What do people think about vaccinations?

What do people think about vaccinations?

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought to the table a global conversation about the necessity, safety, and efficacy of vaccines. When it comes to vaccination, there are only one of three camps that people fall into: pro-vaccine, anti-vaccine, and undecided. 

In this article, we will be looking specifically at the US before and the attitudes American’s have towards the Covid-19 vaccine. Next, we will look at how other countries are looking at vaccines in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Pro Vaccine

People at the forefront of researching and developing the vaccine were among the first to champion the vaccine’s effectiveness. Other people who were the first to get their vaccine include medical professionals, teachers, and other professions labeled “essential” during the pandemic. For people working in the medical field, getting the vaccine allowed them to safely treat patients during the pandemic. As experts in their field, they are also more likely to trust the safety of a vaccine than others. 

person holding syringe and vaccine bottle
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Teachers and other essential workers also jumped onboard the vaccine bandwagon once it was made available to them. This is because those workers struggled to find ways to work effectively during the lockdown phase of the pandemic and had to struggle to navigate their work while also following the safety guidelines put forward by the CDC; it was challenging. Some of these hardships drove people in these professions to get the vaccine out of a belief that getting the vaccine as soon as possible would put an end to the pandemic and allow their lives to return to normal. 

Generally, people who tend to be pro-vaccine are well-educated, left-leaning people. They trust and believe in the science of this vaccine, and they are choosing to get vaccinated out of a belief that doing so will end the pandemic.  

Anti Vaccine

Commonly labeled the “anti-vaxxers”  by their pro-vaccine opponents, people opposing vaccines are doing so in the name of medical freedom. These people are doubters who believe that the drug companies responsible for creating the vaccines are not telling the whole truth about the safety or effectiveness of the vaccine. Instead, their view is that the companies are pushing vaccines to turn a profit and are less interested in the health of individuals.

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Generally speaking, people who tend to be against vaccines are right-leaning individuals who strongly support individual freedom. They resist authority figures in government dictating their personal choices and view the vaccine as the government overstepping their boundaries and imposing health choices for them. 

Vaccine Hesitant

This is the group that has political groups on both sides of the aisle puzzled: the undecided, vaccine-hesitant group. In a poll published by CNBC, conducted among New Yorkers,  “78% of White residents would take the vaccine as soon as they could compared with 39% of Black residents, 54% of Hispanics and 54% of Asians” (Lovelance 2021). This means that those who were initially vaccine hesitate have consisted mostly of minority groups. These people in the middle are not necessarily against the vaccine; most are waiting to see the fallout of what happens to those who were first to be vaccinated. They are cautious and need more proof that this vaccine is really as safe as the experts claim it is before getting vaccinated themselves. This group of vaccine-hesitant people comes from both sides of the political spectrum and don’t consider themselves among the anti-vaccine demographic, even though they are also unvaccinated against Covid-19. They may have a general trust in vaccines, but not necessarily the Covid-19 vaccine because of how quickly the vaccine was developed and rolled out. 

Across The Globe:

After looking at the complexities surrounding attitudes towards the Covid-19 vaccine in the US, let’s take a quick look at what is happening across the globe. 

person with a face mask and latex gloves holding a globe
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Japan

There has been some concerning vaccine hesitance among the Japanese and these low immunization rates threaten to cancel the upcomming Summer Olympics. In an article posten in Time Magazine, it is explained that there is an extremely conservative attitude toward vaccine approval. Of the available vaccines, Pfizer is the only one approved of in Japan. When the AstraZenaca and Johnson and Johnson vaccine were briefly suspended for causing blood clots, public perception of all vaccines had been damaged (Shanghai, 2021). 

The United Kingdom

The UK has been rolling out vaccines rapidly and people have been responsive by getting their vaccine. The government has been pushing for war-time like efforts to coordinate an extremely efficient rollout. According to BBC News, “More than 42 million people in the UK have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine — part of the biggest inoculation programme the country has ever launched” (Team 2021). With a combination of government support and compliance with the public, the UK has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world. 

India

The heartbreaking number of covid-related deaths in India makes vaccination efforts all the more important, but the country faces some unique challenges. In an article posted in The Lancet, as of May of 2021, more than 186 million doses of the vaccine had been administered. This makes India third globally for the number of distributed vaccines; the U.S. and China are ahead of the game (Subramanian 2021). Yet their death rates continue to increase. A combination of population size and density have created problems. When vaccine events are coordinated in India, they have become super-spreader like events that infect the over populated lines of people waiting to get the vaccine. It’s a unique challenge and the Indian government will need to rethink it’s vaccine rollout strategy. 

Final Thoughts

Attitudes and opinions concerning the Covid-19 vaccine are understandably complicated. The global conversation concerning the safety of this vaccine will continue and people will make decisions that they feel are in the best interest for them and heir family, which is ultimately what all of us want — for us and our family to be safe. 

References:

Lovelace, B. (2021, February 10). Biden’s next fight: Anti-vaxxers jeopardize plans to protect U.S. against Covid. CNBC.

Shanghai, C. C. (2021, April 20). Will Japan’s Low Immunization Rate Pose a Problem for the Olympics? Time.

Team, B. T. V. A. D. J. (2021, June 17). Covid vaccine: How many people in the UK have been vaccinated so far? BBC News.

Subramanian, S. V. (2021, June 3). India Faces a Challenge with its Mass Vaccination Efforts. The Lancet.

The Most Common Childhood Diseases: Pneumonia

The Most Common Childhood Diseases: Pneumonia

Among the most common childhood illnesses are the common cold, influenza, and RSV which are all treatable and generally easy to manage. However, there is one childhood illness that is both common and dangerous, pneumonia. While pneumonia can be reliably treated here in the US, when left untreated in children and the elderly it can be fatal, which is why it is so important for all parents to understand this common childhood illness. Today we will look at what pneumonia is, when to take your child in to see the doctor, how dangerous pneumonia really is, and some useful prevention tips.

How common is pneumonia?

As mentioned earlier, pneumonia is a very common and highly contagious illness among young children. It has been reported that pneumonia has infected 150 to 156 million children under the age of 5 years in the US alone (Chaunie 2019). Thankfully, because of access to antibiotics and other treatments, pneumonia can be managed and is not as fatal as it once was. 

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What is pneumonia?

Pneumonia is an infection in the lungs. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Pneumonia is an infection that inflames the air sacs in one or both lungs. The air sacs may fill with fluid or pus causing cough with phlegm or pus, fever, chills, and difficulty breathing. A variety of organisms, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi, can cause pneumonia” (2020). Depending on the severity of the illness symptoms can range from mild to severe. Here are some symptoms that parents should be on the lookout for in their own children (Chaunie 2019):

  • A cough that lasts for more than a week
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Chills or aches in the body
  • Loss of appetite
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Wheezing

When should I take my child to the doctor?

