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Tips of the Week for May, 2013

Tornado Disaster Fact Sheet
05-27-2013

What is a Tornado?

A tornado is a violently rotating column of air extending from a thunderstorm to the ground. The most violent tornadoes have rotating winds of 250 miles per hour or more. They are capable of causing extreme destruction, including uprooting trees and well made structures, and turning normally harmless objects in deadly missiles. Most tornadoes are just a few dozen yards wide and only briefly touch down.

Why talk about Tornadoes?

Tornadoes have been reported in every state, and though they generally occur during spring and summer, they can happen any time of the day or night, they are most likely to occur between 3:00 and 9:00 p.m.

There are no areas immune to tornadoes; they have been reported in mountains and valleys, over deserts and swamps, from the Gulf Coast into Canada, in Hawaii and even Alaska.

Regardless of the location or time of year, if conditions are right, a tornado can happen.

What can I do to prepare for a Tornado? 

In addition to completing the 4 Steps to Safety, do the following:

  • Use a NOAA Weather Radio with a tone-alert feature, or a portable, battery-powered radio (or television) for updated emergency information of watches and warnings issued in your area.
  • If planning a trip or extended period of time outdoors, listen to the latest forecasts and take necessary action if threatening weather is possible.

Watch for tornado danger signs:

Dark, often greenish sky a phenomenon caused by hail indicating a tornado may develop. Wall cloud, an isolated lowering of the base of a thunderstorm. Large hail. Tornadoes are spawned from powerful thunderstorms and the most powerful thunderstorms produce large hail. Cloud of debris, funnel cloud, roaring noise. Get training – take a first aid class from your local Red Cross chapter.

What to do during a Tornado Watch

Listen continuously to a NOAA Weather Radio, or a portable battery-powered radio (or television) for updated emergency information. Everyone in a WATCH area should be ready torespond and act quickly. Be alert to changing weather conditions.

What to do during a Tornado Warning

  • Listen continuously to a NOAA Weather Radio, or a portable battery-powered radio (or television) for updated emergency information.
  • If you are inside, go to your safe place to protect
    yourself from glass and other flying debris. Stay away from windows.
  • If you’re outside in a car or in a mobile home, go immediately to the basement of a nearby sturdy building. If there is no building nearby, lie flat in a low spot.
  • Use your arms and hands to protect your head.
  • Avoid places with wide-span roofs, such as auditoriums, cafeterias, large hallways, or shopping malls.

What to do after a Tornado

  • Continue listening to local radio or television stations
    or a NOAA Weather Radio for updated information and instructions.
  • Protect yourself from further danger by putting on long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, sturdy shoes, and work gloves.
  • Help neighbors who may require special assistance.
  • Avoid loose or dangling power lines and report them to the power company, police or fire department.
  • Stay out of damaged buildings.
  • Use the telephone for emergency calls only.

 

Last Updated 5/11/2013

Source

Family Readiness Kit: Preparing to Handle Disasters, 2nd Edition

The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances

 

Provided by www.healthychildren.org

 

 


A Lesson in Dog Safety Can Help Prevent Bites
05-20-2013

Every year, more than 4.7 million Americans are bitten by dogs, with more than half of all victims younger than age 14.

During National Dog Bite Prevention Week, the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Veterinary Medical Association and the US Postal Service team up to educate Americans about dog safety.

Following are tips to help parents protect their children from an encounter with canine teeth:

  • Pick a good match. Talk to your veterinarian about choosing a dog that will fit in well with your family. 
  • Socialize your pet. Gradually expose your puppy to a variety of people and other animals so it feels at ease in these situations; continue this exposure as your dog gets older.
  • Train your dog. Commands can build a bond of obedience and trust between man and beast. Avoid aggressive games like wrestling or tug-of-war with your dog.
  • Vaccinate your dog against rabies and other diseases.
  • Neuter your dog. Neutered dogs are less likely to bite.
  • Never leave a baby or small child alone with a dog.
  • Teach your child to see if the dog is with an owner and looks friendly. Then ask the owner for permission to pet the dog. Let the dog sniff your child and have your child touch the dog gently, avoiding the face, head and tail.
  • Tell your child not to bother a dog if it is sleeping, eating or caring for puppies.
  • Tell your child not to run past a dog.
  • If you're threatened by a dog, remain calm. Avoid eye contact. Stand still until the dog leaves or back away slowly. If you are knocked down, curl into a ball and protect your face with your hands. If a dog bites your child, clean small wounds with soap and water and seek medical attention for larger wounds. Contact the dog's veterinarian to check vaccination records.

