Tylenol and Kids? What are the risks?

Many of us have used Tylenol growing up as kids for headaches, fevers, aches, and pains.  Now as we have gotten older and have kids of our own, our pediatricians are still telling us to use Tylenol on our kids for when they have fevers, but is it safe?

Today, more and more research has been coming out linking the increase risk in asthma in children who are given Tylenol.  A study recently published in the International Journal of Epidemiology found a 29% increase in the likelihood of an infant who used paracetamol having asthma at age 3 and at age 7 years.  Paracetamol is another name for Acetaminophen, which is the active ingredient in Tylenol, Panadol, Anacin, and many other brands. According to the CDC, every year asthma is responsible for14.2 million physician office visits, 1.8 million emergency-department visits, 439,000 hospital stays, and more than 3,500 deaths.  And yet, a drug that increase the risk of asthma in children by 2, 3 and 5 times depending on the frequency of use continues to be sold and prescribed to parents unaware of the potential risks.

In the ISAAC (International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood) study, researchers looked at more than 205,000 children, ages 6 to 7, in 31 countries and found that acetaminophen use for fever in the first year of life was linked to increased risk of asthma symptoms in children 6 to 7 years old. Current use of acetaminophen was also linked to increased risk of asthma symptoms.

Tylenol use doing pregnancy also has its risks. Its use has been linked to an increase in the risk of their child developing ADHD.  According to the research article in JAMA Pediatrics in February, “Children whose mothers took acetaminophen while pregnant had up to a 40 percent higher risk of being diagnosed with ADHD, according to the research, which involved more than 64,000 Danish mothers and their children. The kids were born between 1996 and 2002.” The study further stated, “”The strongest effects were seen when a woman said she had taken it for six weeks or more, and even more strongly at 20 weeks or more,” Ritz added. “We always thought acetaminophen is kind of harmless and not so bad to take during pregnancy, and probably it is, if you take it once or twice. But if you take it repeatedly, you see these risks creeping up.”

The common rebuttal theme I have found doing my research was that there was no clear path from taking Tylenol to these conditions.  They kept on stating that more trials and research were necessary in order to find that link and that until they do find that link we should continue taking the Tylenol as is.  To me that sounds like the company grasping as straws to keep from losing the $1 plus billion dollars they make annually on the product.

So what do you do?  For one, I would only use Tylenol or acetaminophen as a last resort.  If your child has a low grade fever, let their body do their job.  Fevers are a natural way your body fights off bacteria and viruses.  You can read my previous article about fevers here.  Additionally, do your own research.  Don’t just listen to what your doctors are saying to you.  Just because they say something doesn’t always mean they are right or that it is right for your child.  There are a lot of great homeopathic remedies for fever reducers. Here are some articles below that I found on the topic:

  1. WEBMD asthma risk
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19696122
  3. http://eurpub.oxfordjournals.org/content/23/4/706
  4. https://www.theguardian.com/science/blog/2013/sep/16/paracetamol-rising-childhood-asthma-rates
  5. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/24/tylenol-overdose_n_3976991.html
  6. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/108/4/1020
  7. http://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/childhood-adhd/news/20140224/use-of-acetaminophen-in-pregnancy-tied-to-higher-adhd-risk-in-child
  8. http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm315497.htm
  9. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/childrens-health/in-depth/acetaminophen/art-20046721
  10. http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/08/13/acetaminophen.may.double.asthma.risk/index.html

 

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Importance of Getting Outside to PLAY

Kids today are growing up in a world of technology, and it is affecting their health.  How you may ask?  Well if you look around you can see it walking through the grocery store or mall.  No one looks up anymore.  No one speaks to one another.  Everyone, adults included, are so involved with their phones or electronic devices!  Unfortunately, not only are we increasing screen time, but we are seeing decreased play activity outdoors and lack of socialization.  Now, we are hearing a lot more diagnoses of ADHD and autism.  Scary stuff right?    The American Medical Association guidelines recommend that children ages 3-18 should be getting no more than 2 hours/day of screen time!  Today, children have way surpassed the recommendation and are spending most of their day, even at school now, in front of a screen.  Who would of thought when we were growing up that there would come a time when kids not getting outside enough would ever be a topic of conversation?  Kids are leading too structured lives with little to no time to be creative and imaginative outdoors. We need to make a change for our future, our kids future.

