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How to Keep Your Kids Safe from Online Predators

March 4, 2020 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

In the modern world we live in, it seems like just about everybody owns a smartphone, tablet, or laptop. While there are tons of benefits that using the internet can bring, it’s much more anonymous than the real world.

As a parent, it’s only natural that you want to make sure your children are safe and protected both online and offline. With people hiding their identities or pretending to be someone they’re not on the internet, this can present a real danger to children and teens who access the internet. No matter how old your children are, here are a few tips on how to keep your kids safe from online predators.

Talk to Your Children

While the internet can be a great educational tool for your kids, there are unfortunately many predators who use chat rooms and social media to interact with children. Although it can be a difficult conversation to discuss, talking to your kids about what sexual predators are and explaining about potential online dangers can give them the precautionary tools they need to stay safe and protected when online. Make sure that you explain the grooming process, as well as warn them about tactics that online predators may use to initiate conversation. Knowledge is power, so the more aware your children are about online dangers, the wiser and savvier they will be.

Install Parental Control Software

The worldwide web can be a dangerous platform for anybody regardless of age, sex or gender. Unfortunately, you are only ever a few clicks away from explicit material and sexual predators, so installing parental control software should be your next port of call. Having software in place can be used to identify and remove harmful content found on social media and online forums. You need to explain to your kids the reasoning behind this decision so that they understand that you’re not spying on them but rather keeping them safe.

Regularly Monitor Your Child’s Online Activity

It’s important that you keep an eye on your children’s online activity. No matter their age, monitoring the types of websites they visit and the people they interact with can help keep them safe when using the internet. Make sure that you let your kids know from the offset that you will be monitoring their activity, so they can hand over their devices to you at a moment’s notice. There will be some children who don’t realize the dangers they are putting themselves in, so keeping track of their online activity is crucial.

Understand Social Media

Whether you love it or loathe it, social media is here to stay. Billions of users from across the globe access platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat each day. While the vast majority of users are respectable human beings, unfortunately, there is a small percentage who are using social media for the wrong reasons. To keep your children safe from online predators, you may benefit from setting up your own social media platform. There are numerous privacy settings that you can add on to your child’s account to ensure any users you don’t recognize cannot contact your kids. Once you’ve gained a better understanding of social media and how it works, you can take precautionary measures to make sure your children are safe.

Limit Screen Time

If you feel your kids are spending too much time online, it may be best to limit their screen time. While they may throw a tantrum at the beginning, you need to set boundaries in place to keep them protected online. Online predators are cunning individuals who come up with new tactics to engage with children and hook them into a conversation, so if you’ve noticed your child has become reserved, or they are spending too much time online at night, this should be a cause for concern.

Do Your Research

To bring you peace of mind, there are numerous other strategies that you can take to ensure your children are safe from online predators. If you have been monitoring your child’s activity and found a username that you don’t recognize, you may want to check Name Change Records on websites like PublicRecordsReviews. If you have any suspicions, the website can confirm your information here and give you data on a person’s social media profiles and email addresses. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so using sites like these can give you reassurance.

While the internet can be a great tool for your children to stay in touch with their friends and keep on top of coursework, you need to be aware of the dangers and hazards that are ever-present. Online predators are always coming up with new methods and strategies to engage with children, so it’s important that you always stay one step ahead.

8 Tips for Planning Your Family’s Financial Future

February 13, 2020 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

Starting a family should be one of the most exciting and enriching experiences that life can offer. When bringing a child into the world, it’s only natural that your full focus, love, and care will be on your children to ensure they are well looked after, but it’s also important that you get your finances in order from the get-go. If you aren’t sure where to start, here are eight tips on how to plan your family’s financial future.

Understand Your Current Financial Situation

First it’s important that you get a clearer idea of your family’s current finances and spending habits. To do this, you will need to gather bank statements via online banking that you can use to track current expenses, such as household bills and eating out. There are budget planning apps that you can download onto your smartphone to help you keep track of your day-to-day spending, but a plain old spreadsheet can work just as well if you aren’t tech-savvy.

