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School Asthma and Allergy Basics

October 2, 2012 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

by Mommy MD Guide Sigrid Payne DaVeiga, MD

School children with asthma and food and venom allergy face uncertainty and challenges not experienced by most classmates. The average classroom, lunch room, playground, class party and athletic field is teeming with allergens capable of provoking asthma or allergy symptoms that students with these conditions must prevent and treat with vigilance and balance.

I encourage all parents to make sure their child’s emergency care plans are completed on time and accurately. They should be given to school nurses or administrators before the school year begins.

“We want all school children, including those with asthma and anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction, to have full access to every academic and social opportunity available. It takes planning and good communication between the school and health care provider,” says Sally Schoessler, RN, BSN, MSEd, Director of Nursing Education at the National Association of School Nurses.

Back-to-school ABCs
  • Anaphylaxis or Asthma Action Plan: Spells out what symptoms to watch for, how to treat them and when to call for help. Make copies for school and backpack.
  • Backpack medications include a bronchodilator (albuterol or levalbuterol) inhaler for asthma and two epinephrine auto-injectors for anaphylaxis: Up-to-date supplies of these life-saving medications for backpack and school clinic.
  • Completed and signed school health forms: Include emergency contact info and permission to carry and self-administer asthma or anaphylaxis medication. Epinephrine, not antihistamines, is always the first line of treatment for anaphylaxis.
Extra Credit
  • Develop students’ self-confidence by helping them understand what sets off their symptoms and how best to protect themselves, and ask for help.
  • Emergency training for school staff, bus drivers and after-school day care: Anaphylaxis Community Experts (ACE) Teams across the country bring FREE presentations to schools or community groups. Visit www.aanma.org/AnaphylaxisCommunityExperts to find out about this award-winning program, a joint project of AANMA and the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI).• Find out more with the fall back-to-school issue of Allergy & Asthma Today – AANMA’s quarterly magazine, free to all AANMA members. Call 800-878-4403 to join today!

About Mommy MD Guide Sigrid Payne DaVeiga, MD: Dr. DaVeiga is an Allergist at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. She sees patients at the CHOP Subspecialty Care Center in Exton, Pennsylvania. She received her BS/BA in Biochemistry and English at Georgetown University. She completed her MD at Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine. She completed her internship, residency and was Chief Resident of Pediatrics at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She completed her Fellowship training in Allergy and Immunology at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Cleveland, Ohio. She has spoken about allergic conditions on a local and national level and has published multiple publications in peer reviewed Allergy journals, including the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology and Allergy and Asthma Proceedings. She is an active member of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. She is also a MommyMDGuide at www.MommyMDGuides.com

When I’m 18

August 14, 2011 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

by Julie Davidson

Remember as a kid looking forward to getting older? Getting set for that next big thing? Attaining a certain right of passage.

I had a list of things I couldn’t wait for when I was young. Getting my ears pierced, wearing makeup, getting my driver’s license, having a boyfriend.

When my youngest, Maxon, was five years old he announced, “I can’t wait til I’m 18, so I can have guns and smoke.” I was stunned. Guns and smoke? I felt like adding, Don’t forget the booze and trampy women. But I couldn’t. I was speechless (which rarely happens).

I mean, hadn’t we set a good example of positive things to work for? Suddenly I had visions of my son living his version of the “good” life. Yep. Mr. Cool walking around with a pack of Marlboros rolled up in his sleeve.

That was two years ago. I thought it would be interesting to find out if his answer had changed, so I asked him what he looks forward to about being 18 now. “Nothing.” Was his first response. Nice. This made the smokey treats look good.

On to the oldest. I was curious to hear if he was also looking forward to nothingness. He had a list of things he was excited to do when he turned 18. “ I can vote. I can drive a car and get a cell phone. I can buy my own stuff.” Okay, I was feeling better now.

I gave it a rest for a little while, but my Virgo instinct told me I had to get back to that question for my youngest son. But I modified it a bit. This time I asked him what he wanted to be when he grows up.

