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Life & Health. News and information to advance your health and well-being.
February 2018
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Parents Need to Know is a newsletter written by Craig Collison, MD, pediatrician with Mount Nittany Physician Group.
Teen vaping: What to know about the JUUL trend

While e-cigarettes are being used as a safer substitute for cigarettes, safer is not the same as safe. JUUL is an e-cigarette that is easy to hide in your hand and looks like a flash drive, making it almost impossible for teachers or parents to spot. One reason JUUL and other vape pens are so popular among teens is that the devices can be used indoors without attracting unwanted attention or creating a stench.

Children and teens can be enticed by flavors such as crème brulee, cool mint, or fruit medley. Most e-cigarettes can contain harmful substances such as nicotine, heavy metals and cancer-causing chemicals. Along with these harmful substances, cases have shown that defective e-cigarette batteries have caused fires and explosions, and acute nicotine exposure can be toxic to both children and adults. Even a small amount of liquid nicotine on your child’s skin can cause irritation and a burning sensation.

In comparison to cigarettes, one cartridge for a JUUL - known as a JUULpod - is equal to about one pack of cigarettes or 200 puffs. Most researchers say the most worrying aspect is nicotine, which is damaging to brain development.

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Why does the flu make kids so sick?

It’s hard to turn on the news or look at social media without seeing another segment or article about this year’s flu season. Children, especially those under 5 years of age, are at higher risk of getting the flu. Here’s why:

  • Children in this age category spend a good amount of time at daycares or schools. Viruses can spread quickly in these types of environments because children that age might not fully understand and not practice proper hygiene when they cough and/or sneeze.  
  • They also have weaker immune systems. Your child’s immune system doesn’t fully mature until his or her teen years.
  • It’s hard for children to communicate how they feel or even recognize what’s wrong when they first experience symptoms. It’s up to the parent or caregiver to recognize when a child may be acting out of character.

Because of the higher risk associated with this age group, if your child isn’t properly diagnosed, the flu could potentially lead to complications such as pneumonia.

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Join us for a free community event about allergy drops

Join Michael Freiman, MD, FAAOA, Mount Nittany Physician Group Ear, Nose & Throat, on Wednesday, March 28, for a free community education event to learn about an allergy drop treatment that is available as an alternative to allergy shots.

Galen and Nancy Dreibelbis Auditorium
Mount Nittany Medial Center
1800 East Park Avenue
State College, PA 16803

Benefits include:

  • Safe and effective options for children and adults
  • Treats the underlying issue, not just the symptoms, by building a resistance to allergens
  • Patients can take drops anywhere
  • Lower cost compared with some other allergy medications/shots
  • Fewer missed days at work/school due to office visits for treatments or symptoms

Presentation starts at 6:30 pm. Pre-registration is required by calling 814.234.6727.

Five tips to keep your child’s heart healthy

It’s never too early to help your child develop healthy habits. Here are five tips to keep your child’s heart healthy:

  1. Eat the rainbow by eating five servings of fruit and vegetables each day. Also, limit fast food or eating out.
  2. Get moving as a family. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends 60 minutes of play for kids each day. Use this as a family bonding opportunity and go for a walk or bike ride. Other ideas to get moving are playing tag or building an obstacle course in the back yard.
  3. Limit screen time. TV, video games, and computer use should be limited to two hours of screen time per day.
  4. Avoid exposure to smoking/tobacco products. If you smoke, your child is likely breathing in secondhand smoke. He or she is also likely to try cigarettes or other tobacco products.
  5. Don’t forget to laugh! Laughing may prevent a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems by improving the function of blood vessels and increasing blood flow. It relaxes the entire body and relieves physical tension and stress for up to 45 minutes after your first laugh.
Recent product recalls

Here are recent product recalls announced by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). For the most up-to-date recall information, please visit and click on the Recalls tab from the home page.


Name of product: Well at Walgreens pain and itch relief cream

Hazard: The packaging is not child resistant as required by the Poison Prevention Packaging Act. The pain and itch relief cream contains lidocaine, posing a risk of poisoning to young children.

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