Up and Away: Storing Medicines Safely

In honor of National Poison Prevention Week, Dr. Suzan Mazor shares advice for parents about how to give and store medicines safely.

A well-known substance often found in plain sight, on nightstands, bathroom counters, and in women’s purses, is causing parents to place frantic phone calls to poison centers around the country. The culprit: acetaminophen. Acetaminophen is an over-the-counter pain reliever and fever reducer used to treat many conditions. The most recognized brand name is Tylenol, but there are more than 600 different prescription and over-the-counter medicines that contain acetaminophen.

With 50 million Americans using medicines that contain this ingredient each week, poison centers and emergency rooms are regularly called upon to address preventable poisonings.

“Most people think poison centers only answer calls about children who accidentally drink bleach, but really, over 50% of our calls are related to medicines,” said Whitney Pennington, education and communications specialist with the Washington Poison Center. Read full post »

Heart-Healthy Habits for Families

In honor of American Heart Month, On The Pulse asked Dr. Jason Deen, a cardiologist at Seattle Children’s, to provide tips for families who want to make heart-healthy choices.

Deen works with families who have children who were born with heart problems, and also cares for families who have children who are obese, most of whom have high blood pressure and high cholesterol. He conducts research to learn about differences in the heart health of minority populations.

“While the rates of heart disease are leveling off for the population as a whole, certain ethnic and racial minorities are seeing continued increases in the rates of heart disease,” said Deen.

His various experiences have resulted in a special interest in preventing heart disease by encouraging patients and families to lead healthy lifestyles.

“The process of developing adult-onset heart disease begins early in life, before symptoms are present and before it can be diagnosed,” said Deen. “Consequently, educating parents and caregivers in helping children learn heart-healthy habits is key in prevention.” Read full post »

Blood Donation: Eight Things to Know

January marks National Blood Donor Month, a time to encourage people to become blood donors and celebrate those who already give the gift of life through blood donation.

In the U.S., someone needs donated blood about every two seconds. The need for new donations is constant as blood is only usable for a limited amount of time – donated red blood cells must be used within 42 days of collection, platelets within 5 days, and plasma can be frozen for up to one year. Our nation’s blood supply is often dangerously low during the winter months due to donors’ busy holiday schedules, seasonal illnesses and bad weather. Children and adults being treated for cancer, surgery patients, victims of accidents and other ill people all rely on donated blood. In fact, blood transfusions are the most frequently performed medical procedure people have during hospital stays. Read full post »

Positive Changes for the New Year: Resolutions for Families

The New Year is a time when many people reflect on what’s been going well, and also think about small changes they might like to make to improve their health and wellness. You’ve likely got a thing or two in mind for your own self-care goals. Along with these, think about picking an item that your family can work on together as well. It’s more fun to work as a team, and you can encourage each other along the way to creating healthier habits.

Last year, Dr. Mollie Grow told us about making SMART resolutions (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely). This year, she’s offering more ideas for families to consider as they take steps for better health, safety and wellness in 2016.

“The New Year is a great time to reflect on our values and priorities as a family and look for ways to act these out in daily life,” Grow said. Read full post »

Before the School Bell Rings: Tips to Get Ready

School supplies line the store shelves, sweaters have replaced swimwear on the racks, football is on TV, and many parents are getting ready to send their kids back to school. As parents start to transition from summer to the school year, it’s important they set their child up for success by beginning to prepare now for the new routine.

“It’s normal for kids to feel both excitement and anxiety as the new school year approaches,” said Dr. Ben Danielson, a pediatrician at Seattle Children’s Hospital and Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic. “When parents focus on the positives, keep their own worries in check, and get organized for the new beginning, it helps their child approach the school year with confidence.”

Here are Danielson’s tips for how parents can prepare for a successful year of learning, growth, hard work and fun. Read full post »

Summer Heat Wave: Four Things Parents Should Always Keep in Mind

Water Safety 6 to 11Many regions across the U.S. are experiencing the hottest summer on record, and this presents real health concerns for families. Dr. Tony Woodward, medical director of emergency medicine at Seattle Children’s Hospital, provides the following advice for parents and caregivers about how to beat the heat as well as keep their kids safe this summer:

1. Keep kids out of hot cars

Leaving a child alone in a car can have deadly consequences, even on just a warm day.

“It doesn’t take very long, a child’s body can heat up three to five times faster than an adult’s body,” said Woodward. “When you combine this with the fact that the temperature in your car can rise nearly 20 degrees in just 10 minutes, dangerous and potentially lethal heatstroke can develop quickly.”

According to KidsandCars.org, 38 children die in hot cars each year from heat-related deaths after being trapped inside motor vehicles.

Read full post »

The Sick Day Guessing Game: Cold or Flu?

Your child wakes up not feeling well and says they can’t go to school. You make your assessment by taking their temperature or noticing that they aren’t acting or looking normal, call school to report the absence, and then start the process of figuring out how to help your child feel more comfortable. Sound familiar?

As cold and flu season have ramped up, this scenario has been playing out in many homes. The tricky thing is that it’s not always easy to know how to help your child feel better. Read full post »