Since so many of the listed symptoms are similar to the symptoms you would find for the flu or a cold, we recommend taking children under the age of five in to see their doctor. Especially for infants, illness of any kind, especially pneumonia, can escalate quickly. Doctors will often prescribe antibiotics to treat pneumonia so the sooner you can get your child on antibiotics, the more likely their recovery will go smoothly. 

An important note on taking antibiotics, it is very important to follow the prescribed antibiotic treatment at home exactly as it was prescribed. Generally speaking, symptoms will subside 12-36 hours after starting an antibiotic medications and if parents do not take the full antibiotic course as prescribed, the infection could come back (Nationa Wide Children’s Hospital 2019). Following the doctors orders when it comes to proper medication treatment is essential to making a full recovery. 

anonymous female with pills in hand and bottle
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Is pneumonia dangerous?

That’s difficult to answer. Generally, in the US for families with access to treatment, pneumonia is not considered dangerous. However, on a global scale, it continues to leave a deadly impact. UNICEF, also known as the United Nations Children’s Fund, is one of the leading organizations for profiding humanitarian support and aid to children worldwide. Their organization has reposted that pneumonia is the leading infections cause of death among children under the age of five. They estimate that 800,000 children die a year from pneumonia (UNICEF 20108). 

What makes these global figures so heartbreraking, is that pneumonia can be managed with access to antibiotics. Families with access to health resources should be able to treat their child should they contract pneumonia with relatively little complications.  

How can I prevent my child from getting pneumonia?

Establishing good hygiene practices can significantly reduce the risk for contracting pneumonia. Things like watching hands, sanitizing surfaces, and reducing contact with anyone who has been sick can really help prevent pneumonia from coming into contact with your little one. However, the most effective way to reduce the risk is to get your child vaccinated for pneumonia. In the US, access to a pneumonia vaccine is part of the recommended vaccination schedule, it is called the PCV13 vaccines for childrena nd PCV 23 in adults (CDC 2020). While the vaccine is not a 100% guarantee your child will never contract pneumonia, it can greatly reduce the liklihood of contracting the disease and it can also reduce the severity of the symptoms should they get sick.  To learn more about vaccines read on here

Final Thoughts 

My hope is to never be alarmist when it comes to giving new parents advice. When it comes to pneumonia, it is something that needs to be taken very seriously. When treated effectively, most children will recover just fine. As we’ve stated, the key to tackling pneumonia is early detection so be sure to invest in a good monitor for your little one sooner rather than later. 

References

  1. Chaunie Brusie. (2019, July 23). Everything You Should Know About Walking Pneumonia in Kids. Healthline.
  2. UNICEF Childhood diseases. (2018).
  3. Nationwide Children’s Hospital. (2009). Pneumonia.
  4. Mayo Clinic. Pneumonia – Symptoms and causes. (2020, June 13).
  5. CDC (2020) Pneumococcal Vaccination | Center for Disease Control.
Respiratory Diseases For Babies: RSV

Respiratory Diseases For Babies: RSV

When discussing respiratory diseases in infants and young children, there is a wide range of respiratory-related illnesses that parents need to know about to keep their child healthy. From the less concerning common cold to the very dangerous respiratory distress syndrome, it can be difficult to assess what illness your child is experiencing. Breathe easy, parents; we are here to help you. 

photo of man in raising baby under blue sky
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With so many various types of respiratory diseases, we will focus on one in particular: Respiratory Syncytial Virus, more commonly referred to as RSV. This is a viral infection that, while common, can be dangerous and parents need to be on the lookout for RSV, especially in infants and young children.

What is RSV?

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, RSV “is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms. Most people recover in a week or two, but RSV can be serious, especially for infants and older adults” (2020). Generally speaking, RSV is perfectly manageable and easily treated. However, as mentioned before, for infants and the elderly, contracting RSV can be serious. Parents of infants and young children need to be more attentive in their care. RSV is highly contagious; make sure to keep friends, relatives, or childcare providers away from your child should you suspect they have RSV and prevent your child from exposure. 

What are the symptoms of RSV?

Symptoms for RSV generally set in four to six days after exposure (Mayo Clinic 2021). As mentioned before, the symptoms for RSV resemble that of a cold and include (Mayo Clinic 2021):

  • Fever
  • Dry cough
  • Sore throat
  • Sneezing
  • Headache

Regarding fevers in infants, please note that the guideline for fevers changes for children by age. You can learn more about fevers in infants and young children here

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Sings of a more severe case of RSV will include any of the above symptoms as well as:

  • Rapid breathing
  • Struggling to breathe
  • Fatigue
  • Bluish skin color (as a result of lack of oxygen)

With any of the more severe symptoms, contact your doctor immediately and get medical assistance. Especially if your child is 12 months or younger, it is critical to get help immediately. RSV can lead to pneumonia which can complicate your child’s health conditions (Escoto 2019).

Can you prevent your child from being infected from RSV?

In short, no; there isn’t a way for parents to completely eliminate the risk that their child will be exposed to RSV. However, parents can make smart decisions about reducing the risk that their child will be exposed to RSV. There are three things parents can do to help reduce the risk for contracting RSV:

  1. Limit contact with anyone who has cold or flu-like symptoms. As mentioned before, some symptoms for RSV are very mild and may seem mild. However, just because one person has mild symptoms doesn’t mean the person they spread the disease to will also have mild symptoms. An adult with mild symptoms can pass RSV to an infant who is far more at risk and likely to develop more severe symptoms. Tell friends, family, and caregivers to limit contact with your child when they are sick.
  2. Wash hands and practice basic hygiene habits. One of the more positive side effects since the Covid-19 pandemic is that personal hygiene habits have increased dramatically. Practicing basic habits like washing hands, wiping down surfaces, and disinfecting regularly can reduce the likelihood that your child will contract RSV.
  3. Monitor your child’s vitals. While this won’t necessarily prevent your child from contracting RSV, it will help you recognize early warning signs that they have RSV and get the treatment they need before conditions become severe. One way to monitor your child’s vitals is with a wearable baby monitor like the LoveyQ. This monitor can track vital signs like heart rate, breath rate, temperature, and sleeping patterns. These signs can alert parents to underlying problems that need to be addressed before they become problematic. Early detection is just as valuable as prevention.