Set Financial Goals

To set financial goals, ask questions like what sort of things you and your family would like to afford in the future. Set reasonable, timely, and reachable goals so that you can achieve your objectives. You may have different goals short-term and long-term goals. Whether it’s saving for a family trip away or a wedding, having realistic financial goals in place and creating an emergency fund is important.

Find Out Where You Can Save

Once you have a better understanding of your expenses, it will be easier to identify any negative spending habits. Seeing how much you spend on things that you don’t need can be a great way to reduce your expenditure and cut back on the unnecessary to save money.

Create a Budget

If you are wondering how much money you can realistically afford to put towards your savings, the best way to do this is by creating a budget that can help you stay in control. There are various tools you can use online to collate your spending. Once you figure out what your current incomings and outgoings are, you can decide what to do with the rest of your earnings. There are seasonal expenses you should factor into your budget too, such as anniversaries and birthdays. Although it may seem like a chore at first to create a budget, you will be thankful in the long run.

Build a Strong Financial Foundation

While you may think all you need to do is save, it’s important that you take what you have learned about your current financial situation and sort out any outstanding debts first. Cutting expenditure and setting aside spare money to put towards any debt can help you build a strong and secure financial foundation. Find out how much money you can put towards your debts so that you don’t have to worry about incurring fees and interest.

Secure a Retirement Savings Plan

It’s also important that you have a think about your retirement plan as early as possible before you begin planning how much money you can put aside for future generations. Your employer may already have a scheme in place, so at the bare minimum, you need to be matching your employer’s contributions.

Take Out Life Insurance

We can never be certain about what the future holds, so it is always wise to prepare for the unexpected. Taking out life insurance should be at the top of your to-do list. It can help pay for important things such as funeral costs and outstanding debts. Having life insurance in place ready for if you were to pass away will ensure those you loved aren’t impacted financially. Check out sites online where you can compare life cover companies by answering a few short questions.

Minimize Risks

To bring you and your family complete peace of mind, you may want to consider hiring an accountant who can help you keep track of your spending and identify any causes for concern. The last thing you want is to spend beyond your means, so having a professional step in can help provide you with financial stability for your family’s future.

No matter how financially secure you are, it’s important that you keep a close eye on your day to day spending. As a parent, keeping your loved ones happy, safe, and financially stable should be your number one priority, so make sure to take all the tips listed into account.

4 Top Tips for Traveling with Kids

February 5, 2020 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

By Jennifer Bright

When you think “vacation,” do you think “summer”? Maybe it’s time to think “fall” instead!

Fall is a wonderful time to travel, especially if you have young children. The weather is cooler, the foliage is lovely, and attractions will be less crowded because families with older kids aren’t likely to take their kids out of school to travel so early in the school year.

But parenting is hard enough at home! How can you take this show on the road without losing your mind? Traveling with toddlers especially can really be a trip. Here are some feeding tips that mommy M.D.s—doctors who are also mothers—use themselves to travel with their own children.

“When my children were toddlers, I quickly learned that you can’t bring it all with you from home when you travel,” said Ann V. Arthur, M.D., a mom of two, a pediatric ophthalmologist in private practice at Park Slope Eye Care Associates, and a blogger at WaterWineTravel.com, in New York City. “Fortunately, many clever companies rent kids’ equipment, such as portable cribs and strollers, when you arrive at your destination. This saved me from lugging tons of gear through airports.”

“When I traveled with my sons when they were toddlers, I dressed them in matching clothes, usually brightly colored shirts that we purchased on a previous trip,” said Carrie Brown, M.D., a mom of two and a general pediatrician who treats medically complex children and specializes in palliative care at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, in Little Rock. “This helps for many reasons. One, when my sons were dressed alike, it was obvious that they belonged together. Two, dressing them alike made it much easier to spot them in a crowd. And three, it would have been easy to describe one child to someone if need be. I could point to his brother and say, ‘He’s dressed like that!’ Thankfully, I never lost a child, so I didn’t have to test this theory.”

