Halloween Health Tips for Your Kids

halloween

We are fast approaching Halloween, and for children, that means access to excess amounts of candy. As tempting as it might seem, your kids shouldn’t dive right into that bag of sweets without a little caution. The calories in candy add up faster than you might think. Even “fun sized” candy seems like less of a blast when you consider its health effects. We know how hard it can be to put a damper of your child’s Halloween fun, but their health should come first. How do you limit sugar intake on a holiday that seems to revolve around it? Before you sift through your child’s bag and throw out every trace of junk food, consider these tips:

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Why Every Kid Deserves a Flu Shot

dakota-header

Nobody likes getting the flu, but low-risk adults can usually power through it and recover in a few weeks. When a child gets the flu, there are some additional risks to consider. Flu-related hospitalizations among children are more common than you might think. Although the 2015-2016 flu season was mild, there were still 85 pediatric influenza-associated deaths. The flu seasons before that were even worse, and it’s impossible to know what flu season 2016 has in store. If you have children younger than two years old, they are especially at risk of influenza complications such as pneumonia and dehydration. The good news is that parents can do their part to prevent the spread of the flu and help make this winter another mild season.

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Preparing for a New Baby: Some Tips to Keep in Mind

September 16th is the most common birthday in America, which means that soon-to-be parents all over the country have been busy preparing to welcome a new baby into their family. Whether you’re only a few weeks along or your due date is looming, getting ready to give birth can be both exciting and scary. There are several steps new parents can take to be prepared for both birth and taking care of their newborn. Continue reading “Preparing for a New Baby: Some Tips to Keep in Mind”

5 Tips to Help Your Child – and You! – Adjust to a New School

Going back to school is an exciting time for students of all ages, but often those feelings are mixed with feelings of anxiety and fear. This is especially true if your child is starting a new school or entering middle or high school. There are several things parents can do to make the transition back to school as smooth as possible.
father with little daughter walking to school or daycare

  1. Stick to Routine

If your child is left rattled by all the rapid changes that come with a new school year, make sure your routine at home is as strong as ever. Wake up time, pick up time, after school activities, and bedtime should all adhere to a standard, consistent schedule that works for your family. Keeping a routine that your child can count on will Continue reading “5 Tips to Help Your Child – and You! – Adjust to a New School”

The Importance of Back to School Check-Ups

Senior female doctor examining happy child, smiling.

It is hard to believe August is already halfway over! As you begin to prepare for the new school year with school supplies and new clothes, don’t forget another important back-to-school necessity: your child’s annual well-child exam. Children and adolescents should get a check-up every year, and school districts require evidence of these checks at certain ages. Older children who require a sports physical can get that accomplished at this visit.

What to Expect

At this yearly exam, your provider can answer any questions or concerns you may have, ensure your child is growing appropriately, check in regarding any chronic conditions your child may have such as allergies and asthma, and examine your child to ensure he/she is healthy. This appointment gives your provider a chance to address any physical, emotional, developmental, or social concerns. Being proactive helps prevent future illnesses and ensures immunizations are always up to date – plus it’s the easiest way to make sure your child is hitting all the correct growth and developmental milestones.

These yearly check-ups are also a great way to make sure your children learn that seeing their healthcare provider consistently is necessary for optimal health. Childhood and early adolescence are critical times to institute as many healthy behaviors as possible, including eating well and getting enough physical activity. Many risk behaviors are also formed during this critical period, and the annual check-up can help providers to identify these behaviors and partner with families to address the problems.

Get a Head Start

Back to school is a hectic time filled with to-do lists, shopping lists, and fitting in any last minute summer vacations; but, in the midst of all of that, the annual check-up is the most important thing for your child. It’s important to go into these appointments adequately prepared. In order to be as ready as possible, make sure to take care of these things before the appointment:

  • Make sure you have all the forms that need to be signed by your provider including those for:
    • Daycare
    • School
    • Sports
  • If your child needs any sort of medication or inhaler, bring the official permission form that allows school professionals to give your child the necessary medication – whether it’s daily or just in an emergency
  • A compiled list of any questions or concerns you want addressed

If you’re seeing a doctor for the first time, there’s a little more pre-appointment work. Make sure you write down important information including:

  • Any history of fainting, shortness of breath, or other major medical occurrences as well as any important family history such as a history of heart disease
  • Any allergies, chronic illnesses, past surgeries, broken bones, etc.
  • Any medicine your child is taking including prescription, over-the-counter, vitamins, herbs or supplements. Include the dosage.
  • Vaccination history

Eating Healthy at the Minnesota State Fair

Are you and your family headed to the great Minnesota State Fair? While we love the food at the fair, not all of it is nutritious. We’ve created a map to show you some healthier options to keep in mind while you are enjoying your time with loved ones.

