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KneeBees Soft Protective Knee Pads are Designed for Kids of All Ages!

Our amazing soft protective knee pads can be enjoyed by kids of all ages. Lovingly crafted by parents from all natural materials to offer cushioned, flexible, comfortable protection for little knees and elbows. 

 

How to Properly Apply Sunscreen on Your Kids? We Have Helpful 10 Strategies Right Here!

Do you want to protect your kids from the harmful effects of the sun, while letting them enjoy hot summer days to the fullest?

Summer is the most awesome season! However, we have to remember how the sun affects us, and it is especially true for the kids. We found these very helpful tips on www.today.com, written by A. Pawlowski and wanted to share it with you. Have a great summer!


"10 strategies to apply (and keep) sunscreen on your kids

Parents know the power of sunscreen and remember to slather on and repeat. Kids? Not so much.

There’s a lot at stake as the majority of skin damage and excessive sun often comes in childhood, so it’s a really critical period for sun protection, said Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson, a Seattle pediatrician who writes the Seattle Mama Doc blog.

“The best sunscreen out there is the one that’s used early and often,” Swanson told TODAY Parents.

She recommended using mineral, rather than chemical sunscreen -- with ingredients such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide -- and looking for an SPF over 30. Sunscreen is usually OK for infants older than 6 months, she noted. Doctors continue to study the best sun-protection practices for babies and toddlers.

Here are 10 tips for putting and keeping sunscreen on children:

1. Before applying, consider other ways to protect skin

Dressing your child in sun-safe clothing will minimize the amount of skin you have to cover with sunscreen, which will reduce the struggle from the start.

Read more: 7 things to look for when you shop for sunscreen

“I just want families to know that using UV protective clothing and things like hats, and using the benefit of the shade is a really powerful way to protect children from radiation from the sun,” Swanson said.

“Then, in areas of their body you can’t cover with UV protective clothing, that’s when we think, yeah, we want you to use sunscreen and use it judiciously.”

2. Make it a ritual right from the start

Swanson has never struggled with getting her two sons, who are 6 and 8, to wear their swim shirts. They’ve never gone swimming outside without them, so they don’t know anything different, she said.

Kids should understand early on: “The privilege of getting to do this fun activity comes with the responsibility of taking care of our skin while we do it,” she said.

“This is like everything in life, like brushing our teeth … these are just good habits that we can create.”

3. Don’t wait until the last minute to apply

When you arrive at the beach and kids can see the water, the last thing they’ll want to do is hang around for a sunscreen application. Make sure they’re protected and ready to go.

Shell Roush, a mom of three boys who live near the beach in Jacksonville, North Carolina, has perfected the routine. The family visits the seashore so often that she buys sunscreen in bulk and the cream always goes on before the fun begins.

“We apply it at home, right before we leave, out on the porch. That way, the kids can hit the water as soon as we get to the beach without them having to anxiously wait for their sunscreen to be applied, plus it gives the sunscreen time to dry before they get wet,” Roush, who writes The Soccer Moms blog, said.

For sunscreen to work best, apply it 30 minutes before exposure to the sun, Swanson said. In an ideal world, you’re in an indoor environment when you apply, she added.

4. Apply when they’re strapped in their car seat

This approach can make the process easier for infants and toddlers.

“Toddlers, I think, are the hardest. They’re just squirmy and wormy and you fight and there are autonomy issues going on at that age,” Swanson said.

5. Make it fun

New York City mom Lyla Gleason says she and her 5-year-old daughter both hate wearing sunscreen, but she’s come up with a few ways to make it cooler.

“Last year, I used sunscreen with glitter in it and my girly girl daughter was so excited to have glittery skin, she never complained,” said Gleason, who writes the Globetrotting Mommy blog.

“For her face, I tell her to make a puffer fish face and that will usually entertain her long enough for me to apply sunscreen. I also think it might even be a little easier with her checks puffed out.”

Gleason’s daughter will also gladly apply sunscreen if she can put it on her mom, too. It takes a long time to finish and Gleason sometimes ends up “over slathered,” but it gets the job done, she said.

TODAY Parenting Team contributor Amanda Mushro likes to create a family “sunscreen train,” with kids applying it on themselves as if playing a game.

6. With older kids, appeal to their vanity

The most powerful strategy for reluctant teens is not around cancer risk and scary scars from melanoma, but around vanity and appearances, Swanson said.

