 100% effective and head lice have developed resistance to many current treatments.

    Can you get head lice from a swimming pool?  Extremely unlikely because head lice shut down in water.

    Can heat kill lice? Yes, lice hate dry heat. You can put clothes, hats, towels, etc in a hot dryer for twenty minutes which should kill lice and their eggs.

  • How Much Is Enough? Sleep quantity needs vary based on age. But common “rules” about how many hours of sleep an infant or a 2-year-old need might not be helpful when it comes to your own child. These numbers are simply averages reported for large groups of kids of particular ages. There’s no magical number of hours all kids need in a certain age group. Two-year-old Lilly might sleep for 12 hours, while two-year-old Marcus is just as alert the next day after sleeping for only 9 hours. Still, sleep is very important to kids’ well-being. The link between a lack of sleep and a child’s behavior isn’t always obvious. When adults are tired, they can be grumpy or lack energy, but kids can become hyper, disagreeable, and have extreme changes in behavior. Here are some approximate numbers based on age, with age-appropriate tips to help you get your child to sleep.

    Babies (Up to 6 Months):  Newborn’s internal clocks aren’t fully developed. They sleep up to 18 hours a day, divided about equally between night and day. Newborns should be wakened every 3 to 4 hours until they have good weight gain, usually within the first few weeks. After that, it’s OK if a baby sleeps for longer periods.  After those first weeks, infants may sleep for as long as 4 or 5 hours at a time — this is about how long their small bellies can go between feedings. If babies do sleep a good stretch at night, they may want to nurse or get the bottle more often during the day.  Just when parents feel that sleeping through the night is a far-off dream, their baby usually begins to sleep longer stretches at night.  At 3 months, a baby averages about 14 hours of sleep total, with 8 to 9 hours at night (usually with an interruption or two) and two or three daytime naps.

    It’s important to know that babies can cry and make all sorts of other noises during light sleep. Even if they do wake up in the night, they may only be awake for a few minutes before falling asleep again on their own.  But if a baby under 6 months old continues to cry, it’s time to respond. Your baby may be truly uncomfortable: hungry, wet, cold, or even sick. But routine nighttime awakenings for changing and feeding should be as quick and quiet as possible. Don’t provide any unnecessary stimulation, such as talking, playing, turning on the lights, or using a bright mobile device while waiting for your child to sleep. Encourage the idea that night time is for sleeping. You have to teach this because your baby doesn’t care what time it is as long as his or her needs are met.  Ideally, place your baby in the crib before he or she falls asleep. It’s not too early to establish a simple bedtime routine. Any soothing activities (bathing, reading, singing) done consistently and in the same order each night can be part of the routine. Your baby will associate them with sleeping and they’ll help him or her wind down.The goal is for babies to fall asleep by themselves and learn to soothe themselves and go back to sleep if they should wake up in the middle of the night.

    Babies 6 to 12 Months:  At 6 months, babies still need an average of 14 hours of sleep a day, with 2 to 3 daytime naps, lasting anywhere from 2 hours to 30 minutes each. Some babies, particularly those who are breastfed, may still wake at night. But most no longer need a middle-of-the-night feeding. If your baby wakes in the middle of the night, but you don’t think it’s due to hunger, wait a few minutes before going to your baby. Sometimes, babies just need a few minutes to settle down on their down.Those who don’t settle should be comforted without being picked up (talk softly to your baby, rub the back), then left to settle down again — unless they are sick. Sick babies need to be picked up and cared for. If your baby doesn’t seem sick and continues to cry, you can wait a little longer, then repeat the short crib-side visit. Between 6 and 12 months, separation anxiety, a normal part of development, comes into play. But the rules at night are the same through a baby’s first birthday: Try not to pick up your baby, turn on the lights, sing, talk, play, or feed your child. All of these activities do not allow your baby to learn to fall asleep on his or her own and encourage more awakenings.

    Toddlers from Ages 1 to 3:  Most toddlers sleep about 12 to 14 hours over a 24-hour period. Separation anxiety, or just wanting to be up with his or her parents (and not miss anything), can motivate a child to stay awake. So can the simple toddler style of always saying “No!”  It’s important to set regular bedtimes and naptimes, and to stick to them. Parents sometimes make the mistake of thinking that keeping kids up will make them sleepier at bedtime. But the truth is that kids can have a harder time sleeping if they’re overtired. Though most toddlers take 1- to 3-hour naps during the day, you don’t have to force your child to nap. But it’s important to schedule some quiet time, even if your toddler chooses not to sleep. Establish a bedtime routine to help kids relax and get ready for sleep. For a toddler, the routine might be 5 to 30 minutes long and include calming activities such as reading a story, bathing, and listening to soft music. Whatever the nightly ritual is, your toddler will probably insist that it be the same every night. Just don’t allow rituals to become too long or complicated. Whenever possible, let your toddler make bedtime choices within the routine: which pajamas to wear, which stuffed animal to take to bed, what music to play. This gives your little one a sense of control. Even the best sleepers give parents an occasional wake-up call. Teething can awaken a toddler and so can dreams.

    Active dreaming begins at this age, and for very young children dreams can be pretty alarming. Nightmares are particularly frightening to a toddler, who can’t distinguish imagination from reality. Carefully select what TV programs, if any, your toddler sees before bedtime. Comfort and hold your child at these times. Let your toddler talk about the dream if he or she wants to, and stay until your child is calm. Then encourage your child to go back to sleep as soon as possible.

