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Parents Need to Know is a newsletter written by Craig Collison, MD, pediatrician with Mount Nittany Physician Group.
About the author
 
 
 
 
   
 
 
Craig Collison, MD, pediatrics, Mount Nittany Physician Group
 

Craig Collison, MD, grew up in State College. He graduated from the State College Area High School and received his Bachelor's degree in Engineering Science and Mechanics at The Pennsylvania State University.

He went on to medical school, graduating from The Bowman Gray School of Medicine of Wake Forest University. He then went to Case Western Reserve University, where he completed his general pediatrics residency program at Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, part of University Hospitals of Cleveland.

 
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Adolescents more sensitive to concussions
 
 
 
 
   
 
 

Concussions have become a hot topic of research over the past few years as more and more kids and adolescents are having concussions as a result of playing sports. I have certainly seen it in our practice as more head injuries are being classified as concussions. All the schools in the Centre Region now have protocols in place for dealing with the acute concussion injury as well as safe return to sports as their symptoms improve. Student athletes undergo neuropsychologic testing prior to play to give trainers and physicians a baseline that can then be tested against. There are still many questions that remain. How many concussions are too many? Is every head injury a concussion? Should all athletes wear protective headgear? Fortunately, much research in this area is ongoing as we try to learn the best strategies for protecting our student-athletes.

 
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Exposure to sunlight may reduce risk of allergies and eczema in children
 
 
 
 
   
 
 

We live here in Central Pennsylvania, one of the cloudiest places in the United States, and we have significant issues here with allergies and eczema, so this article was especially intriguing to me. It frequently happens that people who move here seem to develop new allergies and skin issues as compared to people living in the south. I had always figured that it was related to the many environmental allergens that are part of our region, but maybe there is more to it? Could this be another cause for vitamin D supplementation? It will be interesting to see where this research goes. It could be another good reason to make that mid-winter getaway to a sunnier location.

 
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That nagging cold: some easy-to-follow advice
 
 
 
 
   
 
 

Are cold symptoms - even that nagging spring cold - making you feel miserable? Here are 11 cold remedies you can use right now - at home - to feel better. Not all these remedies are great for kids - but they could certainly make adults and older kids feel some relief.

Cold Remedy #1: Drink plenty of fluids to help break up your congestion. Drinking water or juice will prevent dehydration and keep your throat moist. You should drink at least 8 to 10 eight-ounce glasses of water daily. Include fluids such as water, sports drinks, herbal teas, fruit drinks, or ginger ale. Your mother's chicken soup might help, too! Avoid cola, coffee, and other drinks with caffeine because it acts like a diuretic and may dehydrate you.

Cold Remedy #2: Inhale steam to ease your congestion and drippy nose. Hold your head over a pot of boiling water and breathe through your nose. Be careful. If the steam burns your nose, breathe in more slowly. You can buy a humidifier, but the steam will be the same as the water on the stove. Moisture from a hot shower with the door closed, saline nasal spray, or a room humidifier is just as helpful to ease congestion.

Cold Remedy #3: Blow your nose often, but do it the proper way. It's important to blow your nose regularly when you have a cold rather than sniffling mucus back into your head. But when you blow hard, pressure can carry germ-carrying phlegm back into your ear passages, causing earache. The best way to blow your nose is to press a finger over one nostril while you blow gently to clear the other.

Cold Remedy #4: Use saline or salt water rinse to irrigate your nose. Salt-water rinsing helps break nasal congestion while also removing virus particles and bacteria from your nose. Here's a popular DIY recipe:

 
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Ask the pediatrician
 
 
 
 
   
 
 

Dear Dr. C.,

Will drinking caffeine hurt my breastfed baby?

I get asked this question a lot. Can I drink caffeine? How much is too much and will it affect my baby? These are very understandable questions from moms who are not getting enough sleep and are looking for some help to get through their day. Based on this article, it looks like caffeine should be avoided. I always have tried to recommend against it as I have seen how caffeine can make breastfed infants irritable and throw off their normal sleeping patterns (if they have one).

It is somewhat ironic that we actually prescribe caffeine for premature infants in some circumstances. These premature babies can have periods of apnea where they forget to breathe. The caffeine stimulates them enough to stay alert and keep breathing, which we all know is very important.

 
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Current child-related recalls from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
 
 
 
 
   
 
 

Name of product: Tumblekins Toys

Hazard: The toys can break into small pieces with sharp points, posing choking and laceration hazards to children.

Incidents/injuries: The firm has received one report of a toy breaking into small pieces. No injuries have been reported.

Description: This recall involves all Tumblekins toy vehicles and play sets, including the farm play set, fire station, police car, roadster, off-roader, fire truck and school bus. The toys are wooden, painted in bright colors. The toys range from 6 to 12 inches long and 4 to 9 1/2 inches tall. "Tumblekins," "Made in China" and manufacturing code 171111461502 or 346101461502 are printed on the toys. The item number and the UPC are printed on the toy's packaging. For the list of specific item numbers and UPCs, visit http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml12/12111.html

Sold by: Juvenile product stores, mass merchandisers and other stores nationwide and on various websites from March 2011 through December 2011.

Manufactured in: China

Remedy: Consumer should take the recalled toys away from children immediately and contact International Playthings to recieve a free replacement toy.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact International Playthings at 800.445.8347 between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm ET Monday-Friday, or email the firm at recall@intplay.com

 
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