Final Thoughts:

RSV is something that, in all likelihood, every child will encounter at some point in their lifetime. However, the duration and severity of the condition are what parents need to be on the lookout for. As parents, we know how important your child’s health is, and we want you to have all the information you need to ensure your child is getting the care they need. 

Resources:

CDC. (2020, December 18). Learn about Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection (RSV). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Mayo Clinic. (2021, January 9). Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) – Symptoms and causes.

Escoto, M. A. (2019, February). Respiratory Syncytial Virus (for Parents) – Nemours KidsHealth. Kid’s Health.

Healthy Foods For Your Child’s Immunity

Healthy Foods For Your Child’s Immunity

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When it comes to preventing illness in our children, we parents often think about the medications our children need or the vaccines that are distributed. Truth be told, so much of what determines good or bad health comes down to the foods kids eat. Our immune system is developed around the kinds of eating habits we create. So if we want our kids to ward off illness and disease, we need to make sure they are fed propery. 

What is the immune system?

The immune system can be difficult to understand because it doesn’t exist in any one set of organs within our body. According to the US National Library of Medicine, “ [The] immune system is a complex network of cells, tissues, and organs. Together they help the body fight infections and other diseases” (2021). There are several important components that make up the immune system, the most notable being the skin, white blood cells, and membrane lining of the internal organs. Those components are spread all throughout the body, which is why the immune system is complex.

Why do children need to develop a healthy immune system?

The immune system is what helps to keep our body healthy. It’s primary function is to fight off infections and disease. Children especially need to develop a healthy immune system because their bodies are growing and adapting to the world around them. They are more likely to come into contact with a germ or virus that the body has not had experience protecting itself against. It is therefore, essential for kids to develop a strong immune system that can protect itself from getting sick. 

What helps to strengthen the immune system?

Supporting a healthy immune system starts with eating well and making consistent choices to build a healthy diet. Yes, vaccines can help create a strong immune system, it is no replacement for a healthy diet. When it comes to foods that strengthen the immune system you will want to finds foods that contain the following (Griffin 2013):

  • Probiotics are living organisms that are found in certain foods, sometimes considered “healthy germs” and they the are essential to maintaining good digestive health. Yogurt is a great source of probiotics that kids will enjoy eating. The key with finding a good yogurt for your child is to look for one that isn’t packed with added sugar. 
  • Omega-3 fatty acids can help kids, and adults, fight off illness and are considered vital nutrients for brain functionality. When kid’s brains are still developing, a diet with plenty of omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the risk of heart disease, depression, dementia, and autoimmune disease (Beurkens 2021). The most well-known source of omega-3 fatty acids is fish, specifically salmon. While some kids are more likely than others to eat salmon, other more picky eaters will be reluctant. Kids can find more appealing sources of omega-3 fatty acids in chia seeds, flax seeds, and walnuts. These types of nuts can be incorporated in trail mix snacks, granola bars, or ground up into a smoothie.
  • Vitamin C is essential for the healthy growth and repair of tissues all over the body. In fact,vitamin c is often the poster child of vitamins when it comes to supporting a healthy immune system. Oranges, strawberries, broccoli, and tomatoes are all great sources of vitamin c that your child will love. 
  • Zinc is known to help white blood cells fight off infections and therefore critical to helping children develop a strong, healthy immune system. Zinc is found in foods like red meat, oysters, and poultry. However, if you find your child is reluctant to try any of those, consider baked beas, chickpeas, and nuts such as cashews or almonds (Office of Dietary Supplements 2021). 
Healthy food pyramid for kids

What happens if a child does not get enough vitamins and minerals?

When your child is lacking certain vitamins and minerals necessary to developing a healthy immune system, it creates a defficiency and can lead to anemia. Vitamin deficiencies are serious and can cause long-term health problems for your child. Sings of a vitamin deficiency include (Mayo Clinic 2019):

  • Fatigue.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Dizziness.
  • Pale or yellowish skin.
  • Irregular heartbeats.
  • Weight loss.
  • Numbness or tingling in hands and feet.
  • Muscle weakness.

If your child is exhibiting any of these sings contact your pediatrician. It is likely your child will be given some vitamin supplements to help lessen their deficiency. Ultimately you will want to help your child create a healthy, balanced diet to prevent any kind of defficieny from happening. 

Final Thoughts

We all want our children to be healthy and we all know that eating well is essential to our well being. Picky eaters are a real struggle, and we know it’s tempting to give in and let them eat the junk food, but finding that balance is important. Good parents know that healthy foods are what’s best for the child and will help support them by finding foods they enjoy that are good for them.

References

Griffin, M. R. (2013, January 18). Immunity-Boosting Snacks for Kids. WebMD.

Beurkens, N. (2021, March 1). 7 Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids – For Help with ADHD, Autism, Depression and Brain Function. Nicole Beurkens.

Office of Dietary Supplements. (2021, March 26). Office of Dietary Supplements – Zinc. National Institutes of Health: Office of Dietary Supplements.

U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2021, May 17). Immune System and Disorders. Autoimmune Disease | MedlinePlus.

Mayo Clinic. (2019, December 10). Vitamin deficiency anemia – Symptoms and causes.

How Do Vaccines Work?

How Do Vaccines Work?

There has been an increased interest in vaccines since the Covid-19 pandemic started. Certainly, there have been small interest groups that have invested interest in vaccines, but it seems as though now the whole world has become interested in how vaccines work. Parents, in particular, want to know how vaccines work as the development of new vaccines for children is underway in the global effort to tackle the pandemic. Consider this article your vaccine introductory course. We will cover what a vaccine is, how they work, what vaccines are currently available to small children, and how to prepare your child for their shot appointment. 

What is a vaccine?

A vaccine is a shot administered by a medical professional, such as a pharmacist, nurse, or doctor. It is designed to protect an individual from whatever illness the vaccine was created for. Every vaccine is created to protect an individual’s immune system from a specific illness. For example, the flu vaccine works to protect an individual’s immune system from the flu. In the US, there are dozens of available vaccines meant to keep people healthy. The more individuals in a given population who are protected from a certain illness, the healthier the community is as a whole. Historically, vaccines have been critical in eliminating, or strongly reducing, the threat of illnesses such as polio, smallpox, and measles. 

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How does it work? 

