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"Pediatric News Updates" are reported from actual news sources,
but do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Families United on the Net, www.thefunplace.com. For the well-being of all children, parents should not try to diagnose their children, but should seek the advice and care of a pediatrician or family physician.
PROTECTION OF THE PHYSICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH OF GIRLS SHOULD BE THE OVERRIDING CONCERN OF THE HEALTH CARE COMMUNITY
July 1998 - The American Academy of Pediatrics opposes any form of female genital mutilation and recommends that pediatricians dissuade families from having the ritualistic procedure performed on their daughters. Female genital mutilation is a procedure in which the female genitalia are cut or
altered to ensure virginity and make her more desirable for marriage. It is most often performed as a cultural ritual in Africa and small communities in the Middle East and Asia in non-sterile, unsafe conditions. It is estimated that at least 100 million women worldwide have undergone female genital mutilation and that 4 million to 5 million procedures are performed annually on female infants and girls. Because it is harmful physically, psychologically, socially and politically, the AAP advises it's member pediatricians against performing the surgical procedure.
ZINC SUPPLEMENTATION MAY REDUCE INCIDENCE OF PNEUMONIA
July 1998 - A dietary zinc supplement may help to reduce the incidence of acute lower respiratory infections (ALRI), such as pneumonia, by as much as 45 percent, according to a study published in the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Researchers evaluated the effect of zinc supplementation on infants and children ages 6 to 35 months from urban India over a six-month period. Dietary zinc supplementation was provided during daily home visits, and illness was assessed every fifth day. Children in the zinc group experienced 24 episodes of ALRI, while the control group had 44 episodes of ALRI. Because malnutrition and zinc deficiencies have been shown to increase the incidence and severity in ALRI, researchers indicate zinc supplementation and improved diets can help prevent illnesses.
COMMON SNACK CAUSES PROBLEMS FOR SOME CHILDREN
July 1998 - It is not unusual for teachers and caregivers to hear the question, "Does it have nuts in it?" when offering a treat. Children who are known to be allergic to peanuts and tree nuts (such as walnuts, almonds and pecans) are taught to question any treat before eating it. Still, accidental ingestion of nuts is common, and the ensuing allergic reactions can be serious, even life threatening. Accidents occur most often in school, but also at home and in restaurants. Sharing food, hidden ingredients and school craft projects using peanut butter were some of the modes of accidental ingestion. Reactions included skin, respiratory and gastrointestinal symptoms. In children with a known allergy to peanuts, consider emphasizing the importance of having medications and emergency plans in place for the rapid administration of emergency medication (particularly epinephrine), when children with severe nut allergies are away from home. Unlike some other common food allergies, nut allergies usually are not outgrown.
PASSIVE COCAINE SMOKE EXPOSURE IN ILL INFANTS VISITING INNER CITY EMERGENCY ROOM
July 1998 - As many as 16.7 to 33.3 percent of sick inner city infants may visit emergency rooms because of the unsuspected passive exposure to crack/cocaine smoke. In addition, these infants may have an increased risk for respiratory illnesses. Upper and lower respiratory symptoms significantly correlated with positive cocaine results in urine samples obtained randomly from researchers at Yale University School of Medicine. Researchers also obtained information on the infants' gestational ages and weights at birth; history of maternal drug use during pregnancy; the number of well childcare visits; and the number of sick visits to the emergency room. Passive exposure to crack/cocaine smoke is an important public health problem.
LARGE MINORITY OF U.S. CHILDREN HAVE SPECIAL HEALTH CARE NEEDS
July 1998 - Under a new definition used to classify and characterize children with chronic conditions and ongoing health problems, an estimated 18 percent, or 12.6 million, of U.S. children under 18 years of age
had special health care needs in 1994. Children with special health care needs, as newly defined by the federal Maternal and Child Health Bureau, are those who have a chronic physical, developmental, behavioral and/or emotional condition and require health and related services beyond those generally required by children. Previously, no uniform definition of this population had been available. After examining 30,032 completed interviews, researchers found a higher prevalence for special health care needs in older children, boys, African-Americans, and children from low-income and single parent households.
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