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Daily Dose Ep16: Best Vacuum for my Allergic Kid

 

I’m a little too excited for our new Dyson vacuum lol..

Ever wondered what household products are suitable for your child who might be sensitive to allergies like dust mites, mould, smoke, perfume etc…?

The National Asthma Council of Australia has a useful website called Sensitive Choice (https://www.sensitivechoice.com/products-services/) which is a non-profit that gives stamps of approval for products ranging from house paint to roof insulation to you guessed it, vacuum cleaners.

When choosing a vacuum cleaner, go for one with the Blue Butterfly stamp of approval. They will have high level HEPA filters meaning? the air coming out is cleaner than the air that went in! Other vacuums won’t fully trap all the dust and dirt – yikes!

Some even have carbon filters to absorb gases like the “new-paint” smell (avoid moving into a freshly painted room for at least a day, the longer the better), or the smell of house-hold bleach (another good reason to strictly keep them out of reach of children)

During spring season its bad enough to have pollen counts rising outdoors, but indoors, you can do your bit with the right choices of household products =)

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Daily Dose Ep9: Iron Deficiency and Alternatives to Ferro-Liquid

Alternatives to Ferro-Liquid (currently out of stock, July 2019)

Parents, are your kids deficient in Iron but you struggle to find an alternative to Ferro Liquid?

I did some research today into the main causes of iron deficiency, and share with you the currently available products (Maltofer, BioCeuticals Liquid Iron, and SpaTone) as well as a comparison of their pros and cons.

How Do I Take Iron?

Something I forgot to add in the video is when you can take iron with food and when NOT to. Some forms of iron bind to food and therefore won’t be absorbed as well.

Ferro-Liquid and SpaTone: best empty stomach (but do eat about 15 minutes afterward else iron itself may upset your tummy)

Maltofer: best with food

BioCeuticals Liquid Iron: with juice or water

What To Expect

  • Your poop is going to look black-this is completely normal
  • Black teeth: remember to brush after taking a dose!
  • Constipation and Nausea may occur (More common with Ferro-Liquid)

Side by Side Comparison

Brand Form of Iron Concentration of elemental iron Suitable from
Ferro-Liquid Ferrous sulphate 6mg/mL 2 years
BioCeuticals Liquid Iron* Ferric pyrophosphate 1mg/mL 2 years
SpaTone sachets Ferrous iron 1mg/mL 2 years
Maltofer Syrup Iron Polymaltose 10mg/mL 12 years

*Requires GP or Naturopath or Pharmacist advice before buying

From the table its clear that Maltofer is the most potent yet on the box it doesnt allow for dosing in kids under 12yo which is strange.

The alternatives are then the BioCeuticals or the SpaTone sachets.

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DAILY DOSE EP5: FLU SHOTS

BOOK YOUR SHOT TODAY

BOOK YOUR SHOT TODAY

WINTER IS COMING

Winter season is almost in full swing: protect your family, your kids, your elder folks through herd immunity.

HERD IMMUNITY

Herd immunity, a concept from pack animals like bison, is the concept of protecting the vulnerable within the middle of the pack by having those on the outside a.k.a. vaccinated adults while vulnerable children and elderly are inside the circle protected against the flu virus.

WHY DO THIS

Why do this? Kids under 6 months are too young to get the vaccine, and some elderly people may forget to get a flu shot. Not surprisingly also, these are the most vulnerable groups in our community.

HOW TO GET THE SHOT

So protect your family today, come in, roll up your sleeve, the flu shot is just $19.95 and for 20 minutes of your time.

xoxo @coachvien

BOOK YOUR SHOT TODAY

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Recognizing Signs of Asthma Attacks

 

The reason some children suffer asthma and not others isn’t 100% clear but its partly genetics. Of course this shouldn’t cramp your child’s playtime! Speak to your doctor about safe and effective medications tailored just to your child’s needs and remember to write up an asthma action plan-a simple step by step guide to walk you through times of emergency-just as you has an evacuation plan, this is a plan for your child.

This video is made upon request by one of our Instagram followers who asked me what signs she should look out for during as asthma attack beside the skin tugging (which I’ll explain later). For everyone else watching, it could be a life-saver because recognizing the signs of an asthma attack and acting quickly is the goal of the day.
Asthma attacks occur when the body recognizes foreign particles entering the body and as a natural defense mechanism, limits the air flow to minimize further exposure. This air flow limitation causes the difficulty breathing, the wheezing sound you hear and the coughing fits.

