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Keeping Your Kids Healthy During the Holidays

The holidays can be a fun time for kids to spend with family and friends, take off from school, and enjoy traditional holiday foods.

Too much indulging, however, can lead to stress, illness, and weight gain. Following are some preventative tips that can keep your kids healthy while letting the whole family enjoy the festivities.

Flu Shot – A seasonal flu shot before the start of the holidays, is the best way to keep the whole family healthy from colds and the flu.

Hand Washing – With all the traveling and family visits, it’s especially important that kids keep up their usual hand washing routine with hot water and soap when available, or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Avoid Oversharing – While the holidays are all about sharing, in order to avoid spreading germs, do not let your kids share utensils, food, or drinks with family and friends.

Routines – Routines are just as important during the holidays as they are during the school year as they reduce stress and promote relaxation. Keep a structured environment by sticking to a regular schedule of meals, activities, naps and bedtimes.

Healthy Foods – Avoid overeating at holiday parties by preparing healthy snacks before heading out and limiting your child’s portion sizes. Allow your child one dessert per event and discourage sweets at home. Get a good start each day with a healthy breakfast that will help your child keep up their stamina throughout the day.

Physical Activity – Kids burn about half as many calories during the winter, as they do in the summer; don’t let your child’s physical activity take a holiday. Limit the screen times on their phones, computers, and television. Encourage them to partake in fun activities like family walks, hikes, skating, bowling, or a friendly game of touch football or basketball.

Holiday Traditions – Create new holiday traditions that are about celebrating family time together and enjoying physical activities instead of food.

Set a Good Example – Parents can set a good example during the holidays by limiting indulgent foods, participating in physical activities with their kids, and taking the time to relax and de-stress.

Traveling – Plan trips in the morning when kids travel best. Bring along your child’s favorite items and games that will keep them busy. Try to schedule their mealtimes and bedtimes at the same time each day. Always make sure that your child is in the appropriate car seat, booster chair, or seat belt for their size when traveling.

Back to School – In order to ensure a smooth transition as your child gets closer to heading back to school, start adjusting their mealtime and bedtime schedules a few days before school starts.

The above recommendations will go a long way to keeping your kids healthy and helping the whole family celebrate the holidays together.

About Pediatric Critical Care of South Florida
Pediatric Critical Care of South Florida (PCCSF) is a group of leading pediatric intensivists and hospitalists who are board-certified and fellowship-trained in pediatrics and pediatric critical care medicine. They currently operate the pediatric critical care unit (PICU) facility at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood, Florida. For more information, please visit www.pccsf.com or call (954) 454-5131.

Posted by lavandosky

Ten Tips for a Healthier Flu Season

Flu season runs from October through May, and peaks in January and February each year. Help your child avoid getting sick by following these ten tips from the experts at Pediatric Critical Care of South Florida.

• Make sure that all of your child’s vaccinations are up-to-date, according to age requirements, especially the flu shot. Although the flu shot does not guarantee they will not get sick, it lessens the severity.

• Teach your child to wash their hands properly by using warm water, working-up a lather with soap, and making sure that they clean both sides of their hands, wrists, nails, and between their fingers for 15 to 20 seconds.

• Instruct your child to wash their hands frequently, especially before eating, after coughing or sneezing, or blowing their nose. Washing their hands properly reduces the chances of germs ending up on the body.

• When soap and water is not available, have your child use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

• Prevent your child from spreading their germs to others by keeping them home from school and other activities when they are sick.

• Learn the difference between the cold and the flu. The flu lasts longer and is much more intense, with symptoms that include fever, body aches, and vomiting. Colds are not as severe and are typically shorter in length.

• Make sure that your child avoids fatigue by sleeping the adequate amount of hours and staying physically active during the flu season.

• Healthy habits will keep your child’s body strong. Have them eat nutritious whole foods, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, and avoid caffeinated drinks.

• In order to avoid spreading viruses, teach your child not to share, drink or eat from the same cups or utensils as their friends or classmates. This also includes parents and other family members.

• Sanitize your home and other shared surfaces, including your child’s computer, phone, or tablet, regularly with a good disinfectant at least once a week during flu season.

About Pediatric Critical Care of South Florida
Pediatric Critical Care of South Florida (PCCSF) is a group of leading pediatric intensivists and hospitalists who are board-certified and fellowship-trained in pediatrics and pediatric critical care medicine. They currently operate the pediatric critical care unit (PICU) facility at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood, Florida. For more information, please visit www.pccsf.com or call (954) 454-5131.

Posted by lavandosky

PCCSF Recognizes National Physician Assistant Week

As part of National Physician Assistant Week, we’re celebrating these professionals and their contributions by highlighting one of our own, Lora Robertson, PA-C. Click here to read our latest newsletter.

Posted by lavandosky

Ten Back-to-School Tips to Get your Kids Off to a Healthy Start by Pediatric Critical Care of South Florida

After three months of summer vacation, most families need help transitioning their children to their back-to-school routines and getting them off to a healthy start. Following are some tips from the experts at Pediatric Critical Care of South Florida on starting the school year off right.

