Insuring Your Childs Health
Children are our future, so their health should be our number one priority; yet they live in a world with germs, bacteria, and viruses. Therefore, it's important to be versed in the common illnesses that face our youth, so we can prevent them. This article is meant to inform you about some of the diseases and conditions that many children are facing today and advises caretakers on how to treat, accommodate, and help these specific children. Some of the most widespread conditions are asthma, autism, and diabetes. We will also take a look at the various allergies and heart conditions that can affect children as well as the importance of nutrition and fitness in helping improve their overall health.
In the United States, it is estimated that 9 million children have asthma. Asthma is defined as long-term lung disease which causes the airways to inflame and contract making it difficult to breathe. The common symptoms of asthma are coughing, difficulty breathing, and wheezing. While medications can help manage asthma, it's crucial to identify triggers that worsen its symptoms such as: mold, secondhand smoke, and pet dander. Eliminating triggers is an important solution to decrease asthma attacks.
- Asthma in Children - Medline Plus provides information about on how asthma has affected children in the United States and covers some possible causes of this condition.
- PDF - The New York State Department of Health goes into great detail about the symptoms and diagnosing of asthma by providing a chart displaying the classifications of asthma severity and assessing treatment.
- Preventing Attacks - No Attacks.org is an excellent website with a variety of information for parents and caregivers about asthma attack prevention.
- Asthma Triggers and How to Avoid Them - The Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh shares an informative article on the specific triggers that can cause asthma attacks.
- Asthma in Children: Symptoms and Risk Factors - Web MD goes into great detail about the symptoms of asthma in children as well the potential risk factors for children who are likely to develop asthma.
- Treatment - University of Maryland Medical Center shares a variety of treatment options for children and adolescents who suffer from asthma including medications and controlling the child's environment.
Allergies are often a frequent problem in a child's life and can also lead to asthma. It's essential to understand what allergies a child has and the proper way to treat the allergen. Around 50 million Americans have allergies which include millions of children. The most common symptoms of allergies are a runny nose, an itchy and swollen throat, and impaired breathing. Identifying allergies can be done through a variety of tests like an elimination diet, blood work, and a skin test. Once an allergy has been diagnosed parents should look for ways to control the substance causing the reaction in their home and notify teachers as well about the severity of the allergy.
- All About Allergies - A comprehensive overview about the different types of allergies that children can have such as airborne, food, medicines, and chemicals is given.
- Allergy Testing for Children - The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America provides information about the different types of tests done to diagnosis an allergy.
- Allergies in Children (PDF) - The American Academy of Pediatrics informs readers about the causes of allergies, treatment, and how to distinguish between a cold and allergies. A chart with some of the most common allergic conditions as well as their triggers and symptoms is also provided.
- Controlling Allergies at Home (PDF) - This article focuses on evaluating the home environment to help manage a child's allergies as well as cleaning tips to help prevent them.
- Allergy Relief for Your Child - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is an excellent resource for investigating the different options of treatment for children with allergies.
In the last 10 years, autism has increased in children by 78%; and currently, one out of every 88 children will be diagnosed with autism. Autism is a brain disorder that affects a person's ability to communicate and form relationships with others. While the causes of autism are unknown it's likely to appear in families multiple times. Autism can be somewhat challenging for medical professionals to diagnose because there is no physical test to use; instead they have to go off of general guidelines in a child's development. Once autism is diagnosed, treatment begins with medications to treat related conditions that often exist. The treatment of autism is a life-long process involving behavioral training, therapy, and a great deal of support from both the parents and community.
- Causes - While the specific causes of autism are unknown, the National Autism Association explains the possible causes that may result in a child who is autistic.
- Symptoms - Autism Speaks is an organization that works to educate the public about autism and increase awareness.
- Screening and Diagnosis - The Center for Disease Control and Prevention provides information about the developmental screening and evaluation in order to diagnose a child with autism.
- Teaching Students with Autism Guide (PDF) - The article Teaching Students with Autism: A Resource Guide for Schools given by the Ministry of Education in British Columbia is a great resource for teachers. The article goes into detail about the most effective strategies to educate children who are autistic and how to manage behaviors that are challenging.
