children's health

  1. Is vitamin D deficiency making your child sick?

    Sick kid? Check his D levels

    Evidence from two new studies has our old friend vitamin D back in the spotlight. But this time instead of adult vitamin-D deficiency it's the kid variety that's taking center stage.

    In one Harvard University study researchers found that 40 percent of the sick kids that they tested in pediatric intensive care were vitamin D deficient. And the kids who were deficient were more likely to stay in the hospital longer than other kids.

    And Canadian researchers had similar results when they tested sick kids in a pediatric intensive care unit in Ottawa.

    Both groups of researchers were quick to say that they hesitated to blame D deficiency for causing the kids to be sick. But what we, of course, do know is that vitamin D is absolutely crucial for your immune system to work properly. Without enough D the killer cells in your immune system, known as T-cells, can't react and fight off serious illnesses.

    If you have a healthy child or grandchild in your life, after thanking your lucky stars make sure he's getting plenty of D-containing meals with eggs, oily fish, and D fortified foods and encourage him to spend some time out playing in the sunshine daily. You also might want to talk with his doctor about starting him on a vitamin D supplement.

    And if you have a sick kid in your life talk with his doctor about the possibility of him taking large doses of D as early in the illness as possible.

  2. Old fashioned "honey cure" soothes coughs

    Honey I soothed the kids

    It's that time of year again. If you haven't already dropped your child or grandchild off for school this month, that day is fast approaching. And with back to school comes the inevitable sniffles, sneezes, and coughs that sticking a bunch of kids together in a room all day brings.

    But, according to a new study in Pediatrics, if your little-one comes home with a cough that's keeping him (and you) awake at night, grandma's old "honey cure" could be just what you need to soothe that cough and send him off to la la land.

    Just two teaspoons of honey at bedtime had the little tykes in the study were coughing less frequently and less severely. Plus the honey eaters were less likely to lose sleep than the kids who didn't get the honey.

    But be sure to skip the honey if your child or grandchild is under a year old. And if he or she has other symptoms, like a fever or wheezing, it's time to see a doctor.

  3. Having a dog in the home is good for kid's health

    Dogged by colds no more

    According to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics, babies who live in homes with dogs are just plain healthier. They're less likely to suffer with respiratory infections like the common cold. And the little tikes have fewer runny noses and less painful ear infections than babies who live in a home with no pooch to call their own.

    In fact, babies with a dog in the home were found to be an astounding 44 percent less likely to develop an ear infection and 20 percent less likely to need a gut-busting antibiotic.

  4. Common button batteries pose danger to kids

    Button Battery Warning

    If you're a parent, grandparent, or just someone who cares about a child, I have an important warning you need to hear.

    According to a recent study published in the journal Pediatrics, cases of U.S. kids visiting the emergency room for battery-related emergencies have more than doubled in the past twenty years. And 84 percent of those visits were for those little button batteries that are in everything from toys to flashlights these days.

    I have to admit I had never given those little batteries much thought before. But now, whenever we have a child in the house, I will be much more aware.

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