children covid

Mitigating the Mental Health Consequences to Children During COVID-19

If we are all honest with ourselves, we have all probably struggled mentally at one point or another throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Problems such as anxiety, suicide, and depression are on the rise. Sadly, over 47,000 individuals have lost their lives to suicide since the beginning of the pandemic

 

The feelings of uncertainty, changes in routine, social distancing, concern over the virus, and loss of income are all issues that can create a mental storm for anyone. Many times, we shelter our children from the news and think they are not affected by all that has gone on in the world. These times present new challenges and things we don’t know how to handle for all of us. Children are not exempt from these struggles. 

 

Quarantine, the sudden stop of the school year, missed activities and milestones are all possible reasons for dealing with mental stress for children. It is also common for children to internalize feelings they don’t understand or are not mature enough to deal with.

 

What changes may indicate a child is struggling mentally?

 

Children often react differently to mental distress than adults, making it more difficult for adults to recognize issues promptly. Here are some warning signs to be aware of: 

 

Unexplained body pain and headaches. 

Returning to behaviors they have outgrown (for example, toileting accidents or bedwetting).

Excessive irritation or crying in younger children.

Unhealthy sleep or eating habits. 

Excessive sadness or worry. 

Acting out and irritability in teens.

Decreased school performance and / or avoiding school.

Difficulty concentrating.

Use of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. 

Avoiding activities enjoyed in the past.

 

How can I positively impact my child’s mental health during COVID-19? 

 

Have a positive attitude about school 

 

How you react to the school year changes greatly impacts your own child’s attitude and anxiety level. If you remain positive, he or she will have less reluctance about returning to school. 

 

Spend time preparing your child for the changes that will take place this school year, whether online, on campus, or homeschooling.

 

If he or she will be wearing a mask to school, let them pick out masks that reflect their personality and interests. Have him or her practice wearing their mask, slowly increasing the amount of time each day to become accustomed to wearing it for the school day. Let him or her have extra screen time or do another enjoyable activity while mask-wearing. 

 

Have something to look forward to

 

With so many of our calendars cleared of events, life can feel a little monotonous. Make sure there is always something in the distant future to look forward to. 

 

Even if it is as simple as planning to watch a new movie with your child over the weekend, having “plans” makes us focus less on all the difficulty in the world right now and give some normalcy to our lives.

 

Spend time outdoors 

 

Fresh air and sunlight do the body good. Being in the sun increases your level of vitamin D, the vitamin which regulates calcium and phosphorus and leads to healthier teeth, bones, and muscles. It may also impact mental health by increasing the brain’s release of a hormone called serotonin. Serotonin boosts the mood and helps you feel focused and calm. 

 

If your child isn’t big on the outdoors, now is a good time to work to find an outdoor activity he or she will enjoy.  It may be a great time to find an activity that the whole family may enjoy as well. From swimming to hiking, to fishing, to practicing a sport- there are many great options! 

 

Promote a mental health-friendly diet 

 

In 2010, a study found that women who ate unhealthy diets common to our culture had more psychological symptoms. These food include:

 

processed and fried foods

sugary products

refined grains (such as white bread)

beer

 

Some diets may, on the other hand, lessen anxiety and depression. Some of the diets include the Mediterranean diet, lower-calorie diets, and intermittent fasting. 

 

Discern when to talk about it and when to shelter them 

 

Don’t assume because your child isn’t saying anything about the virus that he or she is not bothered by it. 

 

Focus on making age-appropriate questions without confusing your child or adding to their fears. Begin by asking questions such as, “What have you heard about the virus?” “What questions do you have about it?”

 

Your child may be worried about getting sick or you getting sick, especially if he or she knows someone who has been seriously ill or died from the virus. 

 

Kids of all ages can be taught the importance of handwashing and how germs are spread. Knowing there are healthy habits that can prevent the spread will help him or her feel more confident that he or she will be ok. 

 

Take time every day to build them up

 

Some days during a pandemic are just survival mode. Take a few moments every evening to discuss the good and bad of the day. Focus on asking specific questions instead of just “How was your day?” The linked article has a great list of questions to help get the conversation going with your child. 