He told me he wanted to be a police officer. Now, we’re getting somewhere. That was far from doing nothing. But I decided not to ask anymore questions. Those answers are likely to change every time I ask.

Manners: Always in Style

April 8, 2011 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

by guest blogger Jennifer Goldsmith Cerra

The older I get, the harder it is to remember that I once was a child. Yes, I really was six, like our son Luke is now. He’s six in 2011; I was six in 1973. A simpler time, perhaps, compared to today, but let’s face it: while Elton John trilled Crocodile Rock, Walter Cronkite told us of Watergate, Vietnam, and inflation. Was I really six then? Yes. Today, Luke is growing up in an era of similar distrust of government, wars in progress, and economic challenge.

So while times change, they often stay the same.

Some things, however, are timeless. Values, empathy, caring for others. These important principles just don’t change in any decade. A recent trip to a local educational store brought that home – right into our home. Browsing the aisles, I spotted and bought a game called Mind Your Manners. Likely developed in the 1980s, this simple card game designed for kids 4 and up reinforces the importance of good manners at home and in public places.

Luke loves it. He asks us to play it every night. I like it because it’s the kind of game I can imagine my mom playing with me at that age.

The other night, Luke talked to my husband about something he’d learned from the game. “Daddy, you have to take your hat off when eating! That’s what I read on the card!” This is from a six-year-old who often likes silly Ace Ventura-type comedy gags (smelly though they may be!).

I guess you’re never too old – or too young – for good manners. In any year.

A real breakthrough, when I least expected it. Like a lot of moments in the parenthood journey, you take your opportunity when it presents itself, and are grateful for the chance.

Passing the Torch of Responsibility

April 4, 2011 by  
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Guest post by Michele Howe, author of Burdens Do a Body Good, Single Parenting Columnist

Kids make messes. Big messes. Small messes. Some we can laugh about, others, not so much. Little kids with chocolate smeared faces and sticky fingers can make us smile. Big kids with bad attitudes, failing grades, and a speeding ticket can make us weep. Messes, they’re a part of life and we might well ask how much of our time is spent cleaning them up, our messes and those of our kids. If we’re real honest, sometimes the two overlap and maybe, just maybe…our parental messes cause or provoke some of those our kids get mired in. Then again, maybe not. Messy stuff.

Either way, a mess of any significant proportion has to be faced and dealt with sooner rather than later. As parents we want to believe that we’ve done all we can to prepare our children for adulthood and for that next step of independence they’re continually clamoring for. And yet when we adopt that no longer helpful, “let me fix it for you” response to our older children’s actions, it gives us away. At this important stepping out juncture, we must ask ourselves hard questions. Are we enabling (excusing) or ennobling (exhorting) our offspring through our intervention? Mind-boggling, isn’t it, the mess we make by not understanding the difference. Moms enable their kids when they excuse or make excuse for their children’s poor choices. Moms can ennoble their kids by doing precisely the opposite. No excuses. No justifying. No condoning. Nothing doing. Nope. None of that. Not now, not ever. Not even a possibility. Clean it up, now. Mind your own mess.

Women, who give way and make excuses for their kids’ behavior, find it is easier in the short run. The kids don’t grouse or complain and they walk away feeling like they got away with something. And really, we know they didn’t, they know they didn’t. There’s no escaping from the repercussions of our decisions, be they little or large and to give kids a false sense of security on this front is mindlessly shortsighted at best. At worst, the messes our kids will make with their lives if they believe they can do what they want, when they want, and with whom they want, will only hurt them (and others) over the long stretch of adulthood.

Kids with moms who are perpetually cleaning up after them are (or likely will be) young adults who are ill equipped to stay in school, enter the job force, or sustain any type of lasting relationship…just won’t happen, especially when life gets messy-hard (and it will). Their messes will continue to getter bigger and more confounding, and with ever-widening circles of clutter. Messier and messier. Until no one, not even their family will want to get close enough to even attempt to unravel the monstrosity.

