Thanks for Sharing (Giveaway)

ss_156891005_surveyThere’s just one more week left before school starts for most kids in Wisconsin. We hope you enjoyed reading the tips, recipes and advice from our experts this summer.

This summer you contributed over 230 comments! We enjoyed reading your suggestions for best place to hike and your family’s favorite things to grill. Here were a few of our favorite comments from readers:

On ways to beat boredom and summer anxiety Barbara shared:

Our favorite boredom buster is playing active family games with a funny flair like 1 handed croquet or kids vs adults ladder ball.

On being grateful for summer Rachel wrote:

So grateful to be able to spend time with my kids this summer. We do something together everyday, from hiking to playing checkers. Time is going so fast, enjoy those small moments in life.

On transitioning to high school from middle school, Holly commented:

This is a helpful article – I wish I would have information like that last year.  :-) My son was a freshman and we were expecting the worst, but were pleasantly surprised to find out that high school was much better for him in many ways!

For our final giveaway this summer, we want to hear your suggestions for improving our blog, what you topics you want to know about and how we can make next year even better.

Take our 9 question survey and we’ll choose one winner to receive a $50 Amazon gift card.

And just because it’s time to go back to school, doesn’t mean the fun stops here. We’re busy getting new topics ready to share with you this fall. Our e-newsletter will switch back to a monthly digest. You can visit the blog anytime or get daily updates from us on Facebook or Twitter. We hope you will continue to share your comments throughout the year.

Smiling Sun

Enter this week’s giveaway

Take our survey and we’ll choose one winner to receive a $50 Amazon gift card.
Prize: 1 $50 Amazon gift card
Rules: Giveaway closes on Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 11pm CST. Open to Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois residents only. One entry per email address is permitted. The winner will be selected using random.org and announced on the following Monday as an update to this post. Winner will be notified via email and asked to provide a mailing address to receive the prize; if the winner does not respond within 7 days, the winner forfeits the prize and another winner will be selected. Subscribe to the blog and you’ll get new posts delivered to your inbox as soon as they’re posted.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , ,

Human Papilloma Virus and the HPV Vaccine Facts

There are a few facts to get out of the way before we delve into this very important subject:

  1. The vast majority of people have sex at some point in their life.
  2. The vast majority of sexually active people have been exposed to human papilloma virus (HPV).

Now that we’ve covered those 2 facts, let’s focus less on how HPV is acquired and more on what it can do to your body.

Mother and DaughterFirst and foremost, HPV can cause a number of types of cancer, including cervical, vaginal, vulvar, penile, anal, oral, and throat cancers. But there’s more – we know that HPV (specifically HPV types 6 and 11) causes warts in the genital and anal regions, but did you know that these strains of HPV can also cause wart-like lesions in the throat of newborns, called Recurrent Respiratory Papillomatosis? It’s true. Research has shown that this can be caused from the newborn’s passage through the birth canal of a woman with HPV. This can cause life threatening breathing difficulties and require specialized care to treat.

There is something out there that can protect you and your loved ones – the quadrivalent HPV vaccine (protection against HPV strains 6, 11, 16 and 18). The recommended starting age of this vaccination is 11-12 years old, and all 3 doses are required to achieve maximum effectiveness. Many studies have shown that the HPV vaccine is safe and effective in the short term, and now a new study in Pediatrics shows that the HPV vaccine is safe and very effective in the long term. After eight years, subjects still had the HPV antibodies and had no adverse effects from the vaccine.

The United States Department of Health and Human Services has set a goal of 80% of the nation’s teens receiving 3 doses of HPV vaccine by 15 years of age. Despite the vaccine’s benefits, only about 57% of girls aged 11 to 15 are getting the first dose of the vaccine and only 33% are getting all three doses. Among boys, about 34% are getting the first dose of the vaccine, but only about 14% are getting all three doses, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Every teenager should get this vaccine. Every. Single. Teenager. Do not wait until they become sexually active. The younger it’s given, the better the protective benefits. Remember, at some point in time, whether or not you want to acknowledge it, your son or daughter will have sex. And at that point, there’s a good chance they will be exposed to HPV (refer to facts # 1 and 2).

Do you have questions about HPV or the HPV vaccine?

Human Papilloma Virus and the HPV Vaccine Facts
About Paula Cody, MD, MPH
Dr. Paula Cody is fellowship trained in adolescent medicine and is a pediatrician at the UW Health John Stephenson Teenage and Young Adult Clinic.

View all posts by Paula Cody, MD, MPH
Posted in Teens | Tagged , , , , , ,

Football Helmets and Concussions

Football HelmetsIf you’re a parent of a football player, you may have seen claims by equipment manufacturers that their products are designed to better protect young athletes from concussions. And, because you want the best products for keeping your kids safe, it’s understandable if you’d be persuaded to purchase a particular brand based on the claims. But is there truth behind the marketing?

Alison Brooks, MD, MPH, specializes in pediatric sports medicine. For the last two years, Dr. Brooks and UW sports medicine researcher Tim McGuine have been working with high school football players and schools from around Wisconsin to determine whether certain football helmets actually do reduce the risk of concussion in high school athletes. And the results may surprise you.