 

No matter what, remind your child they are surviving something none of us have ever navigated before. Celebrate the small victories and strategize plans for conquering the challenges. 

 

Make them unplug

 

Social media can be a great source of entertainment and a way to stay connected with friends and family. Especially during a pandemic, many of us have been spending time online. However, too much time online can lead to unhealthy physical habits as well as emotional ones. Not only does the bad news make us anxious, but many teens and even adults also struggle with comparing themselves to others which can lead to feelings of inadequacy, anxiety, and depression. 

 

According to the BBC, unplugging, even for small periods of time can decrease anxiety. So, it may be a good idea to implement a time when your whole family unplugs. Especially consider unplugging in the evenings as we know screen time can affect sleep quality

 

If you suspect your child is struggling at this time with problems such as anxiety or depression, please reach out. Your CCMH Providers are here to help as we all navigate these challenging times. 

 

Disclaimer

The Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not provide specific medical advice for individual cases. Comanche County Memorial Hospital does not endorse any services obtained through information provided on this site, articles on the site or any links on this site.

Use of the information obtained by the Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not replace medical advice given by a qualified medical provider to meet the medical needs of our readers or others.

While content is frequently updated, medical information changes quickly. Information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies or typographical errors. For questions or concerns, please contact us at contact@ccmhhealth.com.

breastfeeding mom

Help the Environment by Breastfeeding Your Baby

August 1-7 is World Breastfeeding Week!  Over 120 countries recognize this impactful week for moms and babies.

It is widely recommended by physicians and health care authorities that mothers exclusively breastfeed their infants for the first six months of life and continue to breastfeed while introducing solids during the second half of the first year of life.

Breastfeeding has incredible health benefits for both moms and babies. However, an often-overlooked benefit is breastfeeding’s positive impact on the environment. There’s no better time than now to discuss it though. The theme of World Breastfeeding Week for 2020 is “Support breastfeeding for a healthier planet!”

 

How does breastfeeding impact the environment? 

Breastmilk is the most nutritionally balanced food for your baby. Breastmilk contains no preservatives, processing, or risk of contaminants.

In a way, breast milk is a renewable resource and saves energy! When feeding directly from the breast, there is no need to warm milk. You supply the perfect ingredients for your baby at just the right temperature!

Breastfeeding also reduces waste. It only requires the mom and baby’s body to make it happen! Bottles and formulas require a lot of packaging to produce, promote, and recycle. Therefore, breastfeeding is most efficient to reduce waste and save energy.

 

How does pumping breast milk affect the environment? 

Some moms prefer to pump instead of feed directly on the breast. This may be so others can feed baby while mom is away or due to issues with baby’s latch on the breast. A breast pump requires additional gear and storage products. However, it’s still more friendly to mother earth than formula feeding. Many products needed to pump are also reusable.

Upon the completion of a breastfeeding journey, some manufacturers also have a recycling program for their breast pumps.

 

If you are a mom who was able to breastfeed and did, we thank you! You have played a part to positively impact our planet and create a healthier society.

 

Learn about CCMH’s breastfeeding support provided to moms and babies through our “baby-friendly” designation.

Disclaimer

The Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not provide specific medical advice for individual cases. Comanche County Memorial Hospital does not endorse any services obtained through information provided on this site, articles on the site or any links on this site.

Use of the information obtained by the Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not replace medical advice given by a qualified medical provider to meet the medical needs of our readers or others.

While content is frequently updated, medical information changes quickly. Information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies or typographical errors. For questions or concerns, please contact us at contact@ccmhhealth.com.

girl with asthma allergies

New Study Shows Link Between Sleep and Asthma, Allergies in Teens

According to a study published in ERJ Open Research, teens that are prone to staying up and waking later are more likely to suffer from allergies and asthma compared to those who go to sleep and wake earlier.

Researchers have seen a strong link in the past between asthma symptoms and the body’s internal clock. However, this is the first study that considers how sleep preferences influence asthma risk in teens.