“When my kids were toddlers, we went on an annual summer beach vacation with their cousins,” said Eva Mayer, M.D., a mom of two and pediatrician with St. Luke’s Coopersburg Pediatrics, in Pennsylvania. “With so many other people along with their own needs and wishes, it often felt like our family’s needs went out the window. We rented a pretty small house at the beach, considering all of the people we jammed into it. It was very challenging to carve out our own space. Early on, I learned to say, ‘This is what we need to do for our family.’ Also, if we needed some space, I would grab my kids and head out for a walk on the beach by ourselves.”

Dr. Rallie’s Tips

With a teenager and two toddlers, my husband and I didn’t have the courage to travel very far or very often. It was just too exhausting! When we did travel, we made sure that we were well prepared in advance. One of our first big trips by plane was to Walt Disney World, and I took an extra day of vacation just to pack and plan for the trip. In addition to clothes, shoes, favorite toys, and lovies, I made sure to stock a lightweight travel bag with all of the things that we would need to keep us as healthy as possible while we were traveling, including the following items.

• A zipper-lock baggie for each person’s toothbrush and toothpaste: It’s best to have a small tube of toothpaste for each family member. If you don’t share toothpaste, you’re less likely to share germs.

• Small packets of honey from a fast-food restaurant: Honey has antibiotic properties, and it’s a great remedy for coughs for toddlers and older children.

• A disposable ice bag for bumps and bruises

• Healthy snacks, such as raisins or granola bars in single-serving size packs

• Sugarless chewing gum to ease ear discomfort on the airplane

• Tylenol and Benadryl and the dosage cups

• Band-Aids and antibiotic ointment

• Sunscreen

• Hand sanitizer and wipes to clean the tables and everyone’s hands before eating at a restaurant

—Rallie McAllister, M.D., M.P.H., mom of three, nationally recognized health expert and family physician in Lexington, Kentucky

Mommy MD Guides–Recommended Product: Queasy Pops

Few things can derail a trip quicker than an upset belly. An easy, natural remedy you can toss into your travel bag are Queasy Pops. Made by the same company that makes Preggie Pops, these lollipops are drug-free and contain natural flavors such as peppermint, lemon, and ginger. You can buy them at stores like Walmart for around $3 for a box of 7.

Jennifer Bright is a mom of four, co-founder and CEO of Momosa Publishing and co-author of “The Mommy MD Guide to the Toddler Years” She lives in Hellertown, Pennsylvania. To find out more about Jennifer Bright and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2019 CREATORS.COM

4 Top Tips for Feeding Your Baby

February 5, 2020 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

By Jennifer Bright

One of my most cherished memories is feeding my sons when they were babies. It was so special to me that I only recently could part with the glider rocker I sat in to nurse them—and my youngest is 12 years old! I remember the cozy closeness of holding my babies in my arms, gazing down at their sweet faces, and feeling so proud and accomplished to be caring for them in the most intimate way—by feeding them.

New parents have many choices when it comes to feeding their babies, including breastfeeding, bottle-feeding, or combo-feeding. Here are some feeding tips that mommy M.D.s—doctors who are also mothers—use themselves:

“When my kids were babies, I kept this top of mind: Fed babies are best!” says Michelle Davis-Dash, MD, a mom of two and a board-certified pediatrician, in Baltimore, MD. “Whatever method gets your baby satisfied and fed is the best.  If you’re breastfeeding, it’s okay to pump and store the milk for later days, and it’s okay to be tired.  As a new mom, taking life one day at a time is all you can do. Love your baby and reach out for help if you need it!”

“Breastfeeding is best, but it was challenging for me,” said Jennifer Hanes, D.O., a mom of two and a wellness physician at drhanes.com, in Houston, TX. “I wasn’t producing enough milk for my baby to gain weight, despite getting support from a lactation consultant. It was really sad for me, and I felt like a failure. I ended up using formula. I pumped as much as I could to supplement with breastmilk because it helps support the baby’s developing immune system, but the majority of my babies’ intake was from formula.”