There is one simple answer to combat this activity deficiency, and that is to get not only our kids but ourselves outside more. There are many benefits to getting your children outside.  Not only will it give them room to play without worrying about getting the house dirty or allow them to run around uninhibited, but it will provide these benefits as well:

  1. Improved Vision – research done by Optometry and Visionary Science reported that the more time children spent outdoors increased their ability to see distances compared to children that stayed primarily indoors.
  2. Promotes Social Skills – Kids learn to take turns, share, problem solving, and motivation.
  3. Increasing attention span –  studies have shown that children with ADHD had far less symptoms when they were given the chance to play outdoors, and had more outdoor activity.  The more active the child the less the ADHD symptoms appeared.
  4. Reduces Stress – I am sure you have all experienced the stress relief being outdoors gives us, especially after a long day at work.  I always look forward to that first breath of fresh air and instant relaxation when I leave the office.  One author states that some studies, “…also support the theory that green spaces might help restore children’s ability to focus their attention, thereby bolstering their cognitive resources by allowing neural inhibitory mechanisms to rest and recover from use.”
  5. Provides Vitamin D – although it is tough here in the Northeast, especially in the winter months.  Any time outside spent in the sunlight helps your body naturally produce the Vitamin D it needs to function properly.

One thing you may be thinking is how do I pry my kids away from the screen?  If you children see you being active, it is only natural for your children to follow.  One way to deter screen time is to keep a basket of toys by the backdoor and every time they go to pick up their IPAD, watch television, play video games, or go on the computer take one of the activities out and head outdoors.  9 times out of 10 your children will follow because they want to hang out with you!

Another way to get the kids outdoors more would be to take them out of the house and to a local park.  Some parks are great to play on the swingset, but others are great for Hiking!  If you are looking to try out hiking for the first time try Cattus Island’s blue trail.  It is a very simple hike and it gets you all outdoors! Allaire state park is also a great place to go and explore!  Here is a list of local parks in the area and how close they are to our office:

  • Wind Ward Beach Park – 3.5 miles
  • Mantoloking Bridge County Park – 3.3 miles
  • Cattus Island Park – 6.9 miles
  • Silverton Park – 3.9 miles
  • Castle Park – 6.6 miles
  • Allaire State Park – 15 miles

You can also take the kids to the beach or boardwalk which is just a quick 10 minute ride from our office.  Even during the winter months, it is always found to find treasures on the beach and make a game out of it! Let your kids use their imagination and grow outside of the classroom!

Do yourself and your child a favor, and get off those electronics and get some fresh air!

Dangers of Sports Drinks and What to Drink Instead

Have you or your child ever tried a sports drink or pedialyte?  Both have been advertised to be a great hydration for the body, full of electrolytes, and even better than water!  However, it turns out that they have been misleading us.  There are many harmful ingredients in these drinks that have been linked to a lot of potential problems down the line, such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and ADHD.  For example, take a look at the ingredient list found on the Gatorade Thirst Quencher Orange:  water, SUGAR, dextrose, citric acid, natural flavor, salt, sodium citrate, monopotassium phosphate, gum arabic, sucrose acetate, isobutyrate, glycerol ester of rosini, and yellow 6.  Basically all I see there is sugar and chemicals!?!  AND, yellow number 6 has been linked to learning and concentration disorders in children, aggravating ADHD symptoms!