Researchers consider this study to be another piece of research that demonstrates the importance of sleep timing. They hope the study encourages new research into the effects of sleep on respiratory health.

The team chose to study the relationship between sleep and respiratory health because of the increasing worldwide prevalence of asthma and allergic diseases in children and adolescents. Tobacco smoke and pollution definitely account for this increase, but the team still feels there is more to learn.

 

Details of the study

The study took place in India among  1,684 adolescents, ages 13-14. Each participant reported symptoms such as a runny nose, sneezing, wheezing, or an asthma diagnosis. The teens answered questions about day/nighttime preferences and when they are typically sleepy. They also noted how tired they feel first thing in the morning and when they prefer to get up.

Researchers considered not only the symptoms and sleep preferences but other factors that affect allergies and asthma. These factors included whether their family members smoke and where the participants live.

 

Results of the study

The team discovered allergic rhinitis to be twice as high in late-sleepers and asthma was around three times higher.

The researchers noted that staying up late may not necessarily cause asthma, but we do know that the sleep hormone melatonin is many times out of sync for late-sleepers. This could influence the allergic response for teens.

The team hopes other researchers will be encouraged to join them in their efforts, and wonders if encouraging teens to unplug from screens which often keep them up later could help decrease asthma and allergy risk.

 

Plans for future research into the link between allergies, asthma and sleep

In 2028-29, the research team plans to begin a second phase of the study. The study will repeat with a new group of teenagers to see if there has been any changes in teen sleeping habits and respiratory health.

 

We know sleep is vitally important for many of the body’s functions and organs including the heart. To learn healthy sleep tips, visit ccmhhealth.com/center-for-sleep-medicine/sleep-tips.

 

Disclaimer

The Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not provide specific medical advice for individual cases. Comanche County Memorial Hospital does not endorse any services obtained through information provided on this site, articles on the site or any links on this site.

Use of the information obtained by the Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not replace medical advice given by a qualified medical provider to meet the medical needs of our readers or others.

While content is frequently updated, medical information changes quickly. Information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies or typographical errors. For questions or concerns, please contact us at contact@ccmhhealth.com.

kid with covid 19

FAQS: Covid-19 and Children

You have probably heard that children are less susceptible to COVID-19. However, it is understandable that parents are concerned for their children in regard to a novel virus that we are still learning about. Here is a summary of frequently asked questions parents have asked about the virus based on research provided by the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

 

Should my child wear a mask?

Children 2 years or older should wear a mask or cloth covering over their nose and mouth when in public. Of course, getting a toddler to wear a mask may present a challenge. Having a fabric they choose, letting them “help” make their mask if you make a homemade mask, and explaining that you will wear one too may help.

The CDC recommends wearing a mask in addition to social distancing, NOT in place of social distancing. Remember that the incubation period for the virus is around two weeks in some cases. So even if your child has no symptoms, wearing a covering could protect them from spreading the virus if he or she is asymptomatic.

 

Do children with COVID-19 have different symptoms than adults?

The symptoms of COVID-19 are the same for adults and children. Children, however, usually have milder symptoms. Reported symptoms in children include cold-like symptoms, including cough, fever and runny nose. Some have also reported vomiting and diarrhea.

Parents of children with underlying medical conditions and special healthcare needs should be cautious. We are still learning if certain conditions put children at higher risk.

 

How do I keep my child safe during the COVID-19 outbreak?

Practice the same advice given to adults. Limit your child’s contact with others outside of the home and practice social distancing. Limit your child’s interaction with elder adults and those at high risk as much as possible. Although COVID-19 may be milder for children, children often spread illnesses due to not having a hygiene routine.

Help children to develop a good hygiene routine by observing you. For younger children, you may which to teach them songs about handwashing or show them cartoons about developing a good hygiene routine. Slightly older children may benefit from videos

Children should not be going to playdates and other activities. If you must take your child to daycare because you are required to work outside of your home in an essential business, ensure your daycare is working to maintain your child’s safety at this time. The CDC has given special guidance for how daycare centers should operate during the COVID-19 outbreak.