While each vaccine varies slightly in how they work, the general principle is the same. Vaccines, “familiarize your immune system-which makes antibodies to defend your body against harmful invaders–with a certain pathogen so that it will know what to do if you become infected with that pathogen in the future” (Cleveland Clinic 2021). When our immune system has been vaccinated, it learns how to fight off a disease. Vaccines are able to do this by triggering the immune system, each vaccine contains one of the following (Cleveland Clinic 2021):

  • A weakened form of a pathogen
  • An inactive form of a pathogen
  • Certain parts of the pathogen, such as its proteins
  • A weakened toxin made by the pathogen

By preemptively exposing the immune system to a weakened form of the diseases, the immune system learns how to create the antibodies needed to fight off the disease. Then when exposed to the disease in its full form, the immune system can more readily protect itself. 

What are vaccines made of? 

As mentioned before, vaccines contained some form of the weakened disease. Additionally, there are other ingredients in a vaccine that help it work effectively. These include (OIDP 2021): 

  • Cell culture (growth) material, like eggs, to help grow the vaccine antigens.
  • Inactivating (germ-killing) ingredients, like formaldehyde, to weaken or kill viruses, bacteria, or toxins in the vaccine.
  • Antibiotics, like neomycin, to help keep outside germs and bacteria from growing in the vaccine.

There are sometimes other ingredients that are used to keep the vaccines safe and long-lasting as far as shelf life is concerned. Examples of those ingredients include (OIDP 2021):

  • Preservatives, like thimerosal, protect the vaccine from outside bacteria or fungus. Today, preservatives are usually only used in vials (containers) of vaccines that have more than 1 dose. That’s because every time an individual dose is taken from the vial, it’s possible for harmful germs to get inside. Most vaccines are also available in single-dose vials and do not have preservatives in them.
  • Stabilizers, like sugar or gelatin, help the active ingredients in vaccines continue to work while the vaccine is made, stored, and moved. Stabilizers keep the active ingredients in vaccines from changing because of something like a shift in temperature where the vaccine is being stored.

Each vaccine will vary in terms of what it is specifically made of, but generally they all contain some combination of the ingredients listed above. 

What is revaccination?

Revaccinations are common; they are simply an additional dosage of the vaccine. How often you will need to be revaccinated depends entirely on what you are being vaccinated for. Some vaccines, such as the MMR vaccine, require two doses (spaced a few years apart) to take full effect, but rarely will you need any additional MMR vaccination. Other vaccines, like the tetanus vaccine, wear off over time and will require a booster shot after ten years. Then there are other examples, like the flu vaccine, where annual vaccinations are recommended because the immune response shifts slightly from year to year (Cleveland Clinic 2021). Revaccination is a broader term for “second dose” or “booster shot” which are more commonly used terms.

How are children vaccinated and what vaccinations are given to children? 

Children are vaccinated very similarly to adults, the exception being that infants and very young children receive their vaccine in the thigh whereas older children and adults receive a vaccine in the arm. 

Photo credit: CDC

You can find more information about the US recommended vaccine schedule here

Schools and daycares often track which students have had which vaccines, it is also common for vaccination to be a requirement to attend. You can have your doctor send your child’s vaccination records to the school nurse or daycare provider if this is the case. Being ontop of your child’s vaccine schedule is important. 

How to prepare a child for vaccination? 

Each child is going to respond differently to their shots appointment. I find that for children who are 3 years and older, it’s important to be honest to be upfront about what to expect at the appointment. Children who are younger may struggle to rationalize what is being expected; the toddler years are hard. Here are some tips to help prepare your child for the appointment:

  • Give them time to process. Letting your child know 10 minutes before the appointment may cause panic, making it difficult to settle them down and cooperate during their visit. I give my daughter a day’s notice so she has a night to sleep on it. Some kids like to “count down” the days to the appointment and find that 3 days
  • Answer any questions they may have about their shot. They will want to know how much it hurts and how long it will take. Be honest, it’s going to hurt. Then assure them it doesn’t hurt too bad and it’s over fast. My daughter actually watched a little video of a nurse giving a shot so she could see what it looks like. Knowing what to expect can help calm their fears. It’s important to validate their feelings, but not their fears. Yes, they can be scared and that’s normal; however, there is nothing to be afraid of.
  • Make sure they feel secure. Either by holding them during the appointment or bringing a blanket or stuffed animal from home that helps them to feel secure. Each child will vary about what they will want during the shot. Ask your child if they want to sit in your lap, hold your hand, or bring a security item from home. Maybe even all of the above.
  • Reward them for their cooperation. I tend to overhype the reward my daughter gets after she gets her shot but it can help give them something to look forward to after the appointment. For us, we go out and get a cupcake afterwords. Do what works for your family and know that it might become a shot “tradition” so pick a reward you can replicate. It’s also to reward them even if they don’t necessarily “cooperate”, so long as they got their shot, we go for the reward. Crying and panicking aren’t bad behaviors, just very big feelings for little people.
  • Talk about it afterward. I like to ask my daughter about how she felt the appointment went afterward, usually as she is enjoying her reward. This can help create a learned sense of “I can do this” when it comes to shots. That way going foward, they will remember they have done this before and they were able to move on. 

Final thoughts

Given everything we know about vaccines, it is safe to say that vaccines are critical to protecting and preserving the health of an individual as well as the community as a whole. If you are concerned about the safety of a vaccine for either yourself or your child contact your doctor or pediatrician to get more information about the specific vaccine that you’re concerned with. We want only the best for you and your child and understanding how vaccines work is imperative in making the best choices for you and your family. 

References

Cleveland Clinic. (2021, March 18). Vaccine FAQs: How Are Vaccines Developed, and How Do They Work? Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic.

Office of Infectious Disease and HIV/AIDS Policy (OIDP). (2021, April 27). Vaccine Ingredients. HHS.Gov.

Easy-to-read Immunization Schedule by Vaccine for Ages Birth-6 Years | CDC. (2021, February 12). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Children’s Heart Issues: Congenital Heart Defects

Children’s Heart Issues: Congenital Heart Defects

When it comes to health and well-being, heart health is at the top of the list of things parents prioritize when caring for their child. So when there is concern that something is wrong, it’s important for parents to remain calm and do their research on what they need to know about heart complications in children. While there are several different types of problems related to the heart, we are going to focus on congenital heart defect — specifically in children. The reason is that, of the heart problems that are considered serious, congenital heart defect is the most common and should be the first one that parents be on the lookout for. 

What is a congenital heart defect?

A congenital heart defect is a problem that is found within the structure of the heart.

Photo Credit: Doernbecher Children’s Hospital 2020

The illustration above shows the structure of a child’s healthy heart. When working properly, blood will flow into the right side of the heart, flow to the lungs to receive oxygen, then return to the heart and flow to the left side of the heart, and finally is pumped out to the body. This is how a heart is supposed to work; healthy valves keep the blood flowing smoothly.