“UVA rays change the elasticity of your skin… you’re going to get more wrinkly and you’re going to look older, faster,” she suggested telling teens. “I want you to be as beautiful as you are for as long as you can.”

7. Consider spray

There have been some concerns about the inhalation risks of spray sunscreen, but that being said, Swanson noted they’re convenient, easy to use, and may encourage families to reapply sunscreen in regular intervals.

“If parents really like it for their kids’ limbs, back, belly, chest and extremities, I can’t actually tell them not to use them,” Swanson said.

“Have your kids close their eyes and their mouths and hold their breath while you apply it. Never spray your child’s face.”

Just be sure to run it in!

8. Make sure you have enough

The key to having sunscreen stay in the right place is to use enough. You need an ounce of sunscreen to cover someone’s whole body, so if you have a 3-ounce bottle, it won't last for a whole day once you start to reapply, Swanson said.

"Imagine a layer of Saran wrap over all those surfaces of the skin," she noted.

9. Reapply strategically

“I usually time the reapplication with a snack so that it has time to dry before they dive into the water again,” Roush said.

10. Be prepared for impromptu fun in the sun

“When we travel, I like to throw a sunscreen stick and sunscreen wipes in my bag in case we end up in a sprinkler park or I see her face turning red,” Gleason said.

Happy summer."

Image result for how to properly apply sunblock on kids

 

Bitten By Mosquito? Here are Some Helpful Tips for a Quick Relief.

It's summer season. Mosquitos are on the move! If you, or your loved one, have been bitten by a mosquito, do you know how to stop the itching quickly? We found this awesome article in www.healthline.com and wanted to share. 

"13 Home Remedies for Mosquito Bites

Medically reviewed by Debra Sullivan, PhD, MSN, RN, CNE, COI on August 18, 2017 — Written by Summer Fanous and Kimberly Holland.

Crushed ice
Honey
Aloe vera
Baking soda
Basil
Vinegar
Onion
Thyme
Lemon balm
Witch hazel
Chamomile tea
Garlic


1. Oatmeal
One remedy for an uncomfortable mosquito bite may also be one of your favorite breakfasts. Oatmeal can relieve itching and swelling because it contains special compounds that have anti-irritant qualities.

Make an oatmeal paste by mixing equal amounts of oatmeal and water in a bowl until you have a spackle-like substance. Spoon some paste onto a washcloth and hold it, paste-side down, on the irritated skin for about 10 minutes. Then wipe the area clean.

If you have many bites, try an oatmeal bath instead. Sprinkle 1 cup of oatmeal or ground oats into a bathtub full of warm water. Soak in the oatmeal bath for 20 minutes, occasionally rubbing some of the clumped oatmeal onto irritated areas of your skin.

2. Crushed ice
Cold temperatures and ice can reduce inflammation. The cold also numbs the skin, which can give you immediate but short-term relief. The Mayo Clinic recommends using a cold pack or a bag filled with crushed ice to relieve the itching caused by a mosquito bite. Don’t leave the ice directly on your bite for more than five minutes as it can damage the skin. You can also put a barrier, such as a washcloth, between your skin and the ice so you can leave the ice on the bite longer.

3. Honey
This sugary sweet substance is a common pick among home remedy enthusiasts because it has many antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It has been used for hundreds of years as a treatment for ailments like sore throats to bumps and bruises. A small drop on an itchy bite can reduce the inflammation. And it will reduce your temptation to itch, as itching skin covered in honey can create a sticky mess.

4. Aloe vera
A common household plant, aloe vera has many uses beyond shelf decoration. The gel has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and can help to heal minor wounds or calm infections. That’s why it may be a good bet for healing a bug bite, too. To try this, cut open a small section of the plant. Apply the plant’s gel to the area that’s irritated. Let it dry, and apply again as needed.

5. Baking soda
Found in virtually every kitchen, baking soda has a multitude of uses — from baking bread to clearing drains. Otherwise known as sodium bicarbonate, baking soda may also provide relief from a mosquito bite.

It’s easy to make a baking soda paste, and you can use it in a similar manner to oatmeal paste. Mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda with just enough water to create a paste. Apply it to the bug bite, and let it sit for 10 minutes before washing it away.

6. Basil
The fragrant basil plant is a key ingredient of many of your favorite Italian recipes, but it does double duty as a mosquito bite remedy. Studies suggest that a chemical compound called eugenol, which is found in basil, could relieve itchy skin.