 

No matter what, try to remain calm and limit your young child’s exposure to media. This is a difficult, confusing time for all of us. Maintaining a happy home and making the most of the situation by creating good memories of this time for children is so important. If you need ideas of how to thrive while isolating, check out this recent article.

 

For more resources on COVID-19, visit: ccmhhealth.com/covid-19-resources.

 

Disclaimer

The Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not provide specific medical advice for individual cases. Comanche County Memorial Hospital does not endorse any medical or professional services obtained through information provided on this site, articles on the site or any links on this site.

Use of the information obtained by the Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not replace medical advice given by a qualified medical provider to meet the medical needs of our readers or others.

While content is frequently updated, medical information changes quickly. Information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies or typographical errors. For questions or concerns, please contact us at contact@ccmhhealth.com.

boy playing with toys

Most Dangerous Toys of 2019

There is nothing quite like the joy of the holidays. The gatherings, the decorations, the gifts- these are just a few of the many things we all enjoy. However, that joy can quickly dissipate if a toy your child was eager to unwrap causes an injury! Every year, World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc. (WATCH) releases its list of most dangerous toys. We hope this information helps you to have a happy and safe holiday season.

 

The Top Ten Most Dangerous Toys of 2019

 

Note: The toys on the list are not the only hazardous toys on the market. Please use them as examples of hazards you should be aware of when making toy purchases. 

 

Viga Pull Along Caterpillar

 

Even though “crib toys” must adhere to the industry’s standard of strings with less than 12 “, pull toys are allowed to use cords of up to 24”. This makes this pull toy as well as others a strangulation and entanglement hazard for young children.

 

Learning Resource’s Spike the Fine Motor Hedgehog

 

This toy comes with 3.5″ removable, plastic quills for children 18 months+ to practice fine motor skills as they remove and replace the pieces. Children at this age are, of course, very prone to putting small items in their mouths. The plastic pieces can create a choking hazard.

 

Nickelodeon Frozen Treats Slime

 

Slime is one of the most popular toys among young children this year. However, many slime kits, including this one, come with a warning that it contains chemicals that can be harmful when misused. Marketing slime kits to appear as food items adds to the danger. Young children may be tempted to eat these tasty “treats”, but they should not be ingested.

 

Spin Master’s Bunchems Bunch’n Build 

 

This toy includes small balls designed to stick together so children can build whatever their imagination creates. However, not only are these small parts a choking hazard, but they also may cause entanglement issues in hair. If you allow your child to play with this toy, be sure to keep hair pulled back and pets away.

 

Hasbro’s Power Rangers Electronic Cheetah Claw

 

This toy may not be hazardous for your child but is for anyone else around them! The claw is inserted over the arm and is made of hard plastic. Discuss playing safely with this toy with your child, away from others, pets and breakable items.

 

Schylling’s Diecast School Bus

 

This toy does come with a choking hazard warning for small children. However, at first glance, it may seem harmless. The problem lies with the removable, firm rubber tires. This type of manufacturing is very common with toy vehicles and poses a serious choking threat.

 

Anstoy’s Electronic Toy Gun

 

This toy gun looks very real at first glance. Replicas of guns have sadly led to numerous, tragic deaths over the years. Please use extreme caution if allowing your children to play with toy weaponry.

 

Flybar’s Pogo Trick Board

 

This “pogo board” includes a large, high bouncing ball for children to stand on either side of while causing the board to bounce. Protective gear including knee and elbow pads, and helmets are a must with this toy!

 

Douglas Company’s Yeti Plush

 

This adorable stuffed animal includes long hair which may be ingested leading to aspiration. This toy is a great example that age recommendations are not always well thought out. This toy is labeled with a recommendation of 24 months and up.

 

 

Even if none of these exact toys are on your list, we hope these examples help you think twice before you assume all toys labeled as “safe” for your child’s age actually are. We wish you a happy and safe holiday season!