“Breastfeeding is best. But mothers put a lot of pressure on themselves to breastfeed,” said Sonal R. Patel, M.D., a mom of twin daughters, a pediatric allergist with Huntington Asthma and Allergy Center in Pasadena, CA, and coauthor of “The Mommy MD Guide to Twins, Triplets, and More.” “I assumed breastfeeding would come naturally, but one of my girls had colic and slow weight gain. I was in such a stressed-out, sleep-deprived fog that I didn’t even think about seeing a lactation specialist, but I wish I had. I tried natural supplements, but I still was unable to produce a lot of milk. I came to realize that I was going to have to supplement with formula. I felt guilty, and in hindsight, I wish I had cut myself some slack.”

Dr. Rallie’s Tips

People often ask me if I breastfed or bottle-fed my sons. Moms feel tremendous pressure to choose between breastfeeding and formula-feeding. My experience is a great example of how this doesn’t have to be a one-or-the-other decision. It’s perfectly fine—better even—to choose both.

I got the best of both worlds by breastfeeding and formula-feeding with all three of my sons, and I would not change that experience for the world! For all three of my kids, I started nursing. But early on, I supplemented with formula.

I found this to be beneficial for many reasons. One, my husband could also feed our babies, which was a positive experience for him and our sons.

Two, adding formula helped me to transition back to work. Supplementing with formula meant that I no longer had to pump at work. I nursed my sons at home before and after work, and then they drank formula during the day.

This flexibility helped me, and it also helped my babies. My sons thrived on the seamless combo of breastfeeding and formula-feeding.

— Rallie McAllister, M.D., M.P.H., mom of three, nationally recognized health expert and family physician in Lexington, Kentucky

Mommy MD Guides–Recommended Product: Store Brand Infant Formula

If you choose to not breastfeed—or are not able to for medical or other reasons—infant formula is the only safe alternative to breast milk, says the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

There are many brands and types of formulas. Brand-name formulas are expensive. You’ll likely wonder: Are name brands more expensive because they contain better ingredients? Is the extra cost worth it?

The answer is no. Ounce for ounce, store brand formulas contain the same nutrients as name brands. Store brand formulas meet the same rigorous Food and Drug Administration

(FDA) standards as do name brands—but store brand formulas cost much less. Learn more at www.storebrandformula.com.

Jennifer Bright is a mom of four, co-founder and CEO of Momosa Publishing, publisher of “The Mommy MD Guide to Feeding Your Baby Right.” She lives in Hellertown, Pennsylvania. To find out more about Jennifer Bright and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2019 CREATORS.COM

Holiday Tips

November 26, 2019 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

By Susan Shor

With holidays here already, life becomes more frenetic. Many people thrive on the excitement, family, parties, and big meals, but children who have autism, sensory issues, or just plain need routine, this time of year can add extra strain.

Here are a few things to keep in mind to maintain your holiday joy and also give your children what they need.

1. They aren’t doing it on purpose.

This seems so obvious, but it’s not. I know. When you are running around, listening to honking horns, or trying to organize a meal for 16 and your child is acting out, remember that acting out is a symptom of something they can’t express or don’t even understand is bothering them. As a parent with a sensitive child, you have to stay preternaturally calm (I know, so hard) and play detective.

2. Give them plenty of warning.

Don’t spring things on them. Let them know what’s happening ahead of time. Be as detailed as you can. Make a visual schedule, if they like that. Then check items off together. Consider a seating chart.

3. Build in downtime.

Your child is not insulting you or anyone else if they need to leave the table or the big family celebration. Even adults sometimes need to get away from the fray. Build breaks into your schedule. Make sure you let your child know that excusing themselves to go to a quiet, safe place is OK. Develop a signal that you can use if you feel your child needs a break, but hasn’t yet realized that. Remember, children are not that self-aware. Transitions during meals or before and after them make for good times for a child to slip away for a few minutes without it becoming a fuss.

4. Assign your child a job

Sometimes, being involved and busy helps. Your child can focus on a task and feel proud of an accomplishment. Try to make the task a familiar one instead of adding something new during a stressful time. What chores or tasks does your child do regularly? If they clear their plate after dinner, consider asking them to help with that job. Practice with family meals beforehand.