To make a basil rub, boil 2 cups of water and add half an ounce of dried basil leaves. Leave the mixture to steep until it’s cool. Then dip a washcloth into the liquid, and rub it gently on your mosquito bites.

Alternately, you can chop some fresh basil leaves up until very fine, and rub them on to your skin.

7. Vinegar
For centuries, apple cider vinegar has been used as a natural remedy to treat many medical conditions, from infections to blood glucose problems. If you have an itchy bite, dab a drop of vinegar on it. The vinegar can help reduce stinging and burning sensations. It can also act as a natural disinfectant if you’ve been scratching too much.

If you need more relief, try soaking a washcloth in cold water and vinegar, and then applying it to the bite. If you have many bites, dilute 2 cups of vinegar in a tepid bath and soak for 20 minutes. (A hot bath may make itching worse.)

8. Onion
Not only can onions bring tears to your eyes, they can bring relief to your mosquito bites. The onion’s juices, which leak out from the freshly cut bulb, can reduce the bite’s sting and irritation. Onions also have a natural antifungal property that can reduce your risk of an infection.

Cut a slice from an onion — the type doesn’t matter — and apply it directly to the bite for several minutes. Rinse and wash the area well after you remove the onion.

9. Thyme
The petite leaves of the thyme plant are delicious on potatoes, fish, and more. They may also help ease the itching of a mosquito bite. Thyme has antibacterial and antifungal properties, so it can help reduce your risk of irritating and infecting the skin around a mosquito bite.

To get the most benefit from thyme, finely mince the leaves. You can apply the leaves directly to your bite, and let them sit for 10 minutes. You can also make a concentrated liquid by bringing water to boil and adding several sprigs of thyme. Let the sprigs steep until the water is cooled. Then dip a washcloth into the thyme-infused water, and apply to the bites. Leave the washcloth in place for a few minutes. For extra relief, wrap the thyme-soaked washcloth around an ice cube for a natural cooling effect.

10. Lemon balm
Lemon balm is a leafy plant that’s closely related to mint. The herb has been used for centuries as a soothing all-natural treatment for everything from anxiety to upset stomach.

For mosquito bites, you can apply finely chopped leaves directly to the bite, or you can buy a lemon balm essential oil. Lemon balm contains tannin, a natural astringent. In addition, lemon balm contains polyphenols. Together, these natural compounds ease inflammation, speed up healing, and reduce the risk of an infection.

11. Witch hazel
Witch hazel is a natural astringent you can buy over the counter in pharmacies and grocery stores. Like a lemon balm, witch hazel contains tannins, which act as astringents when applied to the skin.

Used alone, witch hazel is beneficial for any number of skin irritations, from minor cuts and scrapes to hemorrhoids. Applying witch hazel to the skin reduces inflammation, soothes the burning and irritation the bite causes, and can speed up healing.

Apply a small amount of witch hazel to a cotton ball. Gently dab or swipe it over the bite. Allow it to dry. Repeat this as needed.

12. Chamomile tea
Chamomile, which is a member of the daisy family, is a common natural remedy for many ailments. When applied to the skin, the tea can reduce inflammation, ease skin irritation, and speed up healing.

Steep a tea bag filled with the dried, crushed flowers in water in a refrigerator for 30 minutes. Then squeeze any excess water from the tea bag, and apply it directly to your bite. Let it sit for 10 minutes. Wipe the area clean with a wet rag. You can chill the tea bag in the fridge for additional applications later.

13. Garlic
Garlic is a well-known natural remedy for conditions from heart disease to high blood pressure. While more conventional treatments may be preferred for those serious conditions, a bit of garlic applied to an irritating bug bite is an easy home remedy for a mosquito bite.

But before you slice into a bulb and apply it to your bite, know that applying cut garlic straight to a skin wound or bite may cause burning and stinging. Instead of that, finely mince up fresh garlic and stir it in with an unscented lotion or room temperature coconut oil. These ointments and creams will help reduce the garlic’s potency but still allow you to get relief from the garlic’s natural anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes, then wipe it off your skin. Wipe the area down with a cool washcloth. Apply some later if the itching persists.

Of course, the best way to get rid of mosquito bite irritation is to avoid a bite altogether. Keep in mind that these insects are more active in the evening and at night. If you want to enjoy a summer evening outdoors but fear the petite blood-sucking bugs, cover your skin and stay away from standing water to reduce your exposure. If you are bit, quickly stop the swelling and itching with a safe, cost-efficient homemade remedy.

Food Allergies and Children: A Quick Guide.