 

Disclaimer 

 

The Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not provide specific medical advice for individual cases. Comanche County Memorial Hospital does not endorse any medical or professional services obtained through information provided on this site, articles on the site or any links on this site.

 

Use of the information obtained by the Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not replace medical advice given by a qualified medical provider to meet the medical needs of our readers or others.

 

While content is frequently updated, medical information changes quickly. Information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies or typographical errors. For questions or concerns, please contact us at contact@ccmhhealth.com.

young football player

Football Safety Tips

Many parents have mixed feelings about their children playing contact sports such as football and rightfully so. Injuries in these sports are common. There is nothing you can do to prevent 100% of football injuries from happening. However, from wearing the proper gear to ensuring your child follows certain techniques during practice and on game day, there are many great tips you can follow to prevent a good number of football-related incidents. 

 

Football gear for safety 

If you have the option to purchase your child’s helmet yourself, familiarize yourself with the helmet safety guidelines determined by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE)

Helmets should have a thick layer of padding surrounded by a hard plastic outer shell. They should also have facemasks produced from coated carbon steel that are secured to the helmet. Depending on the position your child plays, his or her coach may recommend a particular type of facemask. Lastly, helmets should be secured with a chin strap and protective chin cup. 

Additionally, all players should have shoulder pads with a hard plastic shell and thick padding. Pants should have padding on the knees, hips, tailbone, and thighs, and all players should wear a mouthguard. Male players should wear an athletic supporter with a cup to prevent testicular injuries.

Each league has its own rules regarding the types of shoes and cleats players can use. 

Other items that you might want to consider include “flak jackets” to protect the abdomen and rib cage, forearm pads, padded neck rolls, and padded or non-padded gloves.

If your child must wear glasses during football, be sure that they’re shatterproof. 

 

Football training tips

During practice, the coach should emphasize safe and fair practices among players. Physical contact should be less during practice including helmet-to-helmet and helmet-to-body contact. He or she should insist on all players wearing the correct protective gear as well. Coaches should teach players proper techniques including how to tackle, how to absorb a tackle, and how to fall safely to the ground when tackled. 

To prevent injuries, take your child for a sports physical before starting a new sport. Remind him to stretch and warm up before playing. Overuse injuries can be avoided by playing different sports throughout the year. 

Ensure your child drinks plenty of fluids before and after games and practices, especially on hot days. 

 

Safe Game Tips 

Discuss the safety rules implemented during practice with your child and following them during games. Encourage your child to not argue with referees and be respectful to everyone. Encourage him to stay calm and let his coach and referee know if another player attempts to injure him on purpose. 

 

 

Lawton Community Health Centers (LCHC) located in Lawton, Comanche, Elgin, Marlow, and Cache communities are available to help with school and sports physicals, verify immunizations are current and discuss any other medical or nutrition concerns with parents. For more information or to make an appointment with one of our LCHC clinics please call our Provider Referral Line at 580.510.7030.

 

 

Disclaimer 

 

The Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not provide specific medical advice for individual cases. Comanche County Memorial Hospital does not endorse any medical or professional services obtained through information provided on this site, articles on the site or any links on this site.

Use of the information obtained by the Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not replace medical advice given by a qualified medical provider to meet the medical needs of our readers or others.

While content is frequently updated, medical information changes quickly. Information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies or typographical errors. For questions or concerns, please contact us at contact@ccmhhealth.com.

kids in school

Back-To- School Health Tips

Without warning, summer flies by, and suddenly it is time to go back to school! It is easy to become overwhelmed with all of the many things on our back to school lists like shopping for school supplies and new clothes. However, it is important to add a few tasks on your list that are more important than new tennis shoes. Here are four tips to help your child have a happy, healthy and successful school year! 

 

Make sure sleep needs are met 

 

Did you know that the majority of children in the U.S. do not get enough sleep? Some studies show as much as 70% are sleep deprived depending on the age breakdown! To encourage healthy sleep hygiene, remove electronic devices from your child’s reach an hour before bedtime. Darken sleeping areas as it is still very light at bedtime in the summer months. Limit caffeine intake, especially in the afternoon. 

