Thinking of Going Organic?

Do you ever walk through a grocery store, notice all the ‘organic’ food options and wonder what the big difference was besides the higher price?

The term ‘organic’ refers to the way farmers grow their fruits, vegetables, and other produce items that you’ll find at your local grocery. Organic farming excludes or strictly limits the use of manufactured fertilizers, pesticides, plant growth regulators such as hormones, livestock antibiotics, food additives, and genetically modified organisms. In lieu of these manufactured chemicals, natural fertilizers such as manure or compost are used as well as natural organisms to control pests. Furthermore, organic farming promotes healthy use of the soil and is considered more environmentally friendly.

The immediate benefit to you and I is that we are eating fruits and vegetables that are chemical-free, and by buying organic, we’re also doing our part to preserve our environment for our children.

There aren’t any nutritional differences between organic and non-organic fruits and vegetables–an apple would have the same amount of vitamins and minerals regardless of how it was grown. The jury is still out on whether or not there are long-term health benefits of eating chemical-free fruits and vegetables. I personally do not want any additives and chemicals in my food that I do not have intimate knowledge of.

Money doesn’t grow on trees, so if you want the best bang for your buck and want to go organic, buy organic fruits and veggies that have thin outer skins such as grapes and tomatoes. You’re much better off buying the organic versions of grapes, tomatoes, and other produce that have thin outer membranes because they don’t have as thick of a barrier to protect from chemicals. For the thicker-skinned fruits such as oranges and grapefruits, you can save some money and just buy the regular versions. If you go with the regular version, I would suggest peeling off the outer skin before eating.

An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure

A wise man (Ben Franklin) once proclaimed, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Fast forward 200 years, and the same quote still applies–especially with regard to your child’s health. We live in a world of smart phones, the Internet, busy jobs, and busy schedules. And it becomes increasingly difficult to find extra time out of the day to talk to someone about your child’s health.

Knowledge is a powerful thing as a parent, and there’s no better person to talk to about your child’s health than his/her Pediatrician. Case in point: a 10 minute conversation with your Doctor about establishing healthy eating and lifestyle habits can prevent serious diseases such as Diabetes later on in your child’s life. It’s easier to implement good habits rather than correct bad habits later on in life.

Not only will your child grow up healthier and happier, but you’ll save money and time in the long-term. It’s much easier to instill and enforce healthy habits than wait until your child is affected by a serious illness–hospital bills, continued medical treatments over a lifetime can be expensive.

Take a proactive approach to learning about your child’s health: utilize the Internet as a powerful resource, and when all else fails, talk to your Pediatrician.

Free $10 Starbucks Gift Card for Yelp Reviewers!

Providing top-notch patient care is our #1 priority, and as such, we’re always striving to improve our service and our clinic. We want to hear from our patients. What did you like? Dislike? What could we improve on?

For the week of February 21st thru the 27th, write a review for us on Yelp and receive a $10 Starbucks gift card in the mail. Click on this link to get to Dr. Gaw’s Yelp page. We’ll contact you via e-mail shortly after the review to verify your mailing address, and we’ll send you the gift card. Note that to qualify for the gift card, you must be either a regular Yelp reviewer or have written at least 2 reviews on Yelp, and have seen Dr. Gaw.

Your Child’s Vaccination Schedule

Are you wondering how often you should vaccinate your child, and what vaccines he/she should be receiving, if any? I’ve compiled the table below to give you a good idea of when and what vaccines should be administered based on your child’s age (use the vaccine legend table in the previous post in conjunction):

Age Vaccines
6 wks. – 2 mos. DtaP #1 HIB #1 Prevnar #1 Hep B #1
4 months DtaP #2 HIB #2 Prevnar #2 IPV #1
6 months DtaP #3 HIB #3 Prevnar #3 IPV #2
9 months Hep B #2      
12 months MMR #1 Varivax Prevnar #4  
15 months Hep B #3 IPV #3    
18 months DtaP #4 HIB #4    
2 years Hep A #1      
2.5 – 3 years Hep A #2      
5 years DtaP #5 IPV #4 MMR #2  
10 years Td – adult      
15 years Td – adult      

Note that there are always some mild to moderate side effects associated with any of the vaccines mentioned. It’s important to completely understand all risks before getting your child vaccinated, so call and ask! We’d be happy to talk to you about it.