 

Stay informed and have a great weekend! 

Advice for Parents This Allergy Season - What Should Their Kids Avoid?

A great article about seasonal allergies from www.parents.com

"Spring Into Allergy Season


From Parents Magazine


Up to 40 percent of children in the United States suffer from seasonal allergies. Find out what symptoms parents should look for to determine if their kid is suffering from allergies, and what treatments are available.
If welcoming the new season means welcoming more sneezing and sniffling around your house, then your kids might be suffering from allergies.

As many as 40 to 50 million people in the United States are affected by allergies and at least 35.9 million Americans have seasonal allergies, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

So how can a parent know if their kid just has a cold, or if it's more than that? And what should they do if they do suspect it is allergies? We asked Dr. Todd Mahr, Director of Pediatric Allergy/Asthma/Immunology at Gunderson Lutheran Hospital in La Crosse, Wisconsin, to give us some insight about symptoms, steps parents should take, and treatments for allergies.
What are the symptoms of seasonal allergies in kids?
They'll have repetitive sneezing, a running nose that is a thin, clear substance ... it's not usually thick and gooey; nasal congestion, an itchy nose, ears, eyes, throat -- so they get the itchies, and watery eyes.

For perennial allergies, they'll get more nasal blockage and congestion. They'll have post-nasal drip, which is when mucus drips down the back of the throat and kids will tend to clear their throats a lot. They also do have a runny nose and sneezing but it's less prominent than in kids with seasonal allergies.

Keep in mind that it varies from person to person -- one may have more sneezing, another more of a runny nose, another more of the itchies.

What's the difference between seasonal allergies and perennial allergies? And when do the different kinds of allergies act up?
For seasonal allergies, they occur mainly with pollen so it comes from plants, weeds, grasses, and trees. Many parents will recognize pollen more in the Spring, you know, if they leave their car outside overnight and go out to it in the morning, they'll see a little, yellow dusting on their car ... that's pollen. And if you have pollen allergies, they'll appear when that's in the air. Classically, it comes from trees early in the spring, so in April and May. Then in May, June, and July, it's the grasses that are at their worst ... so people with allergies to various kinds of grasses may feel it more. And then in the Fall, it's the weeds, so ragweed allergies may flare up in mid-August to the end of September. That's classic, but it varies in different parts of the country.

For perennial nasal allergies, it means you're dealing with it year-round and these are usually indoor allergies: so it's dust mites, animal dander, cockroaches, molds, and feathers. So individuals may have symptoms occasionally or throughout the year, depending on what kind of allergies they have.

What are the common triggers that will bring on allergic reactions?
For kids who have allergies, sometimes everyday objects can be the trigger. For example, their favorite pet -- a dog or cat -- could shed dander (tiny pieces of skin), and that may trigger a flare-up. Sometimes the beds can be the trigger, including sheets, mattresses and box springs because that's where dust mites live. So it's not that you're allergic to the bed, it's more the dust mites that are there.

There are also triggers that present themselves once kids are in allergy season, so for example, with pollen season, things like cigarette smoke or perfumes can be triggers. Sometimes the weather -- the wind and rain -- can affect the amount of pollen in the air, and thus trigger an allergy flare-up in someone.

What should a parent do if they suspect their child has seasonal allergies?
The best thing to do is try and keep a little diary answering the questions, "when are the symptoms triggered and by what?" Because when you see your doctor, they will want to know if there is a pattern and will ask you things like, "is it worse during the daytime or nighttime or is it seasonal?" Those answers can give a lot of information to a doctor.

Seeing your health care provider is a smart thing to do ... they can then make a determination if you should see an allergist. An allergist can look at the symptoms, do a physical exam and then maybe even do skin testing. Skin testing is when they put small amounts of allergens on the skin, or just below it, and look for a reaction to try to detect what you're allergic to. Once you have tested and can determine what you're allergic to, then you know and can avoid some triggers.

What could happen if allergies go untreated? Is there a real danger there?
In kids specifically, we see a lot of problems that are related to the congestion caused by allergies. Fatigue, especially during the daytime, poor concentration in school, learning problems and other difficulties in school can all be related to nasal congestion, because kids won't be sleeping as well at night. And then during the daytime, they're blowing their nose a lot and experiencing other symptoms. It can lead to peer pressure and social tension ... you know, they may not want to go out and play because they know if they do they'll start sneezing, and that can lead to some shyness.