Among their findings was that there was no difference in the rate of sports-related concussions based on the brand, age or recondition status of the helmet the players used.

The rate of sports related concussions was nearly seven times higher during competition than during practice, and four times higher during full-contact practice compared to practice.

And, players who experienced a sports related concussion during the previous 12 months were almost twice as likely to sustain another one compared to players who never experienced one.

So what can you do as a parent?

Educate yourself about the risks and symptoms of concussions. Your school or club should have provided you and your athletes with information about the signs and symptoms.

Talk with your child about the symptoms. A headache, fatigue and problems concentrating can all be symptoms. The coaches and trainers will likely cover this information as well, but sometimes kids may not be honest with how they’re feeling in hopes of getting back to playing sooner.

Consider ImPACT concussion management, a computer-based program that helps establish a baseline so if an injury does occur, physicians are able to compare pre-injury and post-injury test results.

Realize that a specific brand of helmet will not make a difference in protecting your child. But, ensuring that the helmet used fits properly and is well maintained are two important steps you can take.

Consider UW Health’s Sports Concussion Rehabilitation Program for athletes with prolonged concussion symptoms and be sure to talk with your physician if you have any questions or concerns.

Posted in Teens | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Stay Hydrated with Fruit Infused Water (Giveaway)

The body is about three-quarters water but the heat of the summer months can dehydrate the body very quickly. Symptoms of dehydration include dizziness, light-headedness, dry lips, mouth and skin, limited urination, and thirst.

Practice good hydration throughout the summer by:

  • Make water your number one beverage.
  • Carry a water bottle with you.
  • Drink up 8 ounces of water at every meal and snack.
  • Enjoy at least 5 servings of fruit and vegetables everyday, which are also a great source of water.
  • Consume caffeinated beverages in moderation. Coffee, black teas, dark soda pop and energy drinks generally contain caffeine.
  • Perform a urine check. Try to keep your urine looking like lemonade or lighter. If it looks like apple juice, take a break and drink up.
  • Drink before you are thirsty. The sign of thirst, such as a parched mouth, means the body is well on its way to dehydration.

August Recipe: Fruit Infused Water

infused_waterIngredients

  • 6 cups cold filtered water
  • 4 caffeine-free herbal berry tea bags
  • 2 sprigs mint leaves
  • 24 frozen whole strawberries
  • 24 ice cubes

Pour water into a large clear glass pitcher or jar.

Add the tea bags and mint.

Cover with a small dishtowel, large enough to keep debris and bugs out.

Place the tea in direct sunlight for 4 to 5 hours.

Remove the tea bags and mint leaves.

Add the berries and ice to the pitcher and chill prior to service.

Serve cold.

Smiling Sun

Enter this week’s giveaway:

Do you prefer your water fruit infused, with a slice of lemon or with bubbles in it? Leave a comment telling us your favorite way to drink water.
Prize: 1 $10 Woodman’s gift card and a water bottle.
Rules: Giveaway closes on Sunday, August 24, 2014 at 11pm CST. Open to Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois residents only. One entry per email address is permitted. The winner will be selected using random.org and announced on the following Monday as an update to this post. Winner will be notified via email and asked to provide a mailing address to receive the prize; if the winner does not respond within 7 days, the winner forfeits the prize and another winner will be selected. Subscribe to the blog and you’ll get new posts delivered to your inbox as soon as they’re posted.

Stay Hydrated with Fruit Infused Water (Giveaway)
About Cassie Vanderwall, MS, RD, CD, CDE, CPT
Cassie Vanderwall is a registered dietitian, certified personal trainer and certified diabetes educator at the UW Health Pediatric Fitness Clinic and Pediatric Diabetes Clinic. Cassie is passionate about empowering families by equipping them with the tools they need to achieve a healthier life.

View all posts by Cassie Vanderwall, MS, RD, CD, CDE, CPT
Posted in Nutrition | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Five Tips for the Transition to High School

Middle School to High School TransistionWhen I was asked to write a blog about the difficult transition into high school and I thought, “Interesting topic, but is it really necessary to discuss?” Then I had a 14 year old patient this week whose main concern was this: “How am I going to survive high school?” A mix of pop culture and passed down stories from well-meaning family members had terrified this soon-to-be 9th grader. She had heard that the older high school boys are preying on the “fresh meat” and that fights are breaking out in the halls on a daily basis. She also heard about the prevalence of weapons in school and wondered how she can protect herself. Should she carry pepper spray in her backpack? (This was her actual question to me and my heart broke).

It is true, whether coming from a middle school (grades 6-8) or a junior high school (grades 7-9), there are many things about high school that are different from the old school environment. High school usually means bigger building, larger student body, and more choices for classes. Where many middle schools have students housed in “teams” where the student has the same group of classmates in a set of classes, in high school there may be students from all different grade levels in the same class. There are positive experiences, like expanding opportunities for extracurricular involvement and increasing freedom, such as open campus lunches or study halls. There are also negative experiences, like increased intensity of school work and an overall more competitive environment in classes and sports. Throw in well documented risk taking behaviors that occur during this age, and it’s no wonder that a