    Preschoolers:  Preschoolers sleep about 11 to 12 hours per night. Those who get enough rest at night may no longer need a daytime nap. Instead, they may benefit from some quiet time in the afternoon. Most nursery schools and kindergartens have quiet periods when the kids lie on mats or just rest. As kids give up their naps, they may go to bed at night earlier than they did as toddlers.

    School-Age Kids and Preteens:  School-age kids need 10 to 11 hours of sleep a night. Bedtime problems can start at this age for a variety of reasons. Homework, sports and after-school activities, computers, TVs, mobile devices, and hectic family schedules all can contribute to kids not getting the sleep they need. Sleep-deprived kids can become hyper or irritable, and may have a hard time paying attention in school. It’s still important to have a consistent bedtime, especially on school nights. Leave enough technology-free time before bed to allow your child to unwind before lights-out. A good rule of thumb is switching off the electronics at least an hour before bed and keeping TVs, computers, and mobile devices out of kids’ bedrooms.

    Teens: Teens need about 9 hours of sleep per night, but many don’t get it. Early school start times on top of schedules packed with school, homework, friends, and activities mean that many are chronically sleep deprived. Sleep deprivation adds up over time, so an hour less per night is like a full night without sleep by the end of the week.

    Among other things, a lack of sleep can lead to:

    • being less attentive

    • inconsistent performance

    • short-term memory loss

    • delayed response time

    This can lead to anger problems, trouble in school (academically and with teachers and peers), the use of stimulants like caffeine or energy drinks to feel more awake, and car crashes due to delayed response times or falling asleep at the wheel. Teens also undergo a change in their sleep patterns — their bodies want to stay up late and wake up later,which often leads to them trying to catch up on sleep during the weekend. But this irregularity can make getting to sleep at a reasonable hour during the week even harder. Ideally, a teen should try to go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning, allowing for at least 9 hours of sleep.

    Bedtime Routines:  No matter what your child’s age, establish a bedtime routine that encourages good sleep habits. These tips can help kids ease into a good night’s sleep:

    • Stick to a bedtime, and give your kids a heads-up 30 minutes and then 10 minutes beforehand

    • Include a winding-down period in the routine

    • Encourage older kids and teens to set and maintain a bedtime that allows for the full hours of sleep needed at their age

    • Try to encourage a consistent wake up time as well

    • Eliminate screen time 30-60 minutes prior to bedtime

  • Vomiting is common in children. Often vomiting occurs along with diarrhea and is caused by a virus. Other infections, viral infections and even extreme coughing or excitement may also cause vomiting. Gastroesophageal reflux can also cause vomiting. Vomiting can cause dehydration or “drying out,” which can be very serious. Dehydration happens when your child loses too much liquid.

    Signs and symptoms of dehydration:

    Early Signs: Call your child’s doctor immediately if your child shows any of these signs. Do not wait for the later signs of dehydration.

    Child has not urinated in 6 hours (babies usually have 6-8 wet diapers in 24 hours)

    Child is less active than normal or is unusually sleepy

    Child’s urine is dark yellow and may smell strong like ammonia

    Child’s mouth is dry and sticky

    Later Signs:

    Child’s eyes are sunken

    Child has no energy and is difficult to wake up

    Child has a fever


    Your child shows any signs of dehydration

    Your child has green or bloody vomit

    Your child experiences severe stomach pain (babies may be very irritable and cry a lot)

    Vomiting lasts more than 6 hours

    Liquids to Try in Small Amounts:

    Infants: Breast milk, Infalyte (do not add water to dilute), Pedialyte (do not add water to dilute), Formula

    Older Children: Gatorade (Check with your child’s doctor about other sports drinks. They may not be right for your child), Caffeine-free tea Popsicles — regular or Pedialyte, Flat ginger ale.

    How to Give Liquids to Your Child:

    Infants: Breastfeed more often and for a shorter amount of time. For example, breastfeed every half hour for 10 minutes on one breast. After 2 or 3 hours, if this is tolerated well, return to your normal breastfeeding schedule. If you are bottle feeding, start with Pedialyte or Infalyte. Give 1 ounce every half hour for 2 or 3 hours. If the baby takes this well, return to normal feedings with regular strength formula, giving only a tablespoon at a time. If the infant does not have vomiting after 8 hours, you can try to resume his / her normal formula feeding routine. If vomiting continues, offer 2 or 3 ounces of Pedialyte or Infalyte after each time the baby vomits. Continue feedings with regular formula or breast milk.

    Older Children: Give liquids in small amounts and frequently. For example, give 1 or 2 ounces every half hour. If your child takes this well, increase the amount a little every half hour. If your child vomits, decrease the amount of liquid for the next feeding and then try to slowly increase the amount again with every feeding after that. Slowly advance the diet to a regular diet. Greasy foods and foods high in sugar should be added slowly because they may increase vomiting.

    Foods to Start With: Rice, Plain crackers, Chicken Noodles, Potatoes, Bananas, Applesauce

    Foods to Avoid Until the Vomiting Ends:  Fruit juice, Kool-Aid, Dairy products, Fried-foods.

    Do not use any medication for your baby or child unless your child’s doctor tells you to give it. Medications that are good for adults or older children can be dangerous for babies or small children.