Expert Advice Archives - Nemours Blog

Expert Advice

Energy Drinks & Kids: Know the Risks

Discover the risks associated with energy drinks for kids and learn about healthier alternatives. This article explores the ingredients in energy drinks, their potential dangers, and the importance of open communication with children. Help your kids make informed choices and adopt healthier habits.

Melatonin: 5 Safety Tips for Kids and Teens

Melatonin: 5 Safety Tips for Kids and Teens

We all know that terrible feeling of not being able to sleep and drudging through the next day in a fog. If your child is having trouble sleeping, of course you want to help. You have probably heard of using melatonin for sleep problems. Its use has skyrocketed in the past few years. Melatonin is a hormone (or chemical messenger) made by the brain. It helps us fall asleep. Melatonin is also made as a dietary supplement and can be bought in the U.S. without a prescription. But is melatonin safe for kids and teens? Does it work? If melatonin is used with guidance from a health care provider, it is probably safe for short-term use in kids over 5 years. It can help kids and teens get some rest while they work through certain types of sleep problems. But it is still being studied so we don’t know for sure what […]

Let's Rethink How We Talk to Teens about Their Weight

Let’s Rethink How We Talk to Teens about Their Weight

Perhaps we need to rethink how we talk to our teenagers who have a weight issue. At the Nemours Eating Disorders Evaluation and Management Program, we see teenagers who pinpoint the onset of their eating disorder to comments made by well-intentioned doctors, coaches, or health teachers.

"Whole Child" Health: Integrative Medicine Helps Heal Kids Inside and Out. Powered by Nemours Children's Health System

“Whole Child” Health: Integrative Medicine Helps Heal Kids Inside and Out

In recent years, integrative medicine has become common in the care of patients of all ages. This approach combines traditional and alternative medicine. It focuses not only on physical well-being, but also on emotional and sometimes even spiritual aspects of a person’s health. Nemours Children’s Health uses integrative medicine to treat the whole child: body, mind and spirit. When kids and their families walk through Nemours’ doors, whether in an inpatient or outpatient setting, the facility focuses on the children’s overall wellness and healing. Depending on the complexity of the condition, treatment will likely incorporate medications and physical therapies. But to get at the heart of healing, Nemours also incorporates complementary solutions such as nutrition and physical activity strategies, mind-body methods like yoga and meditation, and therapies including massage and aromatherapy. What is integrative medicine? Integrative medicine is an approach to care that puts your child at the center. It addresses […]

A Lifetime of Better Health Begins with Good Oral Health, Powered by Nemours Children's Health System

A Lifetime of Better Health Begins with Good Oral Health

When your child has good oral health, it sets them up for good health overall, and helps them with their wellness as they grow into adults. Gum disease is linked to many illnesses like heart disease, diabetes, respiratory disease, osteoporosis, and rheumatoid arthritis. Our mouths are an entryway for infection, and inflammation can let bacteria enter the bloodstream. Oral health affects your child’s speech, how they eat, and their ability to smile and show emotions. It also influences a kid’s self-esteem, academics and school attendance. Starting them off with healthy habits to care for their mouths is essential in preventing oral and other chronic illnesses in the future.  Protect Tiny Teeth As Soon As Possible Your baby’s teeth are hiding just beneath their gums as soon as they are born. Every baby is different, but usually the first teeth to appear are in the top and bottom front of their […]

Are kids too young to wear contact lenses?, Powered by Nemours Children's Health System

Are Kids too Young to Wear Contact Lenses?

It’s actually not a matter of age when a child can wear contact lenses. What families need to consider is whether the child can practice good hygiene and take responsibility to care for the lenses. There may be 9-year-olds who can responsibly handle contacts and 16-year-olds who cannot. Virtually all contacts nowadays are “soft,” meaning they don’t require a long adaptation period in order to wear them easily. How the patient handles the contacts is what really matters. Many families start to think about contact lenses when their kids are involved in sports. This is understandable since glasses may be cumbersome and offer less-than-perfect vision on the field of play. Parents shouldn’t push for kids to wear contacts, but ask themselves instead: Is the child motivated and capable of caring for contact lenses conscientiously? That is key. Here are some other general questions that I get from parents: Are kids […]