  • Find out what health checkups your child’s school requires. Most require that certain vaccines be administered before they can attend classes. Don’t wait until the last week before school starts to make an appointment with your child’s pediatrician, appointments fill-up quickly before the start of the year
  • Besides visiting your child’s pediatrician, back-to-school season is also a good time for setting other doctor’s appointments, including the dentist, optometrist, or ophthalmologist
  • Make sure that your child’s school is aware of any medical conditions that your child may have, including allergies, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or vision problems. Make arrangements for the school to administer any medications that they may need during class
  • Healthy eating is crucial for a successful school year. Make sure that your child’s eating habits are back-on-track before the new school year starts by reintroducing healthier meals and making them aware of the benefits of nutritious options so they can start making better choices on their own
  • As the new school year approaches, it is imperative to get kids back to a regular sleep schedule, check with your pediatrician to see how much sleep your child should be getting according to their age. Most kids need about two weeks to become accustomed to a new sleep routine
  • Anxiety can be a problem, especially if children are heading to a new school with new classmates. Encourage your kids to discuss any anxieties they may be experiencing
  • Computer screens keep children’s minds stimulated longer than intended, start limiting your child’s play time in front of computers, cellphones, and tablets as back-to-school season approaches
  • Make regular physical activity part of your child’s back-to-school routine. Exercise supports overall well-being, a healthier immune system, and helps kids stay alert and focused when they get back to class
  • Go a step further by encouraging your child to sign-up for a sport they enjoy. Participating in team sports has lots of benefits, including physical and mental health, stress reduction, and an increase in self-confidence. Check if your child’s school requires a sports physical and schedule it before the school year starts
  • Make sure that your child’s backpack isn’t hurting their back. Choose a sturdy backpack with good built-in support and thick padded shoulder straps. Teach your child how to spread the weight of the bag evenly

About Pediatric Critical Care of South Florida
Pediatric Critical Care of South Florida (PCCSF) is a group of leading pediatric intensivists and hospitalists who are board-certified and fellowship-trained in pediatrics and pediatric critical care medicine. They currently operate the pediatric critical care unit (PICU) facility at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood, Florida. For more information, please visit www.pccsf.com or call (954) 454-5131.

Posted by lavandosky

Ten Tips to Make your Child’s Summer Healthier

Summer is a great time of year, but there are potential dangers. Approximately forty percent of all injury-related emergency room visits happen from May through August.

Following are recommendations that will help keep kids healthy and safe, while letting them partake in some summer fun.

Nutrition and Physical Fitness – The summer months are not a time for your child to slack-off from their usual activities. Make sure that they eat nutritious meals, get plenty of exercise, and the adequate amount of sleep necessary for their age.

First-Aid Kit – Keep a first-aid kit on hand that includes children’s pain medication, antiseptic cream, insect repellant, hand sanitizer or antibacterial wipes, a cold pack and bandages. Keep the acronym, R.I.C.E in mind in the case of an injury – Rest, apply Ice and Compression, and keep the injured area Elevated.

Sunscreen – Make sure that your child applies a water-resistant sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB and is at least SPF 30. It should be reapplied every two hours and, as needed, when swimming.

Dehydration – Hot weather and strenuous activity can dehydrate children and cause heat-related illnesses. Kids are more prone because their central nervous systems have not been fully developed. Always keep water or sports drinks with electrolytes handy and remind kids to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day.

Bug Safety – Avoid areas were insects tend to congregate. Have children wear long-sleeved shirts and pants, as well as socks to prevent bites. Use insect repellents that contain DEET on children over two months old in order to prevent insect-related diseases. Ticks and mosquitos can transmit viruses and diseases, such as Lyme Disease and West Nile.

Playgrounds – Kids spend more time at the playground during the summer months. Before your child starts to play, make sure that the equipment works correctly, if it burns to the touch, or has any lose or unsecured ropes. Never leave children unsupervised.

Pool Safety – Teach your child how to swim as soon as it is recommended. Regardless of a child’s swimming capabilities, never leave them alone or unsupervised, near the pool area. Keep floating devices and a portable phone nearby.

Boating Safety – Children should wear life jackets at all times when on boats, docks, or near bodies of water. Make sure that they are the right size for your child and are fastened properly.

Open Waters – Do not let your child swim in canals or fast-moving waters. Do not let them dive into water unless you have checked it for depth, objects, and safety. Never leave your child unsupervised, it is best that they swim only when there is a lifeguard on duty.

Summer Travel – If you are traveling, especially internationally, visit your child’s pediatrician to see if any vaccinations, flu shots, medications, or special precautions are needed for the area that you are traveling to.

About Pediatric Critical Care of South Florida
Pediatric Critical Care of South Florida (PCCSF) is a group of leading pediatric intensivists and hospitalists who are board-certified and fellowship-trained in pediatrics and pediatric critical care medicine. They currently operate the pediatric critical care unit (PICU) facility at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood, Florida. For more information, please visit www.pccsf.com or call (954) 454-5131.

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Posted by lavandosky