Congenital heart defect impacts the blood flow to one or more of the valves seen above: the opening may be too narrow, the wall separating the chambers may be too thin (or have a small hole), the valve doesn’t close properly, and so on. The severity of the defect is based upon how seriously the blood flow is impacted within the heart. 

Early indicators of a heart defect

Unfortunately, congenital heart defects are something children have when they are born. Since heart development begins in utero, sometimes health care providers can detect problems in pregnancy during a mother’s ultrasound. Early detection is critical to treating and managing congenital heart defects.

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However, not all cases are found as early as pregnancy, meaning it is up to parents and healthcare providers to be on the lookout. Early indicators include (Story 2017):

  • Blueish lips, fingers, or toes
  • Breathlessness or trouble breathing
  • Low birthweight
  • Delayed growth
  • Abnormal heart rhythms

Some of these early signs are easy to detect since they can be observed more easily; the appearance of blueish lips or noticing that your child is having difficulty breathing. 

Symptoms such as blueish lips or noticing your child’s breathing are easier to detect because those symptoms are more easily observed. However, other symptoms, like abnormal heart rhythms, are not as easily seen. 

One way to detect an abnormal heart rhythm is with the use of a baby monitor. The LoveyQ is a wearable monitor that can closely monitor your baby’s heart patterns while awake or sleeping. The benefit of a monitor like this is that it will track long-term heart patterns that will help parents better understand how their child’s heart is working. The app will display the data for parents to see so they can better evaluate the health of their child’s heart.

During a standard well-child appointment, pediatricians spend up to an hour with each child; 1 minute of that appointment is spent listening to the child’s heart with a stethoscope. While congenital heart defects can be detected this way, and regular checkups with a pediatrician are important, it may not be enough to catch everything. That’s why we advocate for regular monitoring with LoveyQ. If parents notice any abnormalities in heart rhythms, they can bring that data to their next appointment and show the doctor.

While LoveyQ cannot diagnose children with congenital heart defects, it can detect early warning signs. Once notified, a doctor will need to perform further testing before a diagnosis can be determined.

What causes congenital heart defects?

As mentioned earlier, congenital heart defects are something that a person is born with, meaning that problems begin early in development. Experts are not precisely sure what causes these heart defects, but they suspect that the problem may start during pregnancy. They have found a correlation to mothers who exhibit certain behaviors during pregnancy tend to have children born with congenital heart defects (Story 2017):

  • Mothers who take certain prescription drugs during pregnancy
  • Mothers who consume alcohol or take illegal drugs
  • Mothers who had a viral infection during the first trimester of pregnancy
  • Mothers who had an increase in their blood sugar levels from something such as diabetes. 

It is clear that the health and behaviors of a mother during pregnancy can impact the health of their unborn child for life. However, having a child with a congenital heart defect does not mean the mother was negligent during her pregnancy. Research also suggests that congenital heart defects may be genetic and can, therefore, simply run in the family. Be sure to examine your own family’s health history when assessing the likelihood that your child may have a congenital heart defect. 

Final thoughts

If you are concerned that your child may have a congenital heart defect, it’s important to contact your doctor immediately so that further destiny can be done. While careful monitoring can’t prevent your child from developing a congenital heart defect, it can certainly help with early detection that can help get your child the care that they need to manage their condition. We care about our kids as much as you do for yours; if you suspect that there is a problem, we hope that you can get the care that they need. 

References:

What are Congenital Heart Defects? | CDC. (2019, November 22). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. (2020). Congenital Heart Defects in Children | Doernbecher Children’s Hospital | OHSU. OHSU.

Story, C. M. (2017, December 19). Congenital Heart Disease. Healthline.

What If My Baby Feels Sick?

What If My Baby Feels Sick?

When parents are caring for their sick baby, there are many questions they will likely have: how sick is my child? How can I help treat my child? Should I take my child to see the doctor? All of these are important questions, and we have done the work of answering them for you. 

Signs of Illness

When your baby is sick, there are a few easy first indicators that parents should be able to identify.

thermometer and pills on bed
Fever is a sign. Photo by Polina Tankilevitch on Pexels.com

Fever: A high temperature is the first clear indicator that your baby is sick. There are a few different ways to take your baby’s temperature, from digital thermometers to wearable monitors. It is essential to know that depending on the child’s age, the threshold for a high fever changes; that’s normal.

  • Babies under 3 months: a fever of 100.4 is problematic; call your doctor
  • Babies 3 months to 3 years: a fever of 102.2 or above is problematic; call your doctor

Anything that is below the high fever threshold is likely treatable at home. However, if you are still worried, call your doctor to be sure. You can read more about fevers in baby’s here.

Cough: When your child has a cough, there are different kinds of coughs that indicate they might be sick (Forster 2020):  

  • Dry coughing is usually an indicator of a cold or allergies. Generally, a dry cough serves to clear out the throat from postnasal drip or irritation in the throat.
  • Wet coughing can be an indicator of a respiratory illness and can be accompanied by a bacterial infection. A wet cough can mean that there is phlegm or mucus in the airways; it’s why this type of cough is called “wet” and is symptomatic of a bacterial illness.

Having a cough or a fever are the first two clear indicators that your child is ill and often the first thing your doctor will ask. 

Treatment Options

When it comes to treating illness, there are a few things parents can do as a first line of defense option to helping their child recover:

  • Drink fluids, being hydrated is important and can help children (and adults, too) recover from their illness.
  • Infant/Children’s Tylenol is a great way to bring down your child’s fever. Be mindful of the dosage! The amount of Tylenol you can give to a child is based on weight. 
  • Humidifiers can help by keeping moisture in their air that your child is breathing. This will help keep their nasal passages from drying out as well, which will also help them breathe.
  • Nasal aspirators (or bulb syringes) can help suction any mucous out of your baby’s nose if they cannot use a tissue effectively. While it’s not a great long-term solution to their illness, it can help alleviate some short-term symptoms that can help your child get back to bed or feel more comfortable. 
  • Saline solutions are a great way to loosen up any mucous-causing congestion in their nasal passage. A few saline solution drops work well, and because it’s a simple solution, you don’t need to worry about dosage; it’s perfectly safe.
mother with son on lap in armchair
Being hydrated is important and can help recover from the illness. Photo by Tatiana Twinslol on Pexels.com

Having some safe treatment options available can help parents confidently care for their child. However, there are absolutely some things you should NOT do to treat your sick child:

  • DO NOT prop their mattress up at an incline for babies under the age of 6 months. The advice to help children sleep at an incline to alleviate congestion is not an altogether bad piece of advice, but it must be done safely. Infants under the age of 6 months don’t yet have the head stability or strength to correct their position if something were to go wrong, and this can lead to very serious suffocation risks. 
  • DO NOT give your baby cold medication under the age of two. While there are over-the-counter cold medications available, it is highly discouraged because it can be dangerous (Mayo Clinic 2019).
  • DO NOT give your child any antibiotics without having first checked with their doctor. Your child’s doctor will be able to prescribe a safe antibiotic for your child and provide the proper dosage that they need. 
  • DO NOT let the baby sleep in your bed. Cosleeping is already an altogether heated topic among parents. However, having your baby sleep in bed when they are sick and possibly medicated can create a dangerous sleeping environment for the baby. I know that your baby likely sleeps better when they are with you; you’re where they are most comfortable! But be mindful of keeping their sleep environment safe.