One of my biggest concerns is the sugar content.  In just one 32 ounce Gaterade/Powerade there is 200 calories and 52.5 grams of sugar! That amount of sugar alone cancels out the electrolyte benefit right off the bat.  It will cause your blood sugar levels to spike and then drop so quickly that you will feel even more tired than before you had the drink!

Furthermore, according to the journal of applied physiology, sports drinks do not quench your thirst, but actually in fact just make you drink more.  They state in their research that it is actually the flavoring and salt intake that make you drink more, and in turn stay more hydrated than before.

Additionally, the acid found in the sports drink will actually erode your teeth more than drinking a can of soda!  A study done in the journal of general dentistry said “after 5 days of consistent consumption, the acid starts to irreversibly destroy tooth enamel”.

After reading all of this, you must be thinking ok, I do not want to drink that anymore, but what can I do to keep myself and my child hydrated while exercising or playing in sports or even if your child gets the stomach bug and needs to stay hydrated.  There are many different things you can make or use as your own natural sports drink without all the dangerous add-in’s you find in sports drinks like Gatorade or Powerade or even Pedialyte. Coconut water is the liquid that is found inside the coconut. It has actually been nicknamed “Nature’s Gatorade.” It contains 5 important electrolytes:

  1. Potassium: The most important positive ion (cation) inside your cells; potassium regulates heartbeat and muscle function. Coconut water contains 295 mg, which is 15 times the amount in the average sports drink
  2. Sodium: The most important positive ion in fluid outside your cells, and also the one most depleted with exercise, as you lose sodium through sweat and urine
  3. Magnesium: Important for maintaining the electrical potential of your cells, proper muscle function, and preventing calcium overload
  4. Phosphorus: Plays important roles in bone health, but also in transferring energy throughout your body, helping your muscles contract, and regulating nerve function (partners with calcium)
  5. Calcium: Important for bone health (partners with phosphorous)

Now you can drink the coconut water alone or you can add it on to your own homemade sports drink.  A simple homemade recipe you can use is the following: 3-4 slices of fresh ginger, 1 cup of water plus any extra you want to add in, juice of 1/2 a lemon, 1/4 tsp of sea salt, 1-2 tsp of raw honey (not for the use of children under 2).  All you have to do is mix well, and it is ready for your consumption!  You can even freeze the concentrate for later use, and all you will have to do is add water when your ready to drink it!

Why do Children need Chiropractic?

Even a natural birthing process can be traumatic for your precious newborn. Dr. Ashley will gently check your baby, making sure that there are no effects from labor and delivery on your child’s heath. We feel it’s imperative for all children to be checked by a chiropractor throughout their childhood to ensure that the child’s nervous system and immune system are functioning optimally.

As your child continues to grow, we want to make sure they can develop properly. Birth trauma, improperly carrying your baby and excessive time in seats (car seats, bouncers, bumbos, jumpers, etc.) can cause spinal misalignments. These problems often present themselves as common childhood health complaints that include the ear, nose, throat, digestive issues, sleeping difficulty, and irritability. Learning to walk, repeated bumps and falls, sports, dance, texting and carrying heavy backpacks can all lead to spinal misalignments in children. Through chiropractic care, we can help your child feel great and function optimally so they can enjoy each year as they grow.

Children receive chiropractic care that is completely different than that of an adult. Our light, gentle adjustments are safe for babies and children. If you’ve seen us during your pregnancy, we’re happy to check your baby after they’re born to make sure their spines are in proper alignment.

Here are some benefits to pediatric chiropractic care:

1.) Improved Sleeping

2.) Improved behavior and attitude

3.) Improved Immune system function

4.) Some conditions proven to be alleviated by Chiropractic: ADHD, Colic, Asthma, Ear Infections, Bed Wetting, Falls, Acid and Silent Reflux

Your baby deserves to have the healthiest start.  Contact our office today to find out how we can help ensure their best future.  “If the twig is bent, so grows the tree.”

Here is a great website to read more:

http://icpa4kids.org/About-the-ICPA/why-chiropractic-for-children.html