Because children's bones and teeth are still developing, chronic mouth breathing due to allergy-causing congestion can cause teeth to come in at an improper angle. I get a lot of referrals from orthodontists who see kids for braces and figure out that the kid is a mouth breather. Until they fix that, the orthodontist knows that the braces are going to be on longer.

Kids who have allergies are more likely to have ear infections and more sinus infections. Also, if they have asthma, uncontrolled allergies can make asthma worse. And there's been some evidence that it can lead to nasal polyps in the nose.

Unfortunately, many kids suffer from nasal congestion, but they don't complain about it. Forty percent of kids have it -- and roughly 2 million school days are lost per year due to this.

What are the various treatments for allergies?
There are a number of medications, I am sure most parents have heard about the antihistamines -- they help relieve sneezing, itchiness and a runny nose, but doesn't do a good job on congestion; one of the biggest side effects is that it can cause sedation, extreme tiredness. An example of an antihistamine is Claritin, now available over-the-counter, or the generic and less expensive form called Loratadine.

As I said, antihistamines don't handle congestion so sometimes people will combine them with decongestants, which can shrink the inflamed nasal tissue and offer relief from nasal congestion. This can be taken orally or by nasal spray. One big caution about using an over-the-counter nasal spray is that people use it too often or for too many days in a row, and then their symptoms can get worse. Don't use it for longer than a few days in a row. An example of an over-the-counter nasal spray is Afrin or Neosynepherine.

There are other anti-inflammatory nasal agents that are by prescription only. They are nasal steroids and these manage and cover all symptoms of allergies. They get at the cause, which makes them the best thing for seasonal or perennial allergies. Examples of these are Flonase or Nasonex. The big key for parents to know about these is that they shouldn't confuse them with anabolic steroids.

Nasalcrom is a nasal spray that is a mast cell stabilizer and is available over-the-counter and will relieve the sneezing, itching and running nose, but you have to start using it a few weeks before the season starts, and use it three to four times a day. Nasalcrom is not as effective as the anti-inflammatory agents like Flonase or Nasonex, which you use just once a day. Flonase, and nasal anti-inflammatories like it, work at controlling the inflammation that causes the symptoms people have. They are recommended as the first line of therapy for most patients when their symptoms are more than just mild or intermittent.

Allergy shots or immunotherapy are another treatment, which should be given through an allergist. What they do is inject a small amount of the allergen that affects you, and it's increased over time until eventually, the patient is on a maintenance dose. This is not a quick fix -- kids who take allergy shots can do it for months or years to achieve benefits. It does change the immune's response, so it's not a medication, but it changes what's occurring. Most people start seeing benefits within about 12 months and stay on it for 4 or 5 years.

How can a parent tell that what their child has is more than just a cold?
There's no fever associated with allergies. Also, it's repetitive, so if a parent sees a pattern to it, that's a big sign. For example, after your kid comes home from playing with someone with an animal, if they're always miserable after that, that's a sign. If it occurs at certain times of the year or in the morning when they wake up, parents need to look at that and talk to their healthcare professional.

What advice do you have for parents going into this spring season? What should they have their kids avoid?
If you know your kid has seasonal allergies, especially during pollen season, keep the windows and doors closed. I know it's hard because parents want to open the house up and air it out once Spring comes, but keep it shut. Dry clothes in the dryer ... don't hang clothes outside because then your bed sheets or clothes will be coated with pollen.

Also, use the air conditioner, which helps kill dust mites, and by decreasing humidity, helps to keep the pollen out. And if you had water leaks or accumulation over the winter, get them cleaned up so you prevent mold.

If you have indoor or perennial allergies, it's more difficult. Don't let the pet sleep in the bedroom, keep the pets off the furniture and bathe them regularly. Using a vacuum with a HEPA filter can be beneficial as well. Remove stuffed animals from the bedroom and wash bedding regularly to alleviate dust mites. Also, you can buy dust mite encasements, which trap the dust mites underneath. You can get those at most department stores or specialty companies."

Kids and Seasonal Allergies - How Can We Help?

We found this article about 2018 allergy season to be helpful and wanted to share it. Taken from www.popsugar.com.

"Kids Prone to Allergies? Then This Is the Time of Day You Should Not Go Outside"

May 10, 2018
by MURPHY MORONEY

While it's definitely true that April showers bring May flowers, for allergy sufferers they also bring itchy eyes, coughing, and a whole lot of sneezing. And unfortunately for kids with allergies, the 2018 Spring and Summer seasons are going to be especially bad.