 

How much sleep is enough? For preschoolers (age 3-5) The National Sleep Foundation recommends 10-13 hours. School-aged children should sleep 7-8 hours, and teens should sleep at least seven hours. 

 

Fight off school illnesses 

 

Closer contact with more students means closer contact with more germs. Ward off illnesses with healthy habits! During the lazy days of summer, comfort foods and treats may be a normal part of your child’s diet. School time is a great time to implement a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, a daily multivitamin and plenty of water. Hand washing is a must, but attaching hand sanitizer to your child’s backpack when the restroom isn’t readily available is a good idea too. 

 

To learn more about preventing specific illnesses, check out our article “Back-to-School Illnesses.”

 

Schedule your child a checkup 

 

All student-athletes should have sports physicals, but annual checkups are recommended rather your child plays sports or not. At your child’s check-up, the physician will discuss any needed immunizations, nutrition needs, and any other health concerns you may have. 

 

If your child does not have a regular pediatrician or primary care physician, consider reaching out to one of our Lawton Community Health Centers conveniently located in four communities throughout the area. 

 

Don’t miss out on the chance to visit with your child’s teacher 

 

Many parents do not take advantage of the opportunities offered to meet with their child’s teacher. Even if your child’s grades are fine, don’t assume everything at school is fine. Take the time to attend parent-teacher conferences. 

 

Many teachers undergo training to recognize a variety of problems that may affect your child’s school performance and health. The more specific questions you ask about your child’s performance, the more productive these conferences will be. Vision problems, depression, anxiety- sometimes it takes a teacher and parenting meeting together to discover concerns that require medical attention.

 

We hope the 2019-2020 school year is the best year ever for you and your family!

 

Disclaimer 

 

The Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not provide specific medical advice for individual cases. Comanche County Memorial Hospital does not endorse any medical or professional services obtained through information provided on this site, articles on the site or any links on this site.

 

Use of the information obtained by the Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not replace medical advice given by a qualified medical provider to meet the medical needs of our readers or others.

 

While content is frequently updated, medical information changes quickly. Information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies or typographical errors. For questions or concerns, please contact us at contact@ccmhhealth.com.

girl wearing contact lenses

Is Your Child Ready for Contact Lenses?

August 19-23 is Contact Lens Health Week! One concern you may have regarding contact lenses is knowing when it is safe for your child to ditch their glasses and begin wearing contacts. There is no perfect age when it comes to your child being contact ready; it is more a matter of maturity. Even babies can wear contacts for certain conditions such as cataracts. If your child is begging to give contacts a try, here are five signs he may be ready. 

 

She brought the idea up

 

This may seem like an obvious reason for readiness. However, a child who asks to get contacts should be more motivated to take care of them himself than a child who did not have the idea until it was mentioned. 

 

He plays sports

 

Contact lenses are a great option for children who participate in sports. Good vision is especially important during sports and children have more options for protective eyewear than with glasses. Additionally, they don’t have to worry about their glasses slipping due to sweat or getting broken glass in their face by accidental impact.

 

She is hygienic and clean 

 

If your child has a love for getting dirty, this is ok. However, it may not be the right time to begin wearing contacts. Unclean contacts add risk for eye infections. 

 

He does chores without constant reminders 

 

No one wants to nag their children to do chores. If you constantly must remind your child to do things, taking proper care of their contacts will be one more thing on this list. If they’re simply not mature enough, contacts can be a great accomplishment in years to come. Contacts may also be a great incentive to mature in the coming months if they’re not acting mature as you know they could.

 

She takes good care of her glasses

 

Don’t assume a child that takes poor care of his glasses will take better care of his contacts. Although there are more opportunities to misplace glasses throughout the day, improper contact care has added health concerns. 

 

One consideration to make is how much easier it is now to take care of contact lenses with daily disposables. Disposables allow you to put in a fresh pair of contacts every day without the need for cleaning regimens or contact solutions. 

Have questions about contacts for your child? Find a CCMH Physician by visiting our provider directory.

