Why Does My Teen Have Trouble Sleeping?

Research shows that teens need at least 8.5 hours of sleep a night, which most teens do not reach nightly. During adolescence, the body’s circadian rhythm (like an internal biological clock) is reset, telling teenagers to fall asleep later at night and wake up later in the morning. This change in the circadian rhythm happens because a teen’s brain makes the hormone melatonin later at night than the brains of kids and adults do. However, your teen may also be suffering from insomnia, which is most commonly caused by stress. While everyone has trouble falling asleep from time to time, if your teen regularly cannot fall asleep and stay asleep, they may have chronic insomnia.

Common causes of chronic insomnia could be other medical conditions, mental-health problems, side effects of medicines, or even substance abuse. If you think your teen may be suffering from chronic insomnia, you can get help from a doctor, counselor, or therapist. However, before seeking professional help, you could attempt reducing the stress your teen feels and make sure they have a comfortable sleeping environment, as these are the usual causes of insomnia.

Is Snacking Good?

Good news, snacking is good for you….as long as they are healthy snacks! During adolescence, the body needs more nutrients to grow which is why teenagers feel hungry a lot throughout the day. This is why snacks are a great way to satisfy that hunger and give the body the nutrients it needs to grow. Although it may be tempting for every teen to have a soda and candy bar after school, the temporary sugar boost it gives will slow them down in the long run. In order to keep energy levels going and to avoid weight gain, choose snacks that are full of fiber and protein such as peanut butter, fruits, or yogurts. However, you have to beware of claims that snack manufacturers make on their products. Just because something is “all natural” or “pure” does not mean that it is nutritious, such as fruit juices which can be filled with sugar which makes it extremely high in calories. Similarly, watch out for snacks with “low-fat” claims, because usually the fat is replaced with large amounts of sugar which is just as unhealthy. In order to judge how healthy a product is for you, look at the nutrition information on the food label.

The Difference Between Sadness and Depression

If you have suspicions that your teen may be depressed, this article may help you determine whether it is depression or just sadness. Feeling sad, down, or disheartened are natural human emotions and reactions to the hardships of life, but depression is different. Depression is a strong mood involving sadness, discouragement, despair, or hopelessness that lasts for weeks, months, or even longer. Depression drains the motivation, energy, and concentration of the person it affects, and it can even cause aches and pains in the body. One sign that your child may be depressed is that they are pulling away from friends, family, or activities that they once enjoyed, which will ultimately make them feel more lonely. People with depression may also feel tired and exhausted and it may take them longer to do everyday activities. And depression also has physical symptoms, such as a loss of appetite or weight gain or loss. If you believe your teen may be depressed, schedule a consultation with your pediatrician to discuss your concerns.

What Milestones Should My One-year-old Toddler Be Passing?

Depending on how old your toddler is, she should be passing certain developmental milestones. As you watch your toddler play, you may see her intensely focusing on what she is doing, and that is because everything she does is an opportunity to learn.

At one-year-old, your toddler will be able to gather and recall some information to find answers to problems she may face when playing. One-year-olds are usually attracted to toys with buttons, levers, switches, and knobs, but your toddler may ignore the toy if she is not quite ready to play with it yet. Once your child turns one, she will begin imitating what she sees everyday and will display this in how she plays. For example, she may “drink” from a cup or “knock” on a door, and therefore it is extremely important to monitor your own behavior because she will most likely imitate it. Your child will initially imitate by herself, but as she develops, she will gradually include others in her imitation play.

As she nears two years old, your toddler will begin to shine at hide-and-seek type games, and will remember where hidden items are even after you hide it from her. Your toddler knows she is in control, and she will let you know what role she wants you to play in her games. She will occasionally bring you a toy so you can play with her, but sometimes she will pull her toys away from you so she can play by herself. When she does something she thinks as special, she will pause and wait for your praise. And giving her this affirmation gives her the encouragement and support she needs to continue learning. If your child is not quite at these stages of development, don’t worry, just talk to your doctor to see what steps you can take to get your child on track.

Why Does My Teen Get Acne?

Acne is a problem that many Americans face, approximately 17 million people in the U.S. have acne, so your teen is not the only one. So, why do all these people have acne and where does it come from? Contrary to popular belief, acne is not caused by having dirty skin. Acne is caused by an inflammation of pores due to overactive oil glands and a build-up of oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria. People between the ages of 12 and 24 are more likely to get acne because oil glands become stimulated when hormones become active during puberty. However, having acne can also be genetic, so if people in your family have acne, your teen may be more prone to having acne too.