Triggers include viruses or bacteria (the same ones as during a cold),passive cigarette smoke, weather changes (even when the air is coldest such as early morning or late at night), the reflux of acid and food from the stomach, and environmental irritants such as saw dust from daddy’s man cave.

Minor Signs

Where do you look to recognize the signs of an asthma attack? Immediate ones that may come to your mind include: 1) rapid breathing 2) wheezing and 3) coughing. And you would be correct. These are the early signs of MINOR attack. SIT THEM UP STRAIGHT, Pull out the Ventolin and Spacer.

Severe signs

A SEVERE attack would look a little different. Your child may or may NOT be coughing and wheezing because by now they’re exhausted from all that coughing! Think of the last time you coughed so hard it hurt! Another reason they’d be tired is because the air flow is so limited, your child will be using every muscle they have in their chest to expand those lungs. So look for signs of 4) tiredness on the face-your child may even tell you their 5) tummy is sore because of their abdominal muscles being utilized. 6) Now our friend on Instagram mentioned skin tugging, what is that? It’s when those same abdominal muscles are working over-time expanding and contracting so much so that the surround soft skin gets stretched taut giving rise to the term tugging. The medical term for this is retractions. It’s most obvious around the neck area and ribs (I’ll stick a picture here for you to see). In a SEVERE attack, call ambulance 000 SIT THEM UP STRAIGHT and give Ventolin whilst you wait.

Life Threatening Signs

Now this third and last stage during an asthma attack is rare but is a MEDICAL EMERGENCY! It is life-threatening and you must call ambulance 000 SIT THEM UP STRAIGHT and also give Ventolin whilst you wait. Signs to look out for: exhaustion, gasping for air, NO cough or wheeze-remember you’re too tired to even cough or breathe so if there’s no air flow, there’s no wheezing sound, confusion and blue lips.

If there’s ONE thing you took from this video, it’s to call 000 even when you’re unsure of the degree of asthma. Delays can be deadly.

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Your baby lacks Vitamin D from the Breast

Did you know that babies cannot rely on breast milk to get sufficient vitamin D for their growing bones?

Instead they get Vitamin D through the maternal blood supply-which if low, means your baby is born low.

It’s the reason why doctors frequently check Vitamin D levels and why IVF mums get put on high dose vitamin D.

How much vitamin D do you need?

If you’re living in Sydney during spring, summer, or autumn: 6-8mins at 10am or 2pm; and during winter: 15 minutes at midday. No need for sunscreen for this purpose.

If you’re planning on extended outdoor activities, check the UV index. UV Index 3 or above, use sunscreen. Below 3 not to worry generally speaking.

UV Index 3
Source: Council Council Victoria

Where do you check the UV index? On iPhone it’s built into the weather app. Load it the swipe up.

For Android it’s probably the same. There’s also an app called SunSmart that gives you alerts for when the UV index rises above 3. Download it here: http://www.sunsmart.com.au/tools/interactive-tools/free-sunsmart-app

Finally,  for the like-minded geeks out there here are statistics on UV Index across major Australian cities over the four seasons.

UV Index calender
Source: Council Council Victoria

Soak up that sun fellow sunseekers!

xoxo

Vien

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Kid’s Hives: the most frequent concern among Young Parents

The most common issue I see in pharmacy no matter where I work is hives aka rashes-both in kids and adults.

It’s the freakiest thing-to see your kid’s skin angry and red, blotchy and spread.

In the video above I’m gonna share my personal experience with never before seen photos of my hives.

I’ll explain why hives occur and a simple method to find the root cause.

“Often it’s rarely what you did today, but rather the factors leading up to it. The stresses on your immune system.”

Our immunity is like a battery and it can quickly run flat. Charging it up is simple but so many times we get it wrong. We try quick fixes like buying a new battery!

The pillars for charging this battery are: 8-10hrs sleep , good nutrition , hydration .

Where a boost is needed, I always turn to a good probiotic powder* for kids. (*See below for my recommendations)

Watch out for unwitting stacking of stresses on our kids. These include recent colds, ear infections, gastro, off ones food, dehydration.

On their own the stresses won’t cause hives but together they set the scene for a weakened immune system.