- Facts and Statistics - The Autism Society gives informative statistics such as what percent of children in the United States are autistic and what percent graduate from high school.
The American Diabetes Association states that 25.8 million people in the United States alone have diabetes with 215,000 people being under the age of 20. There are two different types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes takes place when the body destroys the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin; this is the most common form of diabetes in children. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form in Americans, affecting adults most often due to illness or obesity. Symptoms of type 1 diabetes include extreme thirst, drowsiness, frequent urination, sugar in urine, and an increased appetite. Treatment of type 1 diabetes involves taking insulin, establishing good eating habits, monitoring blood sugar levels, and retaining a healthy weight by making exercise a daily routine. Teachers and parents need to be knowledgeable of the effects that diabetes has on a child's routine and how to help them maintain a good social and academic standing.
- Symptoms - The American Diabetes Association explains the symptoms that are associated with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
- Types of Juvenile Diabetes - The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation explains the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and which one is more common in children.
- Effective Diabetes Management at School - The National Diabetes Education Program educates teachers and other school personnel about how care for a child with diabetes.
- Comprehensive Diabetes Checklist - The Joslin Diabetes Center, which is associated with Harvard Medical School, provides a checklist in order to help manage diabetes and those who care for children with diabetes.
- Lifestyle and Daily Routine - The Mayo Clinic explains the importance of a diabetic's daily routine and how changing it for the better can affect blood sugar levels.
There are so many different types of heart conditions and diseases that affect children worldwide, with the most common birth defect being congenital heart defects. There are three different kinds of congenital heart defects; those that occur in the heart valves, those that take place in the walls between the atria and ventricles, and muscle deformities. While the symptoms of these are different they all have in common swelling of extremities, shortness of breath, and fatigue. There are also different levels of severity with some requiring surgery and drugs, and others simply lifestyle changes. When dealing with children who have a heart condition it's important that parents and teachers are knowledgeable about the level of physical activity that a child can participate in and the effects of the heart condition on the body.
- Overview of Congenital Heart Defects - The Children's Hospital of Wisconsin provides information about various heart conditions that children face and the problems that they cause.
- Symptoms - The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia educates people about the warning signs for heart problems in children.
- Treatment and Management - The Children's Cardiomyopathy Foundation elaborates on the assortment of treatments that are offered for children such as surgery, drug therapy, and device implantation.
- Information for Teachers - The Hospital for Sick Children offers excellent information for teachers about how to manage children with heart defects in the classroom. The information includes what to do before a child leaves for surgery and when they return to school.
Nutrition and Fitness
The foods that children eat and the amount of physical exercise they experience on a daily basis will greatly affect their overall health and wellness. One out of every three children in American is overweight, so it's critical to maintain good nutrition and fitness habits to help fight this epidemic. A parent who is actively engaged in teaching their children good eating habits greatly decreases their children's likelihood of developing conditions associated with weight gain. Eating healthy isn't the only component needed to improve a child's health; physical activity must also be incorporated into their daily routine. Teachers and school officials can help to fight against childhood obesity by increasing the quality of their physical education, along with providing healthier lunch options and teaching the importance of good nutrition and daily exercise.
- Childhood Nutrition - The American Academy of Pediatrics created a website that is specifically for understanding the importance of childhood health and wellness. The information they provide is extremely useful in preventing childhood obesity and ensuring their proper nutrition. Provided is a food chart involving the amount of specific food groups that children should have at various ages.
- Health Habits (PDF) - Healthy Habits for Healthy Kids is a great resource for parents to establish the best routine for their children to promote their health and physical fitness. This nutrition and activity guide shares helpful tips to encourage all family members to live a healthier life.
- Managing Mealtime Menaces - The University of Illinois gives suggestions on how to promote good eating habits at home.
- Active Schools - Let's Move is a website created to promote the health of children in America and elaborates on President Obama's HealthierUS School Challenge.
- Fitness Tips for Kids - A Healthier Generation gives great ideas for incorporating more physical activities into kid's everyday routines.