When moms excuse their kids from living responsibly it’s a simple case of “benign neglect” which in medical speak means, “watching a problem clinically without really treating it.” Moms can sit and observe their kids’ behavior while doing absolutely nothing about treating (or correcting it). This type of parental neglect couldn’t be more detrimental. Not to forget self-perpetuating. One mess-ridden pile on top of another. Painful. Neglectful. And it could be…preventable.

Takeaway Action Thought: While not all parent/child relational messes are avoidable, many of them are preventable.

Weight Bearing Exercises

Women are experts at cleaning up other people’s messes. Just comes naturally, that nurturing bent to help someone get through a tough time, overcome a difficulty, or simply walk alongside in friendly fashion. When it comes to taking care of their young adult children, roles necessarily shift and women can no longer dictate in their former “what’s best for you” mom-mode. Still, armed with facts in hand, moms can continue to be the “go-to person” when their kids have questions, concerns, or just aren’t sure. Given their kids will come to them for advice, moms need to know some of the mistakes made most often in health-related issues. See below for some of the commonest taken for granted areas of good health.

FACT: Children, teens and young adults live for the moment. From their standpoint, today is all that matters, tomorrow is too far away. As a result, they seldom think about what they do today and how it will affect them tomorrow or next month or even in years to come. Young people have little awareness that today’s choices can have profound effects on their health as an adult.

STATISTICS: According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 16 percent of today’s children ages 6 to 19 are overweight. This percentage represents 9 million children. Alarmingly, the number has tripled since 1980. The obese child is at risk for numerous health problems. These include diabetes, coronary artery disease, asthma, hypertension and sleep apnea.

PREVENTION: Experts agree that inactivity and poor eating habits contribute to obesity. National guidelines recommend 150 minutes of physical activity each week for elementary children and 225 minutes for older children. Most children do not meet this modest level of physical activity on a weekly basis.

CONSEQUENCES: It is important for parents to ensure that their children (teens, and young adults) eat a healthy balanced diet and exercise regularly. The CDC reports that 80 percent of obese 10-15 years olds become obese adults. Clearly, it is vital for parents to set the bar early on for a healthy weight and activity level as failure to do so will likely carry a lifetime of obesity related problems.

The Secret to Conversation

April 3, 2011 by  
Filed under J.Bright

I didn’t learn the secret to conversation until I was well into my twenties. The best way to get a conversation going, or revive a flagging one, is to simply ask a question. I was such a shy kid and teen, and it’s amazing to think of how different my life would have been if I had learned this simple lesson earlier.

That’s why I’ve been so pleased and delighted to hear my son Tyler, now age 5, ask simple questions, with honest interest. When my husband gets home from work, Tyler asks, “How was work, Dad? Did you have a lot of fire calls?” When I get home from grocery shopping, he asks, “How was the store, Mom?” What a joy to see him learning this simple technique so early in life.

Resolution Update

March 9, 2011 by  
Filed under J.Bright

Having posted about my New Year’s Resolutions, I feel compelled to update you. I have good news and bad news.

The good news is that my resolution to spend the hour after supper, before bedtime prep, playing with my kids has been wonderfully successful! It can be hard to ignore the call of the email, chores, etc, but I’m doing well focusing on my family at that time. We play games, dance in the basement, play with trains, pretty much whatever my sons want to do. The best part was, a few days ago, my son Tyler (age five) was talking about the best part of his day, and he said, “I know what the best part of your day is, Mommy, playtime after supper.” And he’s right!

Now the bad news: My other resolution was to lose the 12 pounds that have crept onto my 5’2″ frame over the past three years. I had been trying to just eat less. That has not worked out. One of my favorite expressions is from Weight Watchers: If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got. And so I know I have to try something different. I’ve gone back to the tried-and-true method of counting Weight Watchers points. And I’m keeping my hands busy during the “witching” snack hour after my boys have gone to bed, while I watch tv. My friend Rallie gave me a Knifty Knitter, and so far I’ve knitted five hats to donate to charity! Here’s hoping I can get that scale to budge. Stay tuned!