When our body reaches a tipping point, that’s when it will “react” with inflammation aka hives aka redness, itching, swelling.

This is when we reach for anti-histamines (anti-inflammation) but notice the initial gap in treatment. We haven’t dealt with underlying stresses when we pop a Zyrtec or other.

The pillars for charging this battery are: 8-10hrs sleep, good nutrition, and hydration.

That’s why I always take a full history whenever mums and dads come in with their kids. Sure I’ll give them the quick fix but I always address the underlying issues too.

If you found this informative leave a Reply below and Share it on. Bless ur health.  Vien

 

*There are so many brands of probiotics now, some kept in the fridge others outside. Exciting indications exist claiming to fix eczema, improve allergies, moderate cholesterol etc..I stick with what I know and that’s: Inner Health for Kids Powder 0-12yrs. It’s got the three main bacterium that normally colonize our guts.

Would like to know where to get probiotics?

Call us on 02 8068 7131

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5 Quick Hacks to Soothe your Baby’s Teething

teething
Photo Credit: www.babycenter.com.au

They always said your baby would grow up fast. Who knew teething would be one of the headache milestones. Fun fact: adults have up to 32 teeth! That’s 32x the fun lols

Growing teeth is a gradual process and as parents it’s good to note that signs and symptoms and start up to one month before the actual teeth “cuts” through the gum.

Signs your baby is teething:

  • more irritable that usual
  • tugs and the ear lobe
  • drools more
  • runs a fever/temperature
  • has watery diarrhoea (as he/she swallows the excess mucus)

Sample the chart below to see the different milestones for teeth:

Without further ado, 5 Hacks to Sooth your Baby:

1. Warm baths + Body Lotion

As simple as it sounds, it may just do the trick. Try body lotions with lavender or chamomile which can soothe and calm jittery nerves.

2. Chilled Teething Ring/Frozen fruit+veg

Throw the teething ring into the fridge for half an hour and that will provide soothing cold relief for inflammed gums. Another one is a cold carrot or an apple core

3. Teething Gel

Bonjela or generics of it will give fast relief. Apply every three hours as required. Only use from 4months+

4. Analgesics

Panadol and Nurofen for infants are a mainstay. Keep these handy. Use either one first, if no relief after one hour add the other. Keep in mind that Panadol can be given every 6hrs (max 4 times per day) and Nurofen given every 8hrs (max 3 times per day)

5. Amber

Amber is a long fossilized tree resin formed millions of years ago. I’m personally kind of skeptical but if all of the above hasn’t worked for your child…then it won’t hurt to try. Comes in beads on a string for use as a bracelet or necklace. When buying these make sure individual beads are glued to the string to ensure safety such as when the string breaks-minimizing choke or slip hazard.

Bonus tip

rub on some Sudocrem or Pawpaw around the chin area to form a nice barrier against excess drooling which can macerate the skin (sudocrem is the better of the two at this).

Teeth Care and Maintenance (aka user manual)

Under 1.5 years

Clean gums daily with a dampened cloth or face towel. Gaps in gums are hotspots for food chunks and thus bacterial growth.

At 1.5years

Start a low-flouride toothpaste once daily

At 2 years

Low-flouride toothpaste brush twice daily.

At 6 years

Use adult’s full strength fluoride toothpaste twice daily

Handy tips:

Avoid putting bubs to sleep with the bottle in mouth. Milk after all contains natural sugars (including lactose) which bacteria just love and will cause teeth decay. Once I saw a young boy no more than 7years of age have four teeth removed because of this.

Make going to the dentist a familiar experience by bring baby along to your own dental appointments. Once bubs has his/her own teeth, they can be individually booked in.

See your doctor if:

  • bubs is inconsolable
  • runs a high fever for two or more days
  • Is age 18 months and has not had any teeth come in.
  • Has visible signs of tooth decay.
  • Has permanent teeth coming in before the primary teeth are lost, resulting in a double row of teeth.
  • Has a small jaw or a birth defect of the mouth or jaw, such as cleft palate.
  • Has any facial injury that has damaged a tooth or gums.

Further Reading:

https://www.babycenter.com.au/a6574/developmental-milestones-teething

Indiana State Department of Health

http://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/tc/teething-when-to-call-a-doctor

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Can probiotics benefit children with autism spectrum disorders?