For more information:

 

Provided by www.healthychildren.org

 

 


Purpose of Newborn Hearing Screening
05-13-2013

Before you bring your newborn home from the hospital, your baby needs to have a hearing screening.

Although most babies can hear normally, 1 to 3 of every 1,000 babies are born with some degree of hearing loss. Without newborn hearing screening, it is difficult to detect hearing loss in the first months and years of your baby's life. About half of the children with hearing loss have no risk factors for it.

Newborn hearing screening can detect possible hearing loss in the first days of a baby's life. If a possible hearing loss is found, further tests will be done to confirm the results. When hearing loss is confirmed, treatment and early intervention should start as soon as possible. Early intervention refers to programs and services available to babies and their families that help with hearing loss and learning important communication skills.

That is why the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that all babies receive newborn hearing screening before they go home from the hospital.

Why do newborns need hearing screening?

Babies learn from the time they are born. One of the ways they learn is through hearing. If they have problems with hearing and do not receive the right treatment and early intervention services, babies will have trouble with speech and language development.

For some babies, early intervention services may include the use of sign language and/or hearing aids. Studies show that children with hearing loss who receive appropriate early intervention services by age 6 months usually develop good language and learning skills.

Some parents think they would be able to tell if their baby could not hear. This is not always the case. Babies may respond to noise by startling or turning their heads toward the sound. This does not mean they have normal hearing. Most babies with hearing loss can hear some sounds but still not hear enough to develop full speaking ability.

Timing is everything. Your baby will have the best chance for normal language development if any hearing loss is discovered and treatment begins by the age of 6 months—and the earlier, the better.

How is newborn hearing screening done?

There are 2 screening tests that may be used:

  • Automated Auditory Brainstem Response (AABR)—This test measures how the hearing nerve responds to sound. Clicks or tones are played through soft earphones into the baby's ears. Three electrodes placed on the baby's head measure the hearing nerve's response.
  • Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE)—This test measures sound waves produced in the inner ear. A tiny probe is placed just inside the baby's ear canal. It measures the response (echo) when clicks or tones are played into the baby's ears.

Both tests are quick (about 5 to 10 minutes), painless, and may be done while your baby is sleeping or lying still. One or both tests may be used.

What if my baby does not pass the hearing screening?

If your baby does not pass the hearing screening at birth, it does not necessarily mean that your baby has hearing loss. In fact, most babies who do not pass the screening test have normal hearing. But to be sure, it is extremely important to have further testing. This should include a more thorough hearing evaluation and a medical evaluation. These tests should be done as soon as possible, but definitely before your baby is 3 months old. These tests can confirm whether hearing is normal or not. Be sure to talk with your child's doctor about scheduling further testing.

If hearing loss is found, what can be done?

This depends on the type of hearing loss that your baby has. Every baby with hearing loss should be seen by a hearing specialist (audiologist) experienced in testing babies, a pediatric ear/nose/throat doctor (otolaryngologist), and a pediatric eye doctor (ophthalmologist). Some children with hearing loss can also have problems with their vision. Many children are also seen by a geneticist to determine if there is a hereditary cause of hearing loss.

Special hearing tests can be performed by the audiologist who, together with the otolaryngologist, can tell you the degree of hearing loss and what can be done to help.

If the hearing loss is permanent, hearing aids and speech and language services may be recommended for your baby. Occasionally, surgical procedures may be helpful for hearing loss. You will be informed of choices for communicating with your baby including total communication, oral communication, cued speech, and American Sign Language.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires that free early intervention programs be offered to babies and children with hearing loss, beginning at the time the child's hearing loss is identified.

The outlook is good for children with hearing loss who begin an early intervention program before the age of 6 months. Research shows these children usually develop language skills on a par with those of their hearing peers.