Maria Castells, an allergist, and immunologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital told The Boston Globe that fluctuating pollen levels are to blame.

"Allergies are going to be a pretty severe year because there have already been several bursts of pollen out there that have been in between days where the temperature has gone down, so pollen is not being released in the air," she explained. "And there will be very few bursts in the next week or so. There is a lot of pollen from the trees that has not been released and will continue to be in the air."

In addition to taking allergy medicine, Dr. Castells suggests that parents close their kiddos' bedroom windows at night and avoid spending too much time outside first thing in the morning.

"I know that's hard now that we've had a long winter. We'd love to have a little bit of air in the bedrooms, but that's kind of dangerous because all the pollen grains starting at 4 and 5 a.m. start to come inside the bedrooms and start to inflame the nose, the eyes, the throat, and the lungs," she said. "Then when people wake up in the morning they start to cough, they start to feel like they can't really sleep well, sneezing, and not being able to breathe through their noses."

Rather than waiting until the pollen levels completely go through the roof, Castells recommends trying to get ahead of the problem.

"What will be most effective for people with allergies is to try and start treating themselves now, not waiting until the pollen is very high," she said. "When the pollen is very high the medications that can be taken — the antihistamines, the inhalers, the anti-inflammatory medications — actually can try and subdue and control the symptoms. But when the medication is taken beforehand it actually prevents the symptoms. So much milder symptoms occur if people take the medication before the actual pollen season."

Are Your Kids Suffer From Seasonal Allergies? If so, this article is for you!

We found this article on www.parents.com to be very helpful and wanted to share. 

from Parents Magazine

"Up to 40 percent of children in the United States suffer from seasonal allergies. Find out what symptoms parents should look for to determine if their kid is suffering from allergies, and what treatments are available.

If welcoming the new season means welcoming more sneezing and sniffling around your house, then your kids might be suffering from allergies.

As many as 40 to 50 million people in the United States are affected by allergies and at least 35.9 million Americans have seasonal allergies, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

So how can a parent know if their kid just has a cold, or if it's more than that? And what should they do if they do suspect it is allergies? We asked Dr. Todd Mahr, Director of Pediatric Allergy/Asthma/Immunology at Gunderson Lutheran Hospital in La Crosse, Wisconsin, to give us some insight about symptoms, steps parents should take, and treatments for allergies.

What are the symptoms of seasonal allergies in kids?
They'll have repetitive sneezing, a running nose that is a thin, clear substance ... it's not usually thick and gooey; nasal congestion, an itchy nose, ears, eyes, throat -- so they get the itchies, and watery eyes.

For perennial allergies, they'll get more nasal blockage and congestion. They'll have post-nasal drip, which is when mucus drips down the back of the throat and kids will tend to clear their throats a lot. They also do have runny nose and sneezing but it's less prominent than in kids with seasonal allergies.

Keep in mind that it varies from person to person -- one may have more sneezing, another more of a runny nose, another more of the itchies.

What's the difference between seasonal allergies and perennial allergies? And when do the different kinds of allergies act up?
For seasonal allergies, they occur mainly with pollen so it comes from plants, weeds, grasses and trees. Many parents will recognize pollen more in the Spring, you know, if they leave their car outside overnight and go out to it in the morning, they'll see a little, yellow dusting on their car ... that's pollen. And if you have pollen allergies, they'll appear when that's in the air. Classically, it comes from trees early in the spring, so in April and May. Then in May, June and July, it's the grasses that are at their worst ... so people with allergies to various kinds of grasses may feel it more. And then in the Fall, it's the weeds, so ragweed allergies may flare up in mid-August to the end of September. That's classic, but it varies in different parts of the country.

For perennial nasal allergies, it means you're dealing with it year-round and these are usually indoor allergies: so it's dust mites, animal dander, cockroaches, molds and feathers. So individuals may have symptoms occasionally or throughout the year, depending on what kind of allergies they have.

What are the common triggers that will bring on allergic reactions?
For kids who have allergies, sometimes everyday objects can be the trigger. For example, their favorite pet -- a dog or cat -- could shed dander (tiny pieces of skin), and that may trigger a flare-up. Sometimes the beds can be the trigger, including sheets, mattresses and box springs, because that's where dust mites live. So it's not that you're allergic to the bed, it's more the dust mites that are there.

There are also triggers that present themselves once kids are in [allergy] season, so for example with pollen season, things like cigarette smoke or perfumes can be triggers. Sometimes the weather -- the wind and rain -- can affect the amount of pollen in the air, and thus trigger an allergy flare-up in someone.