When To See a Doctor

While being able to treat an illness at home is a good thing, there is a point when you need to bring your child in to see the doctor. Recognizing when to keep your child home and when to bring them in for treatment can be a complicated threshold to gauge. Here are some red flags to look out for that mean it’s time to bring your child in to see the doctor:

  • A high fever, specifically one that is over the limit for their age, requires medical assistance. As a reminder, for babies under the age of 3 months, a fever over 100.4 requires medical assistance; babies and children ages 3 months to 3 years, a fever over 102.2 requires medical assistance. Don’t wait on something like this to see if the fever goes down; take them in for treatment.
  • When there is difficulty breathing, seek medical assistance immediately. Coughing is one thing, but gasping for air is another. You don’t want this to be left unchecked so if you do notice that your child is having difficulty breathing, gasping for air, or short of breath, take them in to see the doctor immediately.
  • If your child is having seizures, make sure they are in a safe position so they won’t harm themselves and call 9-1-1 or get help immediately. Seizures can be terrifying for both the parents and the child; don’t panic. You will want to make sure your child is on their side to prevent choking, make sure there are no objects around that could cause harm and do not open their mouth or put anything in their mouth. Seek medical assistance immediately (Jajou 2021). 
crop man putting medical mask on face of ethnic child
In some cases, you need to bring your child in to see the doctor. Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

Whether it is a fever, a cough, or something more serious, knowing how to help care for your sick child is something that every parent needs to know how to do. That said, if you are ever uncertain about if the symptoms your child is experiencing need medical treatment or not, air on the side of caution and take your child in to see a doctor — ease of mind matters for parents who are caring for their baby. You should always be confident in your parenting decision, especially when taking care of your sick baby. 

References:

Forster, E. (2020, May 27). How to Decode Your Baby’s Cough. Parents.

Mayo Clinic. (2019, May 21). Common cold in babies – Diagnosis and treatment – Mayo Clinic.

Jajou, J. (2021, April 9). What Are Infant Seizures? How Do I Know If My Baby Is Having One? HIE Help Center.

Normal Respiratory Rates in Children

Normal Respiratory Rates in Children

With the Covid-19 pandemic raging across the world, interest in respiratory diseases has skyrocketed — and understandably so. Parents everywhere are becoming increasingly interested in how their child’s respiratory system works and what warning signs to look for to keep serious illness at bay.

We will look at everything parents need to know, from how their child’s respiratory system works to monitoring their respiratory rate. We will also look at what some of the common respiratory disorders are and how we can help parents.

How does the respiratory system work?

The first thing we need to break down is how the respiratory system works. The respiratory system “is a series of organs responsible for taking in oxygen and expelling carbon dioxide. The primary organs of the respiratory system are the lungs, which carry out this exchange of gases as we breathe” (Zimmerman 2019).

The human respiratory system

The essential function of the respiratory system is to facilitate breathing. It’s a vital system that we all need to survive. 

How is a child’s respiratory system different from an adult’s? 

Since children are not fully developed yet, their respiratory system operates a little bit differently. There are four main developmental characteristics that make a child’s respiratory system different from a fully grown adult (University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health 2019):

  1. Their airways are smaller in diameter and shorter in length. Being physically smaller impacts the system as a whole because they don’t inhale as much oxygen as an adult
  2. Their tongue is proportionally larger. Since it is more prominent, their tongue-to-mouth size is not the same as an adult’s. A child’s tongue takes up more space within their mouth.
  3. Their larynx (voice box)  is located closer to the front of their mouth when compared to an adult.
  4. Their epiglottis (throat flap) is relatively long, floppy, and narrow.

That said, their respiratory system still works to provide oxygen to the body as its primary purpose.

The respiratory system will continue to grow with the child. By the age of 12, their system will function more like an adult, and their respiratory rate will be at an adult range. 

What is the average respiratory rate in children?

The average respiratory rate in a healthy adult is between 12-16 breaths per minute.

It is vital to track the respiratory rate because it can indicate serious medical problems. For example, suppose someone’s respiratory rate is below average; that can be a sign that there is a problem with the central nervous system. If the respiratory rate is above average, that can be a sign of another serious issue such as cardiac arrest. 

AgeRate (in breaths per minute)
Infant (birth to 1 year)30 to 60
Toddler (1 to 3 years)24 to 40
Preschooler (3 to 6 years)22 to 34
School-age (6 to 12 years)18 to 30
Adolescent (12 to 18 years)12 to 16
Normal respiratory rate

How do I check my child’s breathing?

To calculate the respiratory rate in children, parents can count how many breaths the individual takes in one minute. The person should be at rest, either sitting or lying down, and parents can set a timer and manually count how many times the child’s chest rises. Parents may opt to do this while their child is sleeping and in a more predictable state. 

young ethnic mother resting on bed near sleeping infant
Photo by William Fortunato on Pexels.com

Depending on the child, this can be a difficult thing for parents to assess. One other way to measure a child’s respiratory rate is to invest in a wearable monitor, specifically the LoveyQ monitor. This monitor is a device that is designed for infants and children that can track their respiratory rate. It can be work while the child is sleeping or awake. Since it is continuously monitoring vitals, it will have the ability to track breathing patterns over an extended period of time. Continuous monitoring will give parents more data to work with when assessing the health of their child. 

What are the signs of a Respiratory Disorder?

If your child is struggling to breathe, that can be indicative of a more significant problem. While some medical conditions are more severe than others, parents need to know the signs to help care for their child. Below is a list of the most common respiratory diseases in children (Howley 2020): 

How does LoveyQ help?