 

Disclaimer 

 

The Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not provide specific medical advice for individual cases. Comanche County Memorial Hospital does not endorse any medical or professional services obtained through information provided on this site, articles on the site or any links on this site.

 

Use of the information obtained by the Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not replace medical advice given by a qualified medical provider to meet the medical needs of our readers or others.

 

While content is frequently updated, medical information changes quickly. Information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies or typographical errors. For questions or concerns, please contact us at contact@ccmhhealth.com.

school aged child with backpack

Back-to-School Illnesses

Back to school means back to the doctor for many children. It can be very stressful for many families to deal with what seems to be never ending illnesses. School is, unfortunately, a hot spot for viruses and bacteria to flourish including common childhood illnesses that attack immature immune systems of young children. You may already be very familiar with some of the illnesses that commonly spread at school such as the cold or flu. What about other school illnesses like lice or pink eye? Here are 4 common illnesses you may encounter this school year. 

 

Lice 

 

Lice are tiny parasites that feed on your blood. They spread especially easily from schoolchildren through close personal contact and by sharing belongings. It is difficult to completely prevent lice among school children because  they commonly store their items so closely together. 

 

To prevent the spread of lice, encourage your children not to share items. Lice spread through items such as brushes, clothing, headphones, hair decorations, combs, towels, pillows, stuffed toys and blankets.

 

Symptoms of lice include seeing nits in the hair. Nits are the eggs or young form of a louse that attach to human hair. Many  mistake them as dandruff, but unlike dandruff, lice do not brush off easily. Your child may complain of intense itching and have small bumps on the neck, scalp and shoulders. 

 

Nonprescription shampoo that’s specifically formulated to kill lice will usually take care of a lice problem, but you should see your doctor if the shampoo doesn’t kill the lice. 

 

Pink eye 

 

Pink eye (conjunctivitis) is an infection of the transparent membrane (conjunctiva). This membrane covers the white part of your eyeball and lines your eyelid. When small blood vessels in the conjunctiva are inflamed, they are  more visible. This causes the whites of your eyes to be pink or reddish. Pink eye is usually the cause of a viral or bacterial infection.

 

Symptoms of pink eye include a gritty feeling in one or both eyes, itchiness in one or both eyes redness in one or both eyes, tearing and discharge that forms a crust during the night that may prevent your eye or eyes from opening in the morning. 

 

If your symptoms don’t begin to improve within 12 to 24 hours, make an appointment with your eye doctor to make sure you don’t have a more serious eye infection.

 

Pink eye can happen along with colds or respiratory infections such as a sore throat. Wearing contact lenses that aren’t cleaned properly or belong to someone else cause bacterial conjunctivitis.

 

To control the spread, teach your children to wash their hands often, use clean towels and washcloths daily and change pillow cases often. They should avoid sharing these items as well as eye cosmetic and eye care items. During a pink eye episode, be sure to throw away eye cosmetics such as mascara too. 

 

Hand-Foot-and-Mouth Disease 

 

Hand-foot-and-mouth disease is a mild, contagious viral infection. It is spread through bodily fluids. Young children often spread this illness by touching their diaper area during diaper changes or bathroom breaks. 

 

Symptoms include a rash on the hands and feet and sometimes buttocks, fever and painful sores in the front of the throat or mouth. 

 

Practice proper hand-washing and avoid close contact with people who are infected with hand-foot-and-mouth disease to reduce your child’s risk of infection and disinfect common areas often.

 

Contact your child’s doctor if the discomfort keeps your child from properly hydrating or if symptoms worsen after a few days. 

 

Mono 

 

Mononucleosis (mono) carries the nickname of the “kissing disease.” The virus that causes mono transmits through saliva, so you can get it through kissing, but exposure also occurs through a cough or sneeze, or food or drink sharing. Adolescent or young adults most commonly contract mono. Young children usually have few symptoms, however, and the infection often goes unrecognized.

 

Symptoms of mono include sore throat, fatigue, fever, headache, rash and swollen lymph nodes in the neck and armpits as well as swollen tonsils. 