5. If you’re a guest: Ask for accommodations

No, you can’t expect the world to revolve around your child, but you can  explain what your child needs and accomplish some of what is on this list anyway. If you are staying local, can you bring your child over to practice and set up a safe space? Even if you are traveling (a different set of issues I will tackle later), see if you can get a heads up on the schedule or pictures of the holiday setup. Any preparation you can give your child will help.

6. Remember … things happen

No matter how prepared you are, no matter how much everyone understands and loves your children, something may go wrong. The hardest thing you will have to do is learn this: Don’t sweat it. You and your children are doing the best you can and the people who love you know that. You are probably harder on yourself than any of them will ever be.

Now relax and enjoy the holidays.

Helping Your Child When They’re Struggling At School

November 13, 2019 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

Throughout their educational lives, children encounter challenges, but if your kid is suffering from serious or sustained behavioral or learning problems then you need to intervene and help them get back into the habit of learning. Here are some of the best ways you can support your child through this tough period and work with them to make education fun.

Figure out what kind of help they need

Just as there are many different types of child and learning, there are also many different ways that children can be helped if they struggle with their learning. Work out what your child is struggling with by talking to their teachers so that you can help them to get the proper assistance they need to get back into learning and growing as a person.

Work with a therapist to get to the root of the problem

For those children displaying more serious behavioral issues, find a child therapist who can help you figure out if there is a more serious mental health problem causing your child’s struggle, or if they simply need more support in certain areas of their learning. It’s important that you completely understand what’s going on before you try to fix it, so work with your child’s therapist to understand the problems they have and work out a solution.

Explore different educational options

If you feel that your child’s current school is not giving them the support they need, then do some research on other schools where they could flourish. Look out for schools with smaller class sizes and a greater focus on individual progression, such as the Arizona charter schools offered by the Academies of Math and Science. Establishments such as the Tucson Charter School and the Phoenix Charter School offer exceptional teachers, cutting-edge facilities and a focus on using the best teaching techniques available, so you’ll know that your child is in safe hands.

Give them support at home

A child’s home life can have a serious effect on their learning, so try to give them as much stability and tranquility as possible when they return from school. Try your best to create a safe and cozy space for your child to do their homework in, and make them a routine so that they get into the habit of studying and then relaxing. Try not to make them feel like a failure for struggling at school, and instead offer them a supportive space in which they feel able to open up and improve their performance.

The most important thing to remember when you’re trying to help a child who’s struggling at school is not to panic or get angry with them. Even if you don’t think they’re putting a lot of effort into learning, there may be a problem that needs addressing, so don’t be unkind to your child or they’ll come to resent you as well as learning. Instead, be patient and understanding so that your child can get back to excelling as soon as possible.

Get a Good Flight’s Sleep the Next Time You Travel

November 6, 2019 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

By Nilong Vyas, MD

For many people, getting sound sleep on an airplane flight is as elusive as seeing a unicorn. For this reason, airlines have spent millions of dollars developing their on-flight sleep environments to help their passengers get some shut-eye on long flights. Still, many passengers turn to medications because they’re available over the counter and are considered an easy fix. However, with a little planning before your flight, it’s possible to have a “good flight’s sleep” without turning to a pill.

First, it’s important to do your research and determine how many time zones you’ll be traveling through and what the time will be when you arrive at your destination. Plan to either sleep or be awake at your destination based on its time zone. For example, when traveling east to India from the United States, many flights arrive during the new country’s morning time. In this case, it’s important to sleep on the flight so you can be awake “with the natives” upon landing. In order to do that, provide yourself with the most ideal sleep environment possible. You may have to go to sleep before your body is ready to sleep. In that scenario, bring along a great eye mask that doesn’t allow any light to enter your eyes and is soft to wear and doesn’t get caught in your hair. Find a great set of noise-canceling headphones because they will drown out the excess noise that is common on planes and will also allow you to listen to quiet music, white noise, or guided meditation through your phone or device to help lull you to sleep. Finally, pack your favorite pj’s and a warm shawl or blanket and make sure to change into them once you board the plane. Being comfortable and at a comfortable temperature will help you get to sleep.