What should a parent do if they suspect their child has seasonal allergies?
The best thing to do is try and keep a little diary answering the questions, "when are the symptoms triggered and by what?" Because when you see your doctor, they will want to know if there is a pattern, and will ask you things like, "is it worse during the daytime or nighttime, or is it seasonal?" Those answers can give a lot of information [to a doctor].

Seeing your health care provider is a smart thing to do ... they can then make a determination if you should see an allergist. An allergist can look at the symptoms, do a physical exam and then maybe even do skin testing. Skin testing is when they put small amounts of allergens on the skin, or just below it, and look for a reaction to try to detect what you're allergic to. Once you have testing and can determine what you're allergic to, then you know and can avoid some triggers.

What could happen if allergies go untreated? Is there a real danger there?
In kids specifically, we see a lot of problems that are related to the congestion [caused by allergies]. Fatigue, especially during the daytime, poor concentration in school, learning problems and other difficulty in school can all be related to nasal congestion, because kids won't be sleeping as well at night. And then during the daytime, they're blowing their nose a lot and experiencing other symptoms. It can lead to peer pressure and social tension ... you know, they may not want to go out and play because they know if they do they'll start sneezing, and that can lead to some shyness.

Because children's bones and teeth are still developing, chronic mouth breathing [due to allergy-causing congestion] can cause teeth to come in at an improper angle. I get a lot of referrals from orthodontists who see kids for braces and figure out that the kid is a mouth breather. Until they fix that, the orthodontist knows that the braces are going to be on longer.

Kids who have allergies are more likely to have ear infections and more sinus infections. Also, if they have asthma, uncontrolled allergies can make the asthma worse. And there's been some evidence that it can lead to nasal polyps in the nose.

Unfortunately many kids suffer from nasal congestion, but they don't complain about it. Forty percent of kids have it -- and roughly 2 million school days are lost per year due to this.

What are the various treatments for allergies?
There are a number of medications, I am sure most parents have heard about the antihistamines -- these help relieve sneezing, itchiness and a runny nose, but doesn't do a good job on congestion; one of the biggest side effects is that it can cause sedation, extreme tiredness. An example of an antihistamine is Claritin, now available over-the-counter, or the generic and less expensive form called Loratadine.

As I said, [antihistamines] don't handle congestion so sometimes people will combine them with decongestants, which can shrink the inflamed nasal tissue and offer relief from nasal congestion. This can be taken orally or by nasal spray. One big caution about using an over-the-counter nasal spray is that people use it too often or for too many days in a row, and then their symptoms can get worse. Don't use it for longer than a few days in a row. An example of an over-the-counter nasal spray is Afrin or Neosynepherine.

There are other anti-inflammatory nasal agents that are by prescription only. They are nasal steroids and these manage and cover all symptoms [of allergies]. They get at the cause, which makes them the best thing for seasonal or perennial allergies. Examples of these are Flonase or Nasonex. The big key for parents to know about these is that they shouldn't confuse them with anabolic steroids.

Nasalcrom is a nasal spray that is a mast cell stabilizer and is available over-the-counter and will relieve the sneezing, itching and running nose, but you have to start using it a few weeks before the season starts, and use it three to four times a day. Nasalcrom is not as effective as the anti-inflammatory agents like Flonase or Nasonex, which you use just once a day. Flonase, and nasal anti-inflammatories like it, work at controlling the inflammation that causes the symptoms people have. They are recommended as the first line of therapy for most patients when their symptoms are more than just mild or intermittent.

Allergy shots or immunotherarpy are another treatment, which should be given through an allergist. What they do is inject a small amount of the allergen that affects you, and it's increased over time until eventually the patient is on a maintenance dose. This is not a quick fix -- kids who take allergy shots can do it for months or years to achieve benefits. It does change the immune's response, so it's not a medication, but it changes what's occurring. Most people start seeing benefits within about 12 months, and stay on it for 4 or 5 years.

How can a parent tell that what their child has is more than just a cold?
There's no fever associated with allergies. Also, it's repetitive, so if a parent sees a pattern to it, that's a big sign. For example, after your kid comes home from playing with someone with an animal, if they're always miserable after that, that's a sign. If it occurs at certain times of the year or in the morning when they wake up, parents need to look at that and talk to their health care professional.