Keep in mind the different colors of the stars on the map, representing different types of yummy, healthy food you can find. We hope you enjoy your time at the great Minnesota get together!

Red Star: FRUIT | Blue Star: Sandwiches | Yellow Star: Meat | Black Star: Healthy Items on a Stick | Green Star: Vegetables

https://www.thinglink.com/scene/799698903170547713

Sun Safety for Your Little Ones

From lake trips to weekend BBQs, there are plenty of opportunities to spend family time enjoying the sunshine together. Plus, growing children need plenty of vitamin D to help their bodies absorb calcium. But it’s important to know that it doesn’t take much time outside to get the adequate vitamin D we need and too much time in the sun has dangerous effects. Repeated, unprotected exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause skin damage, eye damage, immune system suppression, and skin cancer. Setting your child up for healthy sun habits now ensures they stay safe for life!

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Seasonal Allergies & Your Child

nurse with coughing childAs spring finally settles in around us, so does allergy season. Up to 40 percent of children in the United Status suffer from seasonal allergies. If you and/or your partner have allergies, this increases the chance that your child has allergies too. Seasonal allergies are annoying, yet relatively harmless. But when do they stop being harmless? We’ve put together some tips on when you should take your child to an allergist or when it might be more than just allergies.

 

Seasonal Allergies

Seasonal allergies are allergy symptoms that occur during particular times of the year, usually when outdoor molds release their spores, and trees, grasses, and weeds release tiny pollen particles into the air to fertilize other plants. When your child is allergic to mold spores or pollen, their immune system treats these allergens as an attack. Their immune system then releases chemicals, including histamine, as a defense which causes allergy symptoms, from itchy eyes to a runny nose.

Seasonal allergies can start at almost any age, even if your child hasn’t had allergies in the past. Usually, they develop by the time your child is 10 and reach their peak in their early twenties.

 

Symptoms

If you notice your child experiences cold like symptoms around the same time every year, it could be seasonal allergies. These symptoms, which usually appear suddenly and last as long as a person is exposed to a particular allergen, can include:

  • Sneezing
  • Itchy nose and/or throat
  • Nasal congestion
  • Clear, runny nose
  • Coughing
  • Itchy, watery eyes

 

When To See A Doctor

Most seasonal allergies can be treated with child-specific, over-the-counter antihistamine or allergy medications. However, if your child starts wheezing, struggles to catch their breath or they frequently feel a tightness in their chest, that could be a sign that the allergies have progressed into asthma, and you should make an appointment to see your pediatric provider right away. Other signs that indicate its time to take your child to your pediatric provider:

  • If your child is experiencing chronic sinus infections, nasal congestion or difficulty breathing.
  • If your child’s symptoms seem to pop up over many different months out of the year
  • If antihistamines and over-the-counter medications do not have any affect on your child’s symptoms.
  • If allergies or asthma seem to be preventing your child from doing normal, every day activities.

Before your visit with your pediatric provider, be sure to take note of when your child’s symptoms are most prevalent: are they outside or inside? Is it day or night? Look for any patterns—the repetitiveness is the biggest indicator that the symptoms your child may be experiencing are linked to allergies, seasonal or otherwise. Most importantly, a fever is never associated with allergies and is usually a sign of something more serious. With this information, your pediatric provider can better determine if a referral to an allergist is necessary.

Hopefully these tips will help you feel more at ease about seasonal allergies, but you should never hesitate calling or scheduling an appointment with your pediatric provider if you’re concerned with new symptoms your child is experiencing.

Twin Cities Mini Golf

Enjoy the outdoors this spring and summer with an afternoon playing mini golf with your loved ones and little ones! Mini golf is a great way to exercise as a family, and helps children with their hand-eye coordination. If you need a rainy day activity, several courses are available indoors as well.

To find a course near you, just move your curser over the map!