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Bear Essentials Online - June 2011

Articles in this issue

Why Infant Hearing Loss Testing is Important for Your Child
Why Early Detection is Important
Infant hearing loss occurs in approximately one infant per 1,000 births in the United States. Early detection is critical. If hearing loss is not treated in the first year of life, this condition can greatly impair a child’s speech and language development, as well as cognitive and social skills. All hospitals in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia performing newborn deliveries must conduct hearing screening in all infants. If an infant does not pass a test called the Universal Newborn Hearing Screening (UNHS), a follow-up with an otolaryngologist (ENT) and an audiologist is needed.

Delays in the diagnosis of hearing loss will lead to a failure to restore hearing and limit a child during critical periods of language acquisition. Research by the National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management (NCHAM) has shown that early detection and treatment for hearing loss for a single child saves $400,000 in special education costs by the time that child graduates from high school.

What are major risk factors for hearing loss that should prompt an appointment to an ENT physician?

  • Failed or abnormal hearing test
  • Frequent ear infections
  • Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) stay longer than 5 days
  • Prolonged assisted ventilation as a preemie
  • Bacterial meningitis
  • Perinatal antibiotics or other ototoxic medications
  • Perinatal vascular support (ECMO)
  • Craniofacial anomalies
  • Family history of hearing loss (parental or sibling)
  • In utero infection

How can Children’s National Medical Center help?

The Division of Otolaryngology has doctors and audiologists who hold specialty clinics to test infants and children suspected of hearing loss. An appointment can be made at specialized offices located at sites within Washington, DC, by calling (202)-476-2159 or Northern Virginia by calling (571)-766-3100.

Brian K. Reilly, MD, FAAP, a physician at Children’s National Specialists of Virginia, LLC, specializes in hearing loss clinics, performs cochlear implantation, and sits on the Cochlear Implant Committee.

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Fourth of July Fireworks Safety

Fireworks can cause serious burn and eye injuries. Most of these injuries occur in the weeks surrounding July Fourth. The safest choice is to leave fireworks to professional use.

If fireworks are a part of your Fourth of July tradition, please read these tips:
  • Children should never play with or light fireworks or sparklers.
  • Adults who use fireworks should not use them around children.
  • Only buy legal fireworks and store them in a cool, dry place. Legal fireworks have a label with the manufacturer's name and directions.
  • Never try to make your own fireworks.
  • Always use fireworks outside and have a bucket of water and a hose nearby in case of accidents.
  • Be sure to set off fireworks a safe distance away from others.
  • Light one firework at a time.
  • Do not allow kids to pick up pieces of fireworks, some fuses may still be ignited.
  • Soak all fireworks in a bucket of water before throwing them in the trash can.
Take a fireworks safety quiz. (Source: SafeKids, USA)

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Your Child’s Rash: What You Should Know

Know the Source

When figuring out the cause of your child’s rash, try to answer the following questions about his routine or behavior:
  • When did the rash or behavior begin?
  • What parts of the child’s body are affected?
  • Does anything make the rash better? Worse?
  • Is it an illness, such as chickenpox or measles?
  • Have any new soaps, detergents, lotions, or cosmetics been used on his clothes or body recently?
  • Has your child been in any wooded areas recently?
  • Has your child had a change in medications?
  • Has your child had a tick or insect bite?
  • Has your child eaten anything unusual?
  • Does he have any other symptoms like itching or scaling?
  • Are there any underlying medical problems? Does he have asthma or known allergies?

Treatment of Rashes
Treatment will vary based on the cause of your child’s rash. Remember that all rashes itch less when they are covered up. In most cases, no treatment is required. Occasionally, treatment may include oral medications or medicated creams or lotions (to retain moisture and reduce itching and inflammation). For poison ivy, washing with soap and water within 15 minutes after contact may reduce the chance of a rash occurring and will stop the spread of the rash.

For rashes that do not require a physician’s care, handling skin gently and avoiding irritating substances will help it go away more quickly. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the following are general guidelines to assist parents with home care for rashes:
  • Avoid scrubbing skin.
  • Use as little soap as possible. Use gentle cleansers instead, like Aveeno or Cetaphil.
  • Avoid applying cosmetics lotions or ointments directly on the rash.
  • Use warm (not hot) water for cleaning. Pat dry (do not rub).
  • Minimize the use of new soaps, detergents, lotions, and cosmetics on your children’s skin and clothes.
  • Use calamine medicated lotion for poison ivy, oak, or sumac as well as other types of contact dermatitis.

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Age-Appropriate Sun Safety Tips

Kids spend more time playing outside in the sun during the summer. As a result, they are exposed to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. UV rays are strong and penetrate atmospheric haze, thin clouds, and fog. Short term overexposure to UV rays, without proper protection, can lead to severe sunburn or sun poisoning.

Children are more sensitive to UV rays because of their thin, delicate skin. It is important to take precaution before venturing out into the sun to prevent short-term and long-term health complications. Playground equipment and play surfaces can heat up from sun exposure and can cause surface burns to children.

Sun Protection for Infants and Children:
Children 0 to 6-months-old     
  • Do not go in any sunlight
  • Do not wear sunscreen

Children 6 to 12-months-old     
  • Do not go in direct sunlight
  • Stay away from hot surfaces like playground equipment and areas hands and knees may burn if crawling

Children 12 to 24-months-old     
  • Use PABA-free sunscreen with at least 30 SPF
  • Wear shoes on all playground surfaces

All children     
  • Avoid prolonged sun exposure, even with sunscreen
  • Always wear a hat
  • Be alert of long-term risks

* Ask your physician if extra care is needed for sun exposure if your child is taking an antibiotic, anti-seizure, or acne medication.

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Simple Recipes for your Family

Mango and Apple Salad

Preparation time: 15 minutes

  • 1 mango - peeled, seeded, and cubed
  • 1 Granny Smith apple - peeled, cored, and diced
  • 3/4 cup toasted cashews
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 pinch salt

  • In a medium bowl, toss together mango, Granny Smith apple, cashews, balsamic vinegar, cinnamon, ginger, and salt.

Serves: 6

Cheddar and Fruit Sammies

Preparation time: 10 minutes

  • 1/4 cup grated mild or sharp 2% Cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons dried cranberries, currants or raisins
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons mayonnaise
  • About 16 Triscuits or other whole grain crackers
  • In a small bowl, mix together cheese, dried fruit, and mayonnaise, mashing slightly.
  • Top a few crackers with some of the mixture. Press remaining crackers on top, then serve or save for a later snack.
Serves: 4

Hummus and Pepper Sun

Preparation time: 15 minutes

  • 1 can (15.5 oz.) chick peas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 small clove garlic
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 to 3 tbsp. warm water
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Whole wheat pita bread (sliced into small triangles)
  • Red and yellow pepper strips
  • Carrot sticks or baby carrots
  • Combine the chick peas, garlic, and olive oil in the bowl of a food processor until the mixture is smooth.
  • With the food processor running slowly, add the lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of the warm water.
  • Pour the hummus into a small bowl. Adjust seasoning to your taste with salt and pepper.
  • Place the hummus bowl in the center of a round plate. Arrange items for dipping around the bowl, so that the hummus looks like the center of the sun, and the dippers look like the sun's rays.
Serves: 10

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