Even if you are unable to fall asleep on the plane, try to rest during the flight. Stay away from alcoholic beverages and drink plenty of water instead to stay hydrated. Finally, limit electronics because the blue light they emit from their screens will stimulate your retinas and cause wakefulness.

When you arrive at your destination, if it’s daytime, make sure that you get lots of light stimulation, either from sunlight or artificial light. This will keep your body from producing sleep-inducing melatonin. Try not to nap during the day, and get to sleep that night at a reasonable time (when the “natives” would be sleeping), which will get your sleep cycle back on track.

Happy sleep and safe travels!

About the Author: Nilong Vyas, MD, is a mom of two children and the founder and owner of Sleepless in NOLA sleep consulting, in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Sleep Better, Starting Tonight

October 22, 2019 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

By Nilong Vyas, MD

In our hard-driving culture, sleep is often seen as a sign of weakness, and some people even brag about how little sleep they get each night as if it’s a badge of honor. Yet there is no question that we need adequate sleep to perform at our best. What’s more, lack of sleep increases the risk of chronic diseases such as dementia and heart disease.

Even if you’re convinced of the benefits of a good night’s slumber, you might still find yourself struggling to fall asleep—and waking up feeling tired and groggy the next morning. If getting a restful night’s sleep has been a challenge for you, try the following tips.

  • Evaluate your bedroom. Create a cool, comfortable, and dark sleep environment that is free of clutter and noise.
  • Eliminate caffeine after noon, if possible.
  • Turn off all screens at least an hour before bedtime. If that is not possible, use a blue light filter device on your screen to diminish the blue light emitted. Blue light can stimulate your retinas and cause wakefulness.
  • If you’re having difficulty sleeping, don’t try to force yourself to fall asleep. It is best to get out of bed, move around, and journal or read a book. Then try to get back to sleep once you’re feeling sleepy again. This process may take up to an hour and a half.
  • Aim for achieving seven to eight hours of sleep per night.
  • Finally, prioritize sleep just as you would nutrition and exercise. The overall health impacts are truly great.

About the Author: Nilong Vyas, MD, is a mom of two children and the founder and owner of Sleepless in NOLA sleep consulting, in New Orleans, Louisiana.

What Your Sleep Position Says about You

September 24, 2019 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

By Nilong Vyas, MD

Sleep is essential not only for healthy development but also for the maintenance of health. Most people are not getting enough sleep as it is, so in my opinion, any sleep position that allows you to get adequate sleep is the ideal position for you. If a particular position isn’t allowing for good-quality, restful sleep, then you should seek out a better position. Or if you are waking in pain or experiencing cramping in
an extremity such as an arm or leg after a full night’s sleep, it’s time to evaluate your sleep position.

What’s the absolute best sleep position? Unfortunately, research to answer this question reveals contradictory information, and the benefits of certain positions vary based on what is going on with an individual. For example, if you’re experiencing neck pain, back sleeping may help to eliminate that issue. However, if you suffer from sleep apnea, back sleeping is not helpful and can even be harmful. But most often, it has been shown that sleeping on your left side in the fetal position is the ideal sleeping position for most people. When you sleep on
your left side, it allows your body’s organs to better eliminate the waste in the intestines as well as promotes better blood flow through the major blood vessel in the body, the vena cava. This is also a good position if you suffer from neck pain or snore. Further, even though the body looks symmetrical on the outside, this isn’t the case on the inside. The heart, spleen, and stomach are all on the left side of the body, and because the aorta (the main blood vessel of the heart) arches over the left side of the heart, sleeping on your left side eliminates the possible congestion that can be created by sleeping on your right side. So sleeping on the left is better for your heart. Finally, sleeping on your left side levels off the acidic juices in your stomach and prevents the potential for reflux that can happen if you are a stomach sleeper.

Interestingly, your preferred sleep position can say a lot about your personality type. Stomach sleepers are known to be playful and free-spirited, but they can also experience chronic neck and back pain from this position, so they might want to consider a side-lying position. Back sleepers tend to be the strong and silent type, but as they get older, they may have difficulties with snoring or sleep apnea. However, back sleeping does help those with reflux and helps maintain the neutrality of the spine. The fetal position sleeper is known to be soft on the inside and hard on the outside. This may be the perfect “balance” of personality as it has been shown to be the best sleeping position for most people.