Vaccine Legend

Vaccine Symbol Protects Against Precautions Possible Side Effects
DtaP diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough Fever control for children with past history of seizure.  Wait to take vaccine if moderately ill. Mild fever, redness, swelling, and soreness (associated with whooping cough portion)
Hep A Hepatitis A Wait to take vaccine if moderately ill.  Do not continue with 2nd dose if child has severe allergic reaction Soreness at injection site, headache, fatigue, loss of appetite
Hep B Hepatitis B Wait to take vaccine if moderately ill. Soreness at injection site, low-grade fever
HIB Severe bacterial infections such as meningitis and pneumonia Wait to take vaccine if moderately ill. < 25% get redness, warmth, swelling at injection site.  Fever and irritability are also possible
IPV Polio Wait to take vaccine if moderately ill.  Do not take secondary doses if child has severe allergic reaction Minor pain, redness at injection site
MMR Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Wait to take vaccine if moderately ill.  Do not take if child has allergies to gelatin (Jell-O) or previous dose of MMR Mild reactions fairly common.  Low grade fever, swelling in neck or cheeks, mild rash
Prevnar Pneumonia, Blood Infections, Ear infections, Meningitis Do not take if severely allergic to diphtheria-toxoid-containing vaccine Redness, swelling, tenderness at injection site, fever, decreased appetite, irritability
Td Booster shot for diphtheria and tetanus See DtaP See DtaP
Varivax Chickenpox Wait to take vaccine if moderately ill. Soreness or swelling at injection site, fever, mild rash, seizure, pneumonia (very rare)

When to seek medical attention for your baby…

It’s inevitable that your baby will be sick at one point in their life or another. As a parent, understanding this and staying calm when your baby does get sick is important.

Here’s a few tell-tale signs of when you should call your Pediatrician:

  • Loss of appetite: If your baby refuses multiple meals, it’s time to call your Pediatrician.
  • Fever: Mild fevers are common and usually harmless, but keep an eye on the thermometer. If your baby is younger than age 3 months, contact the doctor for any fever. If your baby is age 3 months or older and has an oral temperature lower than 102 F (38.9 C), encourage rest and offer plenty of fluids. Contact the doctor if your baby seems unusually irritable, lethargic or uncomfortable. If your baby has an oral temperature of 102 F (38.9 C) or higher, give your baby acetaminophen (Tylenol, others). Contact the doctor if the fever doesn’t respond to the medication or lasts longer than one day.
  • Changes in mood. If your baby is lethargic or unusually difficult to rouse, tell the doctor right away. Also let the doctor know if your baby is persistently irritable or has inconsolable crying jags.
  • Diarrhea. Contact the doctor if your baby’s stools are especially loose or watery.
  • Vomiting. Occasional spitting up is normal. Contact the doctor if your baby spits up large portions of multiple feedings or vomits forcefully after feedings.
  • Dehydration. Contact the doctor if your baby doesn’t wet a diaper for six hours or longer, the soft spot on top of your baby’s head seems to sink, or your baby cries without tears or has a dry mouth without saliva.