Even though it is hard to fight genetics, there are ways to help reduce the amount of acne your teen may get!

•Make sure your teen washes their face. Washing your face is extremely important because it helps remove excess oils and dead skin that can clog pores and cause pimples. But be careful, washing the face too much can be harmful by overdrying and irritating existing acne.
•If your teen works out or tends to get pretty sweaty, have them wash their face as soon after sweating as possible, because sweat can clog pores and make acne a lot worse.
•Speaking of clogging pores, it is important to use lotions and makeup that are noncomedogenic or nonacnegenic, which means that the product won’t clog your pores.

Measles in the U.S.

By Elizabeth Chea, M.D.

As the number of cases of measles in the U.S. has reached over 100 people, this is the time to make sure that your child is protected. Most of these cases can be traced back to an exposure in Disneyland in December but now 17 states and Mexico have confirmed measles. 

Measles is a very contagious virus that can be passed into the air when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks and can be inhaled for up to 2 hours after leaving the infected individual.  Symptoms of measles include fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes, and rash.  If contracted, measles can cause pneumonia, encephalitis, and even death. 

Due to the rise in measles cases, the CDC is now recommending that infants 6 to 11 months old who are in an outbreak area or traveling internationally receive the MMR vaccine.  The CDC recommends that children receive their first MMR vaccine at 12 to 15 months and the second vaccine at 4 to 6 years old.  There are instances when the MMR vaccine should not be administered to include pregnant women, anyone immune compromised, or anyone with a history of an allergic reaction to the MMR vaccine.  Please discuss with your pediatrician any concerns with your child receiving the vaccine. The American Academy of Pediatrics just released a statement to encourage MMR vaccination.

Click on this link to read a letter from the AAP: http://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/Pages/American-Academy-of-Pediatrics-President-Urges-Parents-to-Vaccinate-Their-Children-Against-Measles.aspx

This is the time to make sure that your child is adequately vaccinated and protected from the disease. Please talk to your CMC pediatrician if you have any questions about measles or vaccines so we can keep your child protected and healthy.

Pediatricians Play a Role in Children’s Oral Health

In a revised statement, “Maintaining and Improving the Oral Health of Young Children,” which is featured in the December 2014 issue of Pediatrics, the AAP notes that pediatricians play an important role in improving oral health for young children. Younger children often see a pediatrician more frequently than a dentist, putting pediatricians in a unique position to provide oral health counseling. 

– See more at: http://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/Pages/Pediatricians-Play-a-Role-in-Children’s-Oral-Health.aspx

FDA Issues Warning For Teething Pain Medicine

The Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning for oral viscous lidocaine, which is used in some topical teething medicines. According to a safety announcement issued by the FDA on June 26, 2014, these prescription oral medicines can lead to serious harm or even death in infants and young children. 

If you have any questions, please contact your CMC physician. 

To learn more about this news, read the Pediatric News article here.

Reach Out and Read and Pediatric Literacy

Children’s Medical Center, PA, supports promoting pediatric literacy by participating in the Reach Out and Read program and giving children a book at their check ups from 6 months to 5 years old. On Tuesday, Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced a new, national effort that promotes early literacy in pediatrics, something that CMC is very excited about.
 
Brian Gallagher, Acting Executive Director of Reach Out and Read, joined representatives from their longstanding partner Scholastic to meet with Secretary Clinton in Denver at the Clinton Global Initiative meeting. They launched a partnership that aimed at raising awareness among parents about the importance of early language development. Along with pediatric literacy, Clinton’s Too Small to Fail initiative is also involved in the partnership.
 
For the first time, the American Academy of Pediatrics has published a policy statement that promotes books and literacy guidance as an essential part of pediatrics, from the start of a child’s life. To bring this statement to life, Scholastic is donating 500,000 new children’s books to Reach Out and Read clinics across the country.
 
In the Carolinas, Reach Out and Read currently serves more than 275,000 families. Thanks to this generous gift, more families will be able to make reading aloud a daily activity.
 
Through CMC’s Reach Out and Read program, we will ensure that all children enter school prepared to succeed. 

To learn more about this partnership, click here.

Reach Out and Read was featured in The New York Times! Read the article about our new partnership here.