So what personality trait are you, and what sleep position do you fall into? And would you be willing to try it a different way tonight? If so, you may wake up feeling like a whole new person.

About the Author: Nilong Vyas, MD, is a mom of two children and the founder and owner of Sleepless in NOLA sleep consulting, in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Get Ready for Fall Allergies Because They’re Headed Your Way

September 23, 2019 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

A few simple tips will keep you sneeze- and wheeze-free this fall

 

By Sonal R. Patel, MD

 

The arrival of autumn can mean the return to bad allergy symptoms, but there is good news: If you start planning now, your allergy symptoms will likely be much less severe, and you’ll be able to enjoy the beauty the fall season brings. With a bit of preparation, you won’t get hit as hard with sneezing, a runny nose, and itchy eyes when fall allergies descend with full force. It’s a matter of planning ahead for what you know is coming based on your past experiences.

 

Here are four tips from the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology to help you keep fall allergy symptoms from ruining hayrides and your enjoyment of the changing leaves.

 

  1. Don’t confuse lingering warm temps with summer. The coming of fall doesn’t automatically mean cool weather. Unseasonably warm weather for longer periods of time is no longer a rare occurrence. Mild temperatures along with rain can promote plant and pollen growth, while wind accompanying rainfall can stir pollen and mold into the air, heightening symptoms for fall allergy sufferers. Because fall allergies may start earlier and last longer, it’s important to begin taking your allergy medications at least two weeks before your symptoms normally start. And don’t stop your medications until pollen counts have been down for about two weeks—usually after the first frost. 

 

  1. Beautiful leaves + mold = misery. Those autumn leaves may be gorgeous, but once they’ve fallen, they begin to gather mold. And mold is an allergen that thrives in fall. In addition to leaves, mold can be found anywhere there is water—including in your backyard, in a field of uncut grass, and in clogged gutters. If you are allergic to mold, the key to reducing it is moisture control. Be sure to clear standing water anywhere you find it. You can also help ward off mold by cleaning gutters regularly and keeping your home’s humidity level below 60 percent.

 

  1. Don’t let back to school mean back to allergies. If your child suddenly seems to have a constant runny nose, itchy eyes, a cough, and sneezing, they could be dealing with allergens in their classroom. Kids can be allergic to dust in the classroom, or there might be pollen coming in through open windows. And don’t forget about mold—often found in bathrooms and locker rooms—as well as dander from pets that other kids may bring in on clothing and backpacks. If your child seems to have symptoms that came on around the time school started, make an appointment with an allergist. An allergist can set your child on the right track, for the long term, to handle their allergies or asthma.

 

  1. Dodge pollen to dodge symptoms. Whether it’s ragweed, which is fall’s most prominent pollen, or another type, keeping pollen out of your life means fewer allergy symptoms. Some simple “housekeeping” tips can help. When you come in from outside, make sure pollen doesn’t come with you. Leave your shoes at the door and throw your clothes in the washing machine. Shower and wash your hair in the evening before bed so you’re not sleeping with pollen and getting it on your pillow and in your nose. Keep your windows closed and run the A/C in both your home and your car. Monitor pollen and mold counts online so you can determine when it’s best to stay inside.

 

If allergy symptoms are getting in the way of doing the things you want to do, see an allergist. An allergist can help treat your symptoms and help you get your life on track. For more information about controlling fall allergies and asthma, visit AllergyAndAsthmaRelief.org or MyAllergyMD.com. 

 

About the Author: Sonal R. Patel, MD, is a mom of twin daughters and an allergist with Huntington Asthma and Allergy Center in Pasadena, California. She is double board-certified in allergy-clinical immunology and pediatrics. She is the coauthor of The Mommy MD Guide to Twins, Triplets, and More. You can find her on Twitter @TMommyMD.

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The information on MommyMDGuides.com is not intended to replace the diagnosis, treatment, and services of a physician. Always consult your physician or child care expert if you have any questions concerning your family's health. For severe or life-threatening conditions, seek immediate medical attention.