What advice do you have for parents going into this spring season? What should they have their kids avoid?
If you know [your kid] has seasonal allergies, especially during pollen season, keep the windows and doors closed. I know it's hard because parents want to open the house up and air it out once Spring comes, but keep it shut. Dry clothes in the dryer ... don't hang clothes outside because then your bed sheets or clothes will be coated with pollen.

Also, use the air conditioner, which helps kill dust mites, and by decreasing humidity, helps to keep the pollen out. And if you had water leaks or accumulation over the winter, get them cleaned up so you prevent mold.

If you have indoor or perennial allergies, it's more difficult. Don't let the pet sleep in the bedroom, keep the pets off the furniture and bathe them regularly. Using a vacuum with a HEPA filter can be beneficial as well. Remove stuffed animals from the bedroom and wash bedding regularly to alleviate dust mites. Also, you can buy dust mite encasements, which trap the dust mites underneath. You can get those at most department stores or specialty companies."

Are You and Your Family Ready for the Warm Sunny Days Ahead?

We found this article on www.healthychildren.org and wanted to share.

Sun Safety and Protection Tips

"Spending time outdoors is a common activity on spring breaks or summer vacations, but remember to protect against the sun's rays. Everyone is at risk for sunburn. Children especially need to be protected from the sun's burning rays, since most sun damage occurs in childhood. Like other burns, sunburn will leave the skin red, warm, and painful. In severe cases, it may cause blistering, fever, chills, headache, and a general feeling of illness. The American Academy of Pediatrics offers tips to keep children safe in the sun.

Sun Safety and Protection under 6 Months
Babies under 6 months of age should be kept out of direct sunlight. Move your baby to the shade under a tree, umbrella or stroller canopy. Dress babies in lightweight clothing that covers the arms and legs, and use brimmed hats that shade the neck to prevent sunburn.

When adequate clothing and shade are not available, parents can apply a minimal amount of sunscreen with at least 15 SPF It is okay to apply a small amount of sunscreen on infants under 6 months if there is no way to avoid the sun SPF (sun protection factor) to small areas, such as the infant's face and the back of the hands. Remember it takes 30 minutes to be effective.

If an infant gets a sunburn, apply cool compresses to the affected area.

Sun Safety for Kids
The first, and best line of defense against harmful ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure is covering up. Stay in the shade whenever possible, and limit sun exposure during the peak intensity hours - between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Select clothes made of tightly woven fabrics. Cotton clothing is both cool and protective. Try to find a wide-brimmed hat that can shade the cheeks, chin, ears and back of the neck. Sunglasses with ultraviolet (UV) protection are also a good idea for protecting your child's eyes.

Apply sunscreen with an SPF 15 or greater to areas of your child's skin that aren't covered by clothing. Before applying, test the sunscreen on your child's back for an allergic reaction. Apply carefully around the eyes, avoiding eyelids. If a rash develops, talk with your pediatrician.

Be sure to apply enough sunscreen -- about one ounce per sitting for a young adult.

Reapply sunscreen every two hours, or after swimming or sweating.

If your child gets a sunburn that results in blistering, pain or fever, contact your pediatrician.

Sun Safety for the Family
The sun's rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Try to keep out of the sun during those hours.

The sun's damaging UV rays can bounce back from sand, water, snow or concrete; so be particularly careful of these areas.

Wear commercially available sun-protective clothing, like swim shirts.

Most of the sun's rays can come through the clouds on an overcast day; so use sun protection even on cloudy days.

When choosing a sunscreen, look for the words "broad-spectrum" on the label - it means that the sunscreen will protect against both ultraviolet B (UVB) and ultraviolet A (UVA) rays. Choose a water-resistant sunscreen and reapply every two hours or after swimming, sweating or towel drying. You may want to select a sunscreen that does not contain the ingredient oxybenzone, a sunscreen chemical that may have hormonal properties.

Zinc oxide, a very effective sunscreen, can be used as extra protection on the nose, cheeks, top of the ears and on the shoulders.

Use a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. The additional benefits of using sunscreen with SPF 50+ are limited.

Rub sunscreen in well, making sure to cover all exposed areas, especially the face, nose, ears, feet and hands, and even the backs of the knees.

Put on sunscreen 30 minutes before going outdoors - it needs time to work on the skin.

Sunscreens should be used for sun protection and not as a reason to stay in the sun longer."

Happy Wednesday from KneeBees Team :)!

Sometimes you need to look at things from a different perspective.

Happy Friday from KneeBees Team!

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