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Life & Health. News and information to advance your health and well-being.
May 2015
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Parents Need to Know is a newsletter written by Craig Collison, MD, pediatrician with Mount Nittany Physician Group.
Choosing a safe summer camp

With summer just around the corner, now is the time to start thinking about summer activities for your kids. Summer camp is a great way to expose your child to new activities and friends, as well as allow them to build their self confidence and independence. If your child has expressed interest in attending summer camp, keep these tips in mind to help prepare them for a fun, safe experience.

Before you send your child off for a week or two of fun, it is important to research the following questions before choosing a summer camp:

Is the camp accredited by the American Camp Association (ACA) or licensed by the state?
ACA accredited camps must meet up to 300 operation standards including staff training, health and emergency training, cleanliness, food service, and more. The ACA works with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), American Red Cross, and other agencies to ensure their practices follow the most up-to-date recommendations for your child’s safety. To check the status of your summer camp, visit or call 1.800.428.CAMP.

What are the hiring requirements for staff?
You should know how the camp recruits staff, and if they conduct criminal and sex offender checks. Are all staff at least 18 years of age? You should also ask what type of licenses and certifications are required. Are all staff members trained in child CPR? Be sure to ask what the counselor ratio is for campers. The ACA recommends that there should be one adult for every six kids ages seven to eight; one adult for every eight kids ages nine to 14; and one adult for every 10 kids ages 15 to 18.

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What is the Kylie Jenner lip challenge?

Have you heard of the Kylie Jenner lip challenge? If you use social media, chances are you have read or seen pictures of this dangerous trend that is growing among tweens and teens.

In recent media coverage, the youngest member of the Kardashian family has been scrutinized for her large, pouty lips. To emulate the look, fans are putting their lips in serious harm’s way.

Using a shot glass or bottle, teens place the object over their lips and suck, creating negative pressure from the suction effect. The pressure causes the lip’s blood vessels to fill with blood, followed by the chemicals histamine and leukotrienes that cause the lips to swell. If the suction is held too long, bruises can form.

This technique carries the risk of causing long-term damage and deformity to the lips and surrounding skin, especially when it is done for a period of time longer than 30 seconds. And in a few cases, the shot glass can break, causing serious enough injury to need medical attention.

I recommend talking to your kids about these popular challenges so they know that they aren't a good idea and could potentially cause significant harm.



Dog safety tips

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur in the U.S. each year, with children more likely than adults to be bitten by a dog. Additionally, more than half of these incidents are from a dog that is known by the victim.

In recognition of National Dog Bite Safety week, which occurred May 17 through May 23, there are several things you as a parent can do to help keep your child safe around dogs, including following these recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP):

  • 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 choose to have a family dog, make sure you choose a dog that will fit well with your family. It is important to train your dog to follow your commands as well as socialize them to be around other people and animals. Teach your child to show affection by gently petting the dog on the side of their neck or on their chest. They should also learn that if the dog turns away when they are petting it, it is a signal to leave them alone.

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Ask the pediatrician: Lyme disease

Hi Dr. C.,

Now that the weather is warmer, my kids are outside all the time. I’m worried about Lyme disease. What can I do to help protect them from ticks?

This is a concern that I hear from a lot of parents. To help prevent tick bites and Lyme disease, keep the following information in mind when out in the woods this summer.

What is Lyme disease?
Lyme disease results from being bitten by a deer tick that is infected with a certain bacterium. It can be treated with antibiotics if diagnosed early enough. However, if left untreated, it can cause severe arthritis, heart problems, and nerve damage.

How do I get Lyme disease?
Ticks are usually found in wooded, brushy, or grassy areas. They attach themselves to people or animals and can then be brought into yards or houses. Once the tick finds a host, it embeds its mouthparts into the host's skin to feed, and if infected, it can pass bacteria into the host's bloodstream.

How do I know if I've been bitten?
Usually a ring or bull's eye-shaped rash will develop at the site of the bite. However, 20 to 40 percent of people with Lyme disease don't develop a rash at all. Symptoms of the early stages of the disease include fever or chills, muscle or joint pain, headache, and fatigue. Often people don't feel the tick bite them, so check your body after being in a tick-infested area. Ticks usually hide in the hairy areas of the body, like the groin, armpit, and scalp.

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Waterlogged— swimmer’s ear can be painful, irritating
Written by Dawn Sanzotti, PA-C, MHS, ear, nose & throat/audiology, Mount Nittany Physician Group
Dawn Sanzotti, PA-C, MHS, ear, nose & throat/audiology, Mount Nittany Physician Group

Whether you’re in the water for hours every day or simply take a dip during summer scorchers, you may find yourself with swimmer's ear.

Swimmer’s ear, an infection called otitis externa, occurs when water remains in the outer ear canal, creating a moist environment that supports bacterial growth. The result can be painful and irritating.

Typically the symptoms begin as mild, but they can easily progress if the infection is not treated. At the onset, you may notice itching in the ear, a slight redness, drainage of fluid, and increasing pain. Symptoms of advanced swimmer's ear include decreased or muffled hearing, pain that radiates to the face and neck, complete blockage of the ear canal, swelling, fever, and intense pain.

Interestingly, when the climate becomes excessively warm and humid, bacteria may still become trapped inside the ear canal and lead to infection, even if you have not been swimming.

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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: Sensory Grab Garb Blankets

Hazard: Wire-edged ribbon used in the blanket’s ribbon tags can become exposed, posing a laceration hazard to children.

Incidents/Injuries: The firm has received one report of a child that was scratched by the wire that came out of the ribbon tag.

Description: The Sensory Grab Garb blanket is a six-inch square of soft fabric with crinkle paper inside and ribbon tags in the middle of each of the four sides. One side of the blanket contains a white satin ribbon tag with the words “Goochie Goo Garbs” on it. The polka-dot ribbon tags are black, blue, green, pink or red ribbons with white polka dots. The blankets come in a variety of child themed patterns including shapes, animals and superhero themes. Only the six-inch square Sensory Grab Garb blankets with colored polka-dot ribbon tags attached to the side of the blanket are included in the recall.

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