Article Source:  MayoClinic.Com

Your Pre-Schooler’s Development

Parents often come to me with questions about developmental milestones for their pre-school aged children. The chart below lists all the physical, social, cognitive, and language skills for children ages 2 through 5:

Age 2 Age 3 Age 4 Age 5
Language skills
Speaks about 50 words Speaks 250 to 500 or more words Answers simple questions Understands rhyming
Links two words together Speaks in three-and four-word sentences Speaks in complete sentences Uses compound and complex sentences
Uses some adjectives (big, happy) Uses pronouns (I, you, we, they) and some plurals Uses prepositions (under, beside, in front) Uses future tense
Speaks clearly enough for parents to understand some of the words States first name Speaks clearly enough for strangers to understand States full name and address
Social skills
Becomes aware of his or her identity as a separate individual Imitates parents and playmates Cooperates with playmates Wants to be like friends
May become defiant Takes turns Tries to solve problems Follows rules
Becomes interested in playing with other children Expresses affection openly May have a best friend Understands gender
Separation anxiety begins to fade Easily separates from parents Becomes more independent Wants to do things alone
Cognitive skills
Begins to play make-believe Asks “why” questions Becomes involved in more complex imaginary play Uses imagination to create stories
Begins to sort objects by shape and color Correctly names some colors Prints some capital letters Correctly counts 10 or more objects
Scribbles Copies a circle Draws a person with two to four body parts Copies a triangle and other geometric patterns
Finds hidden objects Understands the concepts of same and different Understands the concepts of morning, afternoon and night Understands the concepts of time and sequential order
Physical skills
Walks alone and stands on tiptoe Walks up and down stairs, alternating feet Stands on one foot for at least five seconds Stands on one foot for at least 10 seconds
Climbs on furniture and begins to run Kicks, climbs, runs and pedals a tricycle Throws ball overhand, kicks ball forward and catches bounced ball most of the time Hops, swings and somersaults
Builds a tower of six or more blocks Builds a tower of nine or more blocks Dresses and undresses May learn to ride a bike and swim
Empties objects from a container Manipulates small objects and turns book pages one at a time Uses scissors Brushes own teeth and cares for other personal needs

Tips for Raising Healthy Kids

Help your children develop good physical activity habits at an early age by setting a good example yourself.

Practice these heart-healthy habits with your kids:

  • Limit screen time (television, movies, videos and computer games) to less than 2 hours a day.  Substitute the rest of leisure time with physical activity.
  • Plan family outings and vacations that involve vigorous activities such as hiking, bicycling, skiing, swimming, etc.
  • Give your children some household chores that require physical exertion, keeping in mind their levels of strength, coordination and maturity.  Mowing lawns, raking leaves, scrubbing floors and taking out the garbage not only teach responsibility but can be good exercise.
  • Observe sports and activities your children like, then find out about lessons and clubs. Some children thrive on team sports; others prefer individual activities.  Some activities, like tennis and swimming, can be enjoyed for a lifetime and are much easier to learn during childhood.
  • If it’s safe to walk or bike rather than drive, do so.  Use stairs instead of elevators and escalators. Increase the distances you and your children walk.
  • Stay involved in your child’s physical education classes at school.  At daycare, make sure the kids exercise at least 20 minutes a day.  Ask about frequency of classes and activity, class size, curriculum (instruction in lifetime fitness activities as well as team sports should be emphasized), physical fitness assessments, qualifications of the teacher (should hold appropriate certification in physical education and be an appropriate role model for students).  Physical fitness should be measured at the beginning and end of each year, and goals should be established for each child.  Encourage your school board to emphasize skills students can use for the rest of their lives.
  • Discourage homework immediately after school to let children find some diversion from the structure of the school day.  Kids should be active after school and before dinner.
  • Choose fitness-oriented gifts — a jump rope, mini-trampoline, tennis racket, baseball bat, a youth membership at the local YMCA or YWCA.  Select the gift with your child’s skills and interests in mind.
  • Take advantage of your city’s recreation opportunities — from soccer leagues to fun runs.  Check out the various camps or organizations like the Sierra Club that sponsor outdoor activities such as camping, hiking trips and bird watching.
  • Free your infant from mechanical restraints as much as possible. Strollers and playpens are high on convenience but low on activity potential. Try to unleash your diapered dynamo whenever and wherever he or she can safely move around.
  • When your children are bored, suggest something that gets them moving, like playing catch or building a snowman in the yard.

Kids learn by example, and whether you realize it or not, your kids are emulating you so it’s important to set good examples by establishing healthy habits early on.