WELCOME TO THE FIRST IN A SERIES OF ‘WHAT’S OUR TAKE ON IT!?’ 

(We read scientific journals and distill the core ideas into bite-sized, easy-to-read English!)

First the formalities…todays journal is from Houston, Texas, USA and poses the question-do probiotics work for our kids with autism? Click the link below if you want to see the full article:

Navarro F, Liu Y, Rhoads JM. Can probiotics benefit children with autism spectrum disorders? World Journal of Gastroenterology. 2016;22(46):10093-10102. doi:10.3748/wjg.v22.i46.10093. Click here for original text

IMO probiotics are a confusing lot! Walk into any good pharmacy these days and they’ll present you with a 20+ selection to choose from. Combine these with the new ones coming out each year and it’s easy to fall behind. Hence why I’m looking at some research data to see if I can make any sense of it for you.

Again I’m talking about autism, a topic I covered in the last blog [insert link] because I’m starting to see more and more of it daily. I also think probiotics are cutting edge stuff yet still cloaked in mystique.

INTRO

Good bacteria live inside us. There they perform things like digest the carbohydrates (sugars) we eat, manufacture vitamins, help absorb nutrients, boost our immune system and the list goes on. Because they live in our gut, scientists believe they are involved with common symptoms like diarrhea, bloating, constipation, and stomach aches. To be precise, scientists think that when there’s an imbalance of good vs bad bacteria…it can cause said problems. Their Question is: Do probiotics help kids with autism-specifically their gut problems?

BACKGROUND

When two events happen at the same time and a definite link can be found…it’s called a causation. When there is a possibility (but unconfirmed) of a link…its called a correlation. Scientists think there’s an correlation between autism and their gut problems. i.e. 40% of autistic kids have gut problems. Fix the gut fix the autism? Not so fast!

What problems?

..feeding abnormalities, gastroesophageal reflux, abdominal pain, diarrhea, fecal incontinence, constipation, and alternating diarrhea and constipation.

HYPOTHESIS

Theories abound for why autistic kids have more gut issues. One of these is inflammation. When you sprain your ankle, it starts to swell with blood; it hurts to touch-let alone walk on; and it looks pinkish-red. This is inflammation and it can happen on a smaller scale inside your gut. Scientists can measure things like cytokines and special sugars and enzymes to say Yes there’s something going on. Unfortunately the evidence isn’t clear cut. One group says one thing and another the opposite.

Another theory is that autistic kids have guts that are just more sensitive to stimuli such as various foods in our diet. Their symptoms resemble those of adults who have IBS. So maybe it’s just IBS that our kids have and the gut problems have no link to autism?

THE DATA

So if probiotics can perform wonderful things, why not just stick them in the gut? There’s a 1000 species of bacteria in our gut and in total their numbers are in the trillions. We just don’t know what does what and where (stomach, small intestines, large intestines, etc). Scientists think that it’s not so much the bacteria but the by-products bacteria produce. Short-Chain Fatty Acids (SCFAs) are such a by-product which is supposed to affect our brain chemicals (neurotransmitters e.g. dopamine) as well as behaviour and moods.

Here are some examples:

Bifidobacterium bifidum – may help prevent leaky gut aka unwanted toxins getting absorbed… (tested in animals)

Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG) – may help reduce ADHD and Aspergers syndrome in the newborn. (tested in humans)

Lactobacillus reuteri – may help with behaviour issues (tested in animals)

 

CONCLUSION

All that said…scientists are still dumbfounded as to whether probiotics can definitely help [human] kids or not. First it’s an ethical question…if you knew your child was sick and needed treatment..would you sign them up to a clinical study where they might only get placebo tablets vs the real thing? I know I wouldn’t. So evidence is lacking. Our knowledge therefore is also lacking. Making informed decisions therefore is guesswork at best.

BLOGGER’S TAKE

So what’s a parent to do? Considering that most probiotics on the market are generally safe, my take on it is that you can trial and error your child on different brands for say 1-2 months, keep a bowel motion diary (many on iPhone/Android App stores) and stay in touch with your doctor. Exceptions to this advice would be and not limited to: those with weak immune systems e.g. HIV-AIDS, auto-immune conditions like lupus, organ transplant patients, patients with large sections of their gut removed through surgery, and/or patients with heart issues.