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Parents Need to Know is a newsletter written by Craig Collison, MD, pediatrician with Mount Nittany Physician Group.
Enterovirus D68: what you need to know and recent developments

Enterovirus D68 was first identified in California in 1962, but has seldom been reported in the United States over the last 40 years. However, within the last few weeks, hospitals in the Midwest and several southern states have reported a surge in patients, mostly children and young adults, with respiratory illness associated with this particular virus. The spectrum of illness has ranged from mild to severe, and those with underlying health conditions of the lungs or heart – asthma, for example – have required hospitalization.

While more than 100 strains of Enterovirus have been identified, there is still a lot that is unknown about the D68 strain. It is believed that Enterovirus D68 is transmitted person-to-person, such as when an infected individual coughs or sneezes.

Similar to other viral infections, like the common cold or flu, hand hygiene is key to preventing infection. In addition, do not touch the eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands; cough or sneeze into a tissue or the crook of the arm; and stay home when feeling sick.

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Marijuana: how should you talk to your kids?

With states like Colorado and Washington legalizing the use of marijuana for adults aged 21 and older, the use of the drug has seemingly become socially accepted. However, the health risks associated with marijuana use have not gone away. So how should you address this controversial topic with your kids? 

The best advice is to keep an open form of communication with your kids. Allow your kids to ask questions they may have. This will also give you an opportunity to ask their opinion on the subject.

Be sure to state all health risks associated with smoking marijuana. Along with addiction, other risks and side effects include:

  • Mental and physical impairment
  • Heart and lung damage
  • Emotional side effects such as anxiety and depression can occur with long-term use
  • Reduced performance in school and other activities
  • May lead to the use of other illegal drugs
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Keeping kids active in colder weather
  Kids_Play Outside  

It’s the time of year when the leaves begin to change, the temperature cools and the days get shorter. Kids are back to school and the Fall season is officially here, but one thing you shouldn’t let fall is your exercise routine.

In recognition of National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, the following suggestions can help keep you and your kids active through the cold weather season.

  • Have a dance party! Turn up the tunes and bust out your favorite moves.
  • Play interactive video games that allow for players to move and jump around.
  • Sign up for inside activities such as martial arts or indoor swimming lessons at the local YMCA or youth center.
  • Train as a family for a winter 5K, such as a Turkey Trot around Thanksgiving.
  • You can still play outside! Be sure to wear the appropriate clothing such as mittens, hat, and scarf to protect against the colder temperatures.
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Music to their ears: the benefits of music lessons

Sounds of children playing on homemade drum sets created from pots and pans, or other musical instruments made from random objects around the house, are common in most families. Many children love to listen, play or dance to music. But did you know that playing a musical instrument might improve your children’s hearing ability?

A study recently published in the Journal of Neuroscience suggests that disadvantaged children who have access to a community music program may have an increased ability to hear similar sounds, which is linked to reading and language skills.

The study also suggests that children need to participate in music lessons for at least two years to develop the hearing ability.

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Recent product recalls

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

Name of product: Franklin & Ben Mason 4-in-1 Convertible Cribs

Hazard: The crib front can separate from the side panels and create a hazardous gap that can allow a child to fall out or become entrapped between the front and side panels.

Incidents/Injuries: The firm has received 14 reports of the front separating from the side panels of the crib. No injuries have been reported.

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