Additional Resources:

 

Last Updated  1/11/2013

Source

Newborn Hearing Screening and Your Baby (Copyright © 2010 American Academy of Pediatrics, Updated 10/2012)

 

The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.

 

Provided by www.healthychildren.org

 


Mental Health and Teens: Watch for Danger Signs
05-06-2013

Adolescence isn’t an easy time for parents, either. As children move through the various tumultuous transitions that accompany adolescence — physical, emotional, hormonal, sexual, social, intellectual — the pressures and problems they encounter can all too easily seem overwhelming. For many teenagers, these and other pressures can lead to one or more of a variety of mental health disorders; all are matters of concern, and some are life-threatening. A few key tips for parents are listed below:

Communication That’s Constant, Open, and Honest

Your children should not only know that they can talk to you about anything, you have to be committed to broaching topics of concern and do so openly. Talk about your own experiences and fears when you were an adolescent. Let them know that they are not alone; nor are their anxieties unique.

Understand That Mental Health Disorders Are Treatable

Arm yourself with information about the most common mental health disorders among adolescents; speak with your child’s pediatrician, your local health department, your religious leader, and your child’s school representatives about what sorts of information are available from them.

Be Attentive To Your Adolescent Child’s Behavior

Adolescence is, indeed, a time of transition and change, but severe, dramatic, or abrupt changes in behavior can be strong indicators of serious mental health issues.

Among the mental health “red flags” you should be alert for are:

  • Excessive sleeping, beyond usual teenage fatigue, which could indicate depression or substance abuse; difficulty in sleeping, insomnia, and other sleep disorders
  • Loss of self-esteem
  • Abandonment or loss of interest in favorite pastimes
  • Unexpected and dramatic decline in academic performance
  • Weight loss and loss of appetite, which could indicate an eating disorder
  • Personality shifts and changes, such as aggressiveness and excess anger that are sharply out of character and could indicate psychological, drug, or sexual problems

Some of the key mental health issues to be aware of are:

Depression

While all of us are subject to “the blues,” clinical depression is a serious medical condition requiring immediate treatment. Watch for:

  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Unexpected weeping or excessive moodiness
  • Eating habits that result in noticeable weight loss or gain
  • Expressions of hopelessness or worthlessness
  • Paranoia and excessive secrecy
  • Self-mutilation, or mention of hurting himself or herself
  • Obsessive body-image concerns
  • Excessive isolation
  • Abandonment of friends and social groups

Eating Disorders

Body image concerns can become obsessions, resulting in startling weight loss, severely affecting the adolescent’s health:

  • Anorexia: Avoidance of food and noticeable changes in eating habits should trigger concern.
  • Bulimia: Purging (forced vomiting) after eating — be alert for both dramatic weight loss without changes in eating habits (which could, of course, indicate other health issues that require a doctor’s attention) and also for immediate trips to the bathroom or other private spot after a meal.

Drug Abuse

In addition to peer pressure, mental health issues can lead adolescents not just to experiment with alcohol and drugs, but also to use substances for “self-medication.” And in addition to being aware of the behavioral and physical signs of alcohol and drug abuse — drug and alcohol paraphernalia or evidence, hangovers, slurred speech, etc. — parents should also:

  • Be alert for prescription drug misuse and abuse: According to the AAP, prescription drug misuse by adolescents is second only to marijuana and alcohol misuse. The most commonly abused prescription drugs include Vicodin and Xanax.
  • Know that over-the-counter-medications can be abused as well: Teenagers also frequently abuse OTC cough and cold medications.

Concern about your adolescent’s mental health should first be addressed with your child — fostering open communication goes a long way toward fostering sound adolescent mental health habits.

If your concerns are serious, discuss them with your pediatrician. Because so many mental health issues display physical manifestations — weight loss being the most dramatic but not the only one — your pediatrician can offer both initial medical assessment and also refer you to appropriate mental health organizations and professionals for counseling and treatment if called for.

 

Last Updated

7/30/2012

Source

Adapted from Healthy Children Magazine, Winter 2007

The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.

 

Provided by Healthy Children.org.  Please go to www.healthychildren.org for additional information.


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