 

If your symptoms don’t get better on their own in a week or two, see your doctor. It’s important to be careful of certain complications such as an enlarged spleen. Rest and adequate fluids are vital to recovery.

 

Is your child in need of pediatric care? Find a pediatrician in our online directory!

 

Disclaimer 

 

The Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not provide specific medical advice for individual cases. Comanche County Memorial Hospital does not endorse any medical or professional services obtained through information provided on this site, articles on the site or any links on this site.

 

Use of the information obtained by the Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not replace medical advice given by a qualified medical provider to meet the medical needs of our readers or others.

While content is frequently updated, medical information changes quickly. Information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies or typographical errors. For questions or concerns, please contact us at contact@ccmhhealth.com.

Hands in sink with running water

Teaching Kids to Wash Their Hands

This week is National Hand Washing Awareness Week. Teaching kids to wash their hands can be difficult. Young children are always on the move, and don’t want to slow down to practice boring hygiene habits. Still, it is important to instill important hand washing practices in your children.

 

Teach children when to wash their hands

 

Good hand washing is the first line of defense to combat various illnesses — from colds to the flu, meningitis, bronchiolitis and hepatitis A. The first step is letting children know we wash our hands to help keep everyone safe! Then, make it a habit by always washing their hands when the following activities take place:

  • before eating and cooking
  • after using the bathroom
  • before and after visiting sick friends or relatives
  • when coming in from outside
  • when finished cleaning around the house
  • after touching animals
  • after blowing one’s nose, sneezing or coughing

 

Discuss germs

 

Helping children to understand the concept of germs can be challenging. Explain to children that germs are most everywhere on surfaces and our hands. Consider finding a book with lots of pictures or simple songs or videos online to show them.

 

Make hand washing convenient and safe

 

Getting up to the sink can be hard for small children. Making it a fun, safe and convenient practice is important. Place a stool in front of the sink if the child cannot reach the sink by his or herself. Let children pick out a fun stool with characters, colors or designs he or she enjoys. Many stools for children have rubber grips on the steps to help secure their footing as well. Also, consider putting a rug under the stool to help catch water and prevent slipping. Kids can make a mess when the sink is involved.

 

Make sure hand towels are easily accessible also. Towel racks that are too high and cause children to reach too much could result in a fall.

 

Teach children how to use the soap

 

It may take awhile before a young child is capable of getting his or her own soap. Practice using the soap pump with them. Also, choosing a themed soap dispenser may be fun for some children.

 

Make sure the water is a safe temperature

 

Turning on the tap and getting the temperature just right may be difficult for many children. Teach your child how to turn on the cold water first and to slowly increase the temperature. Demonstrate putting just the tip of a finger in the water to test the temperature.

 

Help children learn how long to wash

 

You should wash your hands for 20-30 seconds. This is about the amount of time it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice or the alphabet song once. You may also teach children how to set a timer and watch it count down while they wash.

 

Rinse well


Teach children to look thoroughly for any soap residue. It is not dangerous to leave soap bubbles behind. However, children often put their hands in their mouths. The taste of soap may be a deterrent from wanting to wash their hands in the future.

 

Carry hand sanitizer when on the go  

 

Soap and water is always best, but sometimes it may not be available when you are on the go. Use an alcohol-based sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.

 

As with everything else they learn, good hand washing practices come to small children with lots of practice. Remember to praise their good behavior as you are teaching them this important tip in their daily hygiene routine.

For other healthcare concerns regarding your children, visit ccmhhealth.com/directory/specialties/pediatrics to find a list of CCMH Pediatricians.

 

Disclaimer

 

The Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not provide specific medical advice for individual cases. Comanche County Memorial Hospital does not endorse any medical or professional services obtained through information provided on this site, articles on the site or any links on this site.

Use of the information obtained by the Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not replace medical advice given by a qualified medical provider to meet the medical needs of our readers or others.

While content is frequently updated, medical information changes quickly. Information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies or typographical errors. For questions or concerns, please contact us at contact@ccmhhealth.com.