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Parents Need to Know is a newsletter written by Craig Collison, MD, pediatrician with Mount Nittany Physician Group.
Flu update

We are having an epidemic year with influenza. Below is the latest update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If you have access to flu shots, they are still recommended to try to protect our kids from this flu.

Flu can be serious

Influenza, commonly called the "flu," is a contagious viral infection that affects the respiratory system — your nose, throat and lungs. Symptoms of the flu can include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people may also have vomiting and diarrhea.

Influenza is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Every flu season is different, and influenza infection can affect people differently. CDC estimates that from the 1976-1977 flu season to the 2006-2007 season, flu-associated deaths each season ranged from a low of about 3,000 people to a high of about 49,000 people.

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Immediate consequences of childhood obesity

Obesity has become such a prevalent problem for children in the United States. The numbers are staggering: 20-30 percent of our children are considered obese. Recent statistics show that one-quarter to one-third of children in Centre County are considered obese.

A new study, completed by researchers at UCLA, aims to find out the short-term implications of childhood obesity – a shift from research done regarding the long-term health consequences of childhood obesity on adult conditions.

Researchers report that “…obese children were more likely than those who were classified as not overweight to have reported poorer health; more disability; a greater tendency toward emotional and behavioral problems; higher rates of grade repetition, missed school days, and other school problems; ADHD; conduct disorder; depression; learning disabilities; developmental delays; bone, joint and muscle problems; asthma; allergies; headaches; and ear infections.”

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Metal water bottles and your kids’ safety

We keep hearing about health dangers associated with everyday household items. Here is another one to keep in mind:

It seems that those popular metal water bottles are sending kids to the emergency room because their little tongues are getting stuck in the small opening at the top.

NBC News reported recently that doctors are seeing more of these cases – and that the cases have been serious. So serious, they reported, that one company has stopped selling the bottles.

What happens is that when a child sticks his tongue in the small bottle opening, it can create a sort of suction, getting the tongue trapped and causing quick swelling that prevents the child from removing his tongue from the bottle. The screw-type threads at the bottle’s opening can increase this suction, making it impossible for the child to extract his tongue without help.

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Winter tips

What is winter skin?

  • Dry, cracked, irritated skin due to the extremes in temperature—very cold outside and warm and dry inside. 
  • Parents can protect their children’s skin by:
    • Moisturizing the skin. Dermatologists tend to recommend the ointment type, which is rather greasy. But, putting this on before bed presents less of a problem. Always apply after bathing, within three minutes of getting out of the water, to retain moisture within three minutes of getting out of the water (The “three minute rule”).
    • Staying hydrated—eating water-rich foods like fruits and veggies, and also drinking water, helps with winter dryness.
    • Using humidifiers—especially in the bedroom.

Kids often get sick in the winter—is there anything to prevent that?

  • Remind children to not touch their eyes, nose and mouth!
  • Hand washing is huge. When not able to wash with soap and water, use alcohol-based hand sanitizers with moisturizers (to reduce dry skin).
  • Also, teach children to cough and sneeze “into their sleeve” and use tissues, of course!
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What you should know about RSV
George McCormick, MD, pediatrics, Mount Nittany Physician Group

George McCormick, MD, pediatrics, Mount Nittany Physician Group, was on WJAC-TV talking about respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) - an illness that affects infants. View the segment.



Take part in a community health needs assessment

Mount Nittany Medical Center is currently conducting a comprehensive Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) in part for Internal Revenue Service reporting purposes, but also to support Mount Nittany Health's strategic priority of localizing healthcare for our community - an essential part of our vision of becoming the most trusted healthcare provider in Central Pennsylvania.

An integral part of Mount Nittany Medical Center’s CHNA is a health needs survey, created to capture important information about needs and gaps and where they exist in our community.  Please take a few minutes to complete this important health needs survey and share it with anyone you know who lives in Central Pennsylvania. All responses are anonymous and the survey only takes a few minutes to complete.

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Fisher-Price product recall

Below is a recent product recall announced by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission. For the most up-to-date recall information, please visit and click on the Recalls tab from the home page.

This is reprinted from the Associated Press website:

Fisher-Price recalls 800,000 baby sleepers for possible mold

The government is warning consumers to inspect Fisher-Price Newborn Rock 'N Play Sleepers due to risk of exposure to mold for infants who use them.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission announced Tuesday a voluntary recall of 800,000 infant recliner seats, called sleepers, that were sold at stores nationwide and online since September 2009, with prices ranging between $50 and $85. The seats, designed for babies up to 25 pounds, feature a soft plastic seat held in a tubular metal rocking frame. The product has a removable fabric cover.

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