The Truth About Kids in Clinical Trials | Stacey Gray | Promise: Powered by Nemours Children's Health

The Truth About Kids in Clinical Trials

Asthma medications. Dietary guidelines for people with diabetes. Vaccination schedules. They’re all things we take for granted when health care providers recommend them, but none of them would be possible without successful clinical trials. Clinical trials are designed to evaluate a new or existing medication, treatment approach, or medical device for patients who have a particular condition, like obesity or heart disease. However, they’re not just about improving treatment options for future patients. On the contrary, people who volunteer to participate in clinical trials often benefit from the enhanced care that comes with being part of an important study. Still, it’s natural to have lots of questions when you’re thinking about enrolling your child in a clinical trial. Here, we’ll try to answer some of those questions. Will my kid be a guinea pig? Not at all. While your child’s participation will help health care providers make more informed treatment […]

Vaccines Are Safe and Effective: One Pediatrician's Plea, by Michelle Karten, MD, Powered by Nemours Children's Health System

Vaccines Are Safe and Effective: One Pediatrician’s Plea

We live in a time of information overload. It’s impossible to open your computer or reach for your phone and not be surrounded by mountains of information. And with so much at our fingertips, it can be hard to know what is true and what is false. I understand the confusion that so many conflicting accounts can cause because I see it every day. But as a mother of two children I cherish, and as a pediatrician and champion of wellness, there is one thing that does not confuse me — the fact that vaccines are safe and save lives. When my first child was born, I cradled her in my arms and vowed to keep her safe. Since that time, I have worked hard to sustain her mind, body, and spirit with healthy habits. I’m fortunate to be a pediatrician who reads avidly, and is able to make sense […]

Grape Juice to Treat Stomach Flu? by Jordan Smallwood, MD. Promise: Powered by Nemours Children's Health System

Grape Juice to Treat Stomach Flu? Not So Fast.

For generations, parents and families have relied on home cures for everything from colds to tummy aches and sleepless nights. Chicken soup, popsicles and warm milk have proven themselves over decades of use, and now they have company — grape juice. At least, that’s what the internet says. In recent months, tales of grape juice curing stomach flu have cropped up on parenting blogs all over the web. Here’s the idea: If you find yourself (or one of your family members) exposed to the stomach flu, but haven’t experienced symptoms yet, downing three glasses of grape juice will ward off the illness. Multiple sites claim that the grape juice can change the pH in the stomach, making it uninhabitable to stomach viruses. They also claim that the skins of the grapes have anti-viral properties. Is it true? Can grape juice really stop puke in its tracks? Is this the fix […]

Girl receiving vaccines

Give Vaccines a Well-Deserved Shot: Immunization FAQs

Vaccines don’t just protect your kids from illnesses — they protect them from passing the germs on to high-risk populations, like the elderly, babies who are too young to get immunized, kids still in need of their booster shots, children whose immune systems aren’t working well (like those with cancer). As a parent, vaccinating your kids is the safest option for them, your family, and your community. How do vaccines work? Getting vaccinated is a way of creating immunity to certain diseases by using small amounts of killed or weakened bacteria (such as pneumococcus) or viruses (like measles) that cause the particular disease. Vaccines cause the immune system to react as if there were a real infection — it fends off the “infection” and remembers the organism so that it can fight it quickly should it enter the body later. What is community immunity? Community immunity, or “herd immunity,” is when […]

Is it the Common Cold or Seasonal Allergies?

As your kiddo’s sniffling and sneezing like crazy, it can be hard to decipher whether it’s just a common cold (or other upper respiratory virus) that will soon pass, or if it’s the product of seasonal allergies (sometimes called “hay fever” or “seasonal allergic rhinitis”) that may need treatment. Seasonal allergies can start at almost any time (although kids usually develop them by 10 years old and experience the worst symptoms in their early 20s, with symptoms often going away later in adulthood). But even kids who’ve never had seasonal allergies before can suddenly develop them out of the blue. So here are some clues to help you and your child’s doctor figure out what’s going on. The symptoms Symptoms for both allergies and the common cold can include a runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, fatigue and coughing, so it’s easy to confuse the two. In addition to those other […]

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