Follow Your Instincts

March 7, 2011 by  
Filed under J.Bright

Last night, my son Tyler (age five), woke me around 3 am. He was really feeling badly, sore throat, upset belly, and a 100.4°F temperature. Uhoh, I thought. We’ve been down this road before. Tyler has had this combination three times in the past, and every time it was strep throat. I was sure I’d be calling the pediatrician at 8 am.

In the light of day, with a dose of Tylenol in him though, Tyler seemed much better. He said that his throat didn’t hurt that badly, and his temperature was only 99°F. Part of me was tempted to wait it out. But I decided to go with my instincts overnight, and I called the pediatrician at 8.

When the doctor looked at his throat, she didn’t think he was sick. But lo and behold, the results of the throat culture: Strep! Thank goodness, we caught it early, and with TLC and antibiotics, Tyler will be just fine. But I’m sure glad I listened to my instincts!

Say “Cheese”

March 6, 2011 by  
Filed under J.Bright

It’s hard to believe, but Austin, my “baby,” will turn four years old in a few weeks! When I look at him, I still see a beautiful baby, but I’m sure other people see a handsome little boy.

When my older son, Tyler, (age five), was born a dear friend of mine gave me a membership to a photo place called the Picture People. I took Tyler there each month his first year to have his photo taken. My husband thought I was nuts. Each month, I bought a sheet of wallet-sized photos and two 5X7s. I sent wallets to my parents, in-laws, each of our siblings, and a few close friends. We sent one 5X7 to my inlaws, who live far from here, and I saved the other 5X7 to hang on our wall.

Lo and behold, after a few short months, our family started to ask us, “Where’s this month’s photo?” They didn’t think it was silly at all, and they enjoyed seeing our baby grow as much as we did. After that first year, I’ve had Tyler’s photo taken once a year on his birthday. Then when Austin was born, I did the same: I had his photo taken once a month for his first year and then once a year after that. Each year at Christmas, I have their photos taken together to send out with cards.

I have to admit, I’ve spent many agonizing moments at the Picture Place, and now Portrait Innovations, which opened up closer to my home, about the cost. But in hindsight, I haven’t regretted a single cent that I spent on those photos. They are precious to me.

TIme to make the appointment for Austin’s photo! I can’t wait!

The Coin Game!

January 20, 2011 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

How do you teach five- and three-year-olds the coins? I wanted to make it fun for my sons, Tyler and Austin, and so I invented the coin game! Here’s how to play.

I set out a penny, nickle, dime, and quarter before each boy. Then they name them. If they get them right, they keep them. Get them wrong, I keep them! Needless to say, they love the coin game and would play it several times a day if I’d let them!

Now we’re moving on to identifying the coin values: 1 cent, 5 cents, 10 cents, 25 cents. If they get those right, they get to keep the coins.

The One-Emotion-at-a-Time Trick

January 15, 2011 by  
Filed under J.Bright

I tend to be a worrier. (This will not come as a surprise to anyone who knows me at all!) Recently, I read that you can only experience one emotion at a time. So when I’m feeling anxious (such as before a four-hour-drive to visit my inlaws), I try instead to think about how I’m excited (such as to see my husband’s family and enjoy my kids spending time with them).

I learned this so very late in life! My one son also tends to be a worrier like me. He often feels nervous before going to school each morning. “Mommy, my belly feels sick. I don’t feel up to going to school,” he’d say. I explained to him about the one-emotion-at-a-time trick, and I worked with him for a few days to come up with things he was looking forward to at school, things to be excited about.

I felt positively joyful, and proud, yesterday when before school, my son told me, “Mommy, you know what I’m excited about today? I’m excited to give my teacher her glue sticks!” (We had bought some glue sticks because she had run out!) I will be very happy if my son can learn this wonderful skill at such a young age–rather than having to wait until he’s 40 like me!

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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.