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Life & Health. News and information to advance your health and well-being.
December 2015
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Parents Need to Know is a newsletter written by Craig Collison, MD, pediatrician with Mount Nittany Physician Group.
Child’s fever: To sweat it out or not?

No one likes to see their little ones down with a fever. Still, there's some debate about whether to treat a fever or not.

The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that even high temperatures are not necessarily dangerous or significant, unless the child has a history of seizures, chronic disease, or is under two months of age.

We know that a fever is a good sign that a person's immune system is kicking in to fight off an infection. My own philosophy is that a child should be as comfortable as possible until the fever passes.

Two standard treatments for fevers include the use of either acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Each over-the-counter treatment has its positives and negatives, so let's take a look at which might be appropriate:

Acetaminophen is appropriate for children as young as two months old, and can be administered every four hours. It is usually easier to stomach than ibuprofen but also poses potential risks, particularly with very young children, long-term use, or overdosage. If a child's illness includes some queasiness or vomiting, acetaminophen is probably a better choice.

Ibuprofen, which lasts for six hours, typically does a better job of bringing down a fever. It is also an anti-inflammatory, better at alleviating the aches and pains that often accompany illness. It is, however, harder on the stomach so it wouldn't be my first choice if a child were vomiting.

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Scary world events: Relieving your child’s anxiety

Images and talk of violence affect our everyday lives, causing a lot of anxiety. However, these incidents are especially confusing and overwhelming for children. Although age plays a part in determining when a child can understand stressful events, there are steps you can take to reassure your children and make them feel comforted and safe. Senseless violence such as the recent shooting in California can be hard to deal with for people of any age.

 Following are tips to help your child cope and understand tragic events:

  • Always be honest and give answers that are simple and age-appropriate.
  • If your child was directly involved or lost someone in the tragedy, professional assistance might be necessary.
  • Toddlers and school-age children may not understand that an event isn’t happening over and over when the news replays images, so it may be best to restrict access to certain TV shows or news coverage to insulate them from the traumatizing event.
  • Children often have magical thinking (believing that their actions can cause unrelated events), so you must reassure them that they are safe and they are not at fault.
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How to prepare your child for surgery

Surgery can be a challenging experience for children and their parents. To help take the mystery and fear out of the process, check out these tips from the Mount Nittany Health Surgical Center for parents to help educate and prepare children before their scheduled surgery:

  • Take a tour of the facility before the surgery to familiarize your child with the space and meet staff members. This may allow the opportunity for your child to learn about equipment and ask questions about his or her surgery.
  • Talk with your child and allow him or her to ask plenty of questions. Use simple, honest language to describe the process. Remember that other children in the family may be anxious and have questions, too.
  • For toddlers, only prepare them a day or so before surgery. Focus on what your child will see, hear, taste and feel. Offer some choices to give him or her a sense of control: "Which toy do you want to bring?" or "Which ear do you want the nurse to look in first?"
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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: Skip Hop crib mobiles

Hazard: The strap attaching the product to the crib rail can break, posing an injury hazard if the product falls on the infant in the crib.

Incidents/Injuries: Skip Hop has received eight reports of the strap attaching the mobile to the crib breaking. No injuries have been reported.

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