  • The common cold is an easily treatable upper respiratory infection. The illness often clears up on its own after a few days.
    • Symptoms: Runny nose, sore throat, coughing, sneezing, headache, and body aches.
    • Treatment: Children under the age of two should not take over-the-counter cold medication as it could lead to dangerous side effects. However, children over two can take cold medication at the instruction of the pediatrician. The dosage each child can take will vary based on age and weight, so be sure to check with your doctor.
  • Influenza, commonly referred to as “the flu,” is another common respiratory illness. Early symptoms are similar to a cold; however, the flu is a viral illness. The flu is a more severe illness in small children as it can cause their fever to spike dangerously high. 
    • Symptoms: Runny nose, sore throat, coughing, sneezing, headache, and body aches.
    • Treatment: Vaccines can help reduce the risk for influenza. While no medication can cure influenza, Tamiflu is an antiviral medication that shortens the virus’s duration. Reach out to your doctor about other treatment options.
  • Asthma is diagnosed in 8% of all US children. It is the third leading cause of hospitalization for kids under the age of 15. Depending on the severity, it can be a dangerous and potentially fatal respiratory disease. 
    • Symptoms: Coughing, pressure or tightness in the chest, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, wheezing or whistling when exhaling. 
    • Treatment: This requires medical attention as treatment options will vary by severity and age of the child. Inhalers are a common treatment option.
  • Sinusitis, sometimes referred to as a sinus infection, is an inflammation or swelling inside the sinuses. It is often triggered by allergies or is accompanied by another illness such as the cold or flu. 
    • Symptoms: Pain or pressure in the face, feeling stuffed up or congested, coughing, runny nose, post-nasal drip that can cause a sore throat.
    • Treatment: If a bacterial infection is found, your pediatrician will likely prescribe an antibiotic. Over the counter, decongestions may help to rescue swelling. Using a neti pot to irrigate the sinuses is also a good treatment option, although often difficult to use with small children.
baby lying down on hospital bed getting a check up
Photo by CDC on Pexels.com
  • Bronchitis is an inflammation of the bronchi, which are the large breathing tubes in the lungs. Like sinusitis, it is often accompanied by the cold or flu. It can linger after the illness has passed for three to four weeks. 
    • Symptoms: Runny nose, chest pain, congestion, fever and chills, fatigue, wheezing, sore throat. 
    • Treatment: Lots of water, cough medicine, and a humidifier are all things that can help ease the symptoms until it passes. As always, check with your doctor for other treatment options.
      
  • Croup is a virus that causes swelling in the trachea and larynx. It tends to impact younger children under the age of four and is often characterized by a harsh cough. 
    • Symptoms: Coughing, a husky-sounding voice, difficulty breathing.
    • Treatment: Over-the-counter anti-inflammatories may be prescribed. However, for severe cases, your pediatrician may advise your child to take steroids to reduce inflammation, making it easier for the child to breathe.
      
  • Pneumonia is a severe respiratory infection in the lungs. It can be dangerous in small children and accounts for 15% of all deaths in children under five years. Pneumonia is one of those illnesses that parents need to be vigilant about because it can escalate quickly.
    • Symptoms: Rapid breathing, high fevers, chills, coughing, fatigue, pain in the chest when breathing.
    • Treatment: Seek medical attention for all children immediately if you suspect your child has pneumonia. Your doctor may treat your child with antibiotics or antiviral medication. Having your child vaccinated against pneumonia before they become sick will help reduce their risk.

Keeping your child safe and healthy is what all loving parents want.

What makes LoveyQ so helpful to parents is that all the vital signs that LoveyQ can follow, including respiratory rate, are sent to their smartphone to access quickly. It takes the burden of monitoring off of parents. It helps reduce the likelihood that parents will miss an early warning sign. 

LoveyQ can do more than track a child’s respiratory rate. It can also track heart rate, temperature, and sleeping patterns. By putting all of these vital signs together, parents can get a comprehensive look at their child’s health. 

References:

  1. Zimmermann, K. A. (2019, August 23). Respiratory System: Our Avenue for Gas Exchange. Livescience.Com.
  2. University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. (2019, September 5). Pediatric Airway. Department of Pediatrics.
  3. Lockett, M. E. S. (2019, March 14). What Is a Normal Respiratory Rate for Kids and Adults? Healthline.
  4. Howley, E. (2020, January 9). 7 common childhood respiratory diseases. Children’s Health Orange County.

Sleep and baby’s health

Sleep and baby’s health

tiny feet
Photo by Kristina Paukshtite on Pexels.com

What Is Normal Baby Sleep?

Assessing what is “normal” sleep can be really difficult for parents to determine. There are so many factors involved with what is considered normal. However, the Sleep Foundation lays out  some general guidelines that parents can find helpful (Suni 2020):

  • Newborns: From 0-3 months newborns sleep in 3-4 hour chunks of time throughout the day and night. It’s why parents of newborns have a difficult time determining what is and is not normal for newborn sleep — they have not yet consolidated their day/night sleep schedule. While normal, it is hard to keep up with which is why parents of newborns need all the support they can get
  • 4-6 Months: Babies at this stage begin to consolidate their nighttime sleep and wake up less frequently at night. They will still take 2-3 daytime napes and need 1-2 nighttime feedings.
  • 6-12 Months: Parents will notice that their baby will wake up less frequently at night for feedings and as they become more active during the day. Naps may from 2-3 to 1-2 daytime naps.
  • 1-2 Years: Expect the early toddlers to need between 11-14 hours of total sleep. By this age they generally have 1 nap during the day.
  • 3-5 Years: Young kids need 10-13 hours of total sleep and may still need 1 daytime nap. If your child no longer needs a daytime nap, it is still encouraged for them to have some quiet time during the day.
  • 6-13 Years: Kids and preteens need 9-11 hours of sleep and have outgrown the need for daytime naps. That said, it is still recommended they get some quiet time during the day so as to not overexert themselves.
Sleep is important

Why Is Sleep Important?

Sleep is critical to the well being of babies and children — and adults would also make the case that sleep is important for them as well. What makes it especially important for babies and children is that they are undergoing significant developmental milestones that are fostered by proper sleep. Sleep impacts three major factors in infant development (Bluebell 2019):

  1. Growth: Babies experience their growth spurts during their sleep cycles so frequent interruptions to normal sleep patterns will impact a baby’s growth and weight gain.
  2. Memory and Learning: There is a significant correlation to normal sleep patterns and positive developmental growth. A baby’s brain will double in size in the first year alone so it’s important for their learning development to be accompanied with proper sleep
  3. Immune System: At any age, sleep is important for one’s immune system. However, it is especially critical in babies because their immune system is not yet fully developed. Since they are less equipped to fight off illness, it’s important for their immune system to have every chance at success to develop. For this to happen, babies need to get their sleep.

Sleep Disorders In Babies

There are a few important sleep disorders to be aware of with infants.

  • Colic: When a baby cries for more than 3 hours a day, for 3 days a week, for at least one week, your baby may have colic. When you baby is crying inconsolably for no obvious reason that is an indicator of colic. Talk to your doctor to find resources and support for dealing with a  colicky baby. 
  • Sleep Apnoea: While prevalent mostly in babies born premature, being aware of sleep apnoea is infants of any age is important. When airway abnormalities prevent a sleeping baby from breaking properly they will wake up frequently. Indicators of sleep apnea in babies include
    • Regular patterns of low oxygen or a slow heartbeat
    • Pauses in breathing that last for more than 20 seconds
    • Patterns of repeated breathing pauses
  • Abnormal Reflux: Reflux is a common occurrence in babies, it happens when the baby spits up the milk/formula they just finished. Abnormal reflux is when you find that your baby spits up a significant volume of their milk/formula, coughing or hiccuping repeatedly after feedings, gulping after feedings, or being unsettled after feedings. 
  • Illness: When your baby has a fever, it is not uncommon for your baby to have a poor night’s sleep while sick. If it’s an isolated illness, don’t stress out. However, if it happens frequently contact your doctor to see if there are any other underlying causes. 

What Parents Can Do

According to the National Childbirth Trust, around 20% of babies in the UK have difficulties sleeping (Semple 2008). Meaning that if you and your baby are struggling to get adequate sleep, you are not alone. There are things you can do to help with the problem.

The first thing you will need to do is invest in a LoveyQ sleep monitor. This Device is a wearable sleep monitor that allows parents to track the sleep patterns of their baby. Some doctors will ask parents who suspect there is a sleeping problem, to write down their baby’s sleep times.

However, parents in the middle of sleeping problems with their baby will find that this can be difficult to track when the parents themselves are also not getting enough sleep. What’s great about the LoveyQ sleep monitor is that it will track the sleep data for parents and store that data so parents can access it from their mobile device. This allows them to see long-term patterns of sleep habits. 

The device is also especially useful because it tracks more than sleep habits. This monitor can also track heart rate, and temperature. These are all critical pieces of information for parents to track when diagnosing sleep problems in their child. 

References:

Suni, E. (2020, September 24). How Much Sleep Do Babies and Kids Need? Sleep Foundation.

Bluebell. (2019, January 14). The importance of sleep in your baby’s first year. Bluebell.Io.

It’s not a fever, it’s too low!

It’s not a fever, it’s too low!

For parents who live in cold-weather regions, the risk of hypothermia is real. Environmental factors can make you and your child’s risk for hypothermia increase significantly. The best way to combat the risk of hypothermia is to get informed about what hypothermia is, how to treat it, and how you can prevent hypothermia from happening to your child. 

woman in red knitted cap and black top holding baby with brown carrier
Photo by Josh Willink on Pexels.com

What Is Hypothermia?

Hypothermia is a very serious medical emergency that happens when your body loses heat faster than it produces heat (Mayo Clinic). When your body loses heat too quickly it can cause problems that need to be addressed immediately. Your nervous system doesn’t function properly, organs begin to shut down, your respiratory system and heart will slow down as well. If left untreated, hypothermia can cause frostbite. This occurs when tissues in the body have completely died and lose functionality. In extreme cases, hypothermia can lead to death

What Are The Signs Of Hypothermia?

The good news is that hypothermia is easily treatable and there are early warning signs. These signs include:

  • Shivering
  • Slurred speech or muttering
  • Slow breathing
  • Lowered pulse
  • Clumsiness or lack of coordination
  • Drowsiness or low energy
  • Confusion or memory loss
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Bright red, cold skin (in infants)

Since hypothermia happens gradually, people are often unaware they are experiencing hypothermia. It’s important for people to be aware of the early warning signs to prevent a medical emergency.

What Causes Hypothermia?

Hypothermia is often caused by exposure to a cold environment. A cold environment can be made dangerous with additional environmental factors such as a cold wind or being wet. These can dramatically change a person’s ability to withstand the cold weather and, if left unchecked, can lead to hypothermia.

empty road between trees and snowy hills in winter
Photo by Finn Pietsch on Pexels.com

How To Treat Hypothermia

If hypothermia symptoms are mild, treatment is fairly easy to implement. The first step is to always relocate the person to a warmer location. Once that is done, things like removing any cold, wet clothing and replacing them with dry, warm layers can help a lot. Other treatment options include drinking a hot beverage and using blankets. However, if the onset of hypothermia has become severe, seek medical attention immediately.

What Parents Need To Know About Hypothermia

Some cold environmental factors parents often don’t think about is how cold a baby or child’s room is, how cold a car is in the winter, and outside play in the cold weather. These are common environments that can lead to hypothermia if left unchecked. Babies and children lose heat more quickly than adults do, so being attentive to their environment is critical to preventing hypothermia. The smaller the child, the more quickly hypothermia has the potential to take effect.

What Can Parents Do?

Hypothermia can lead to more serious health problems in babies and small children so it is critical that parents be mindful of their child’s environment and their clothing. The general rule of thumb for dressing a child is to wear one additional layer to whatever an adult would comfortably wear. For example, if the weather requires an adult to simply wear a jacket to be comfortable, the child will need a sweater and a jacket to be comfortable outside. In addition to wearing warm layers, parents need to also pay attention to the early warning signs of hypothermia and get their child to a warmer location when needed.

baby s red jacket
Photo by Tetyana Kovyrina on Pexels.com

Creating a safe, warm sleeping environment can be a little more challenging. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends keeping blankets and other loose items out of the crib until at least 12 months of age. This means parents need to use warm sleepwear and keep the room at a constant temperature to keep their sleep environment safe and comfortable.

Being Proactive About Hypothermia

For the parents who are concerned about hypothermia in children, the recommendation is to monitor the child’s temperature regularly. This can be done easily with a LoveyQ wearable baby monitor. This wearable monitor lets parents know what the temperature of their child is and alerts parents if there are concerns. This can help parents to prevent the onset of hypothermia when it becomes difficult to gauge how cold the child is. Whether the child is sleeping or playing outside the monitor can give valuable insight into the overall health and well being of the child. It can even alert parents to problems before the symptoms begin which is the key to prevention in hypothermia. 

References:

Hypothermia – Diagnosis and treatment – Mayo Clinic. (2020, April 18). Mayo Clinic.

Christiano, D. (2020, November 6). Identifying and Treating a Low Body Temperature in Babies. Healthline: Parenthood.

American Academy of Pediatrics. (2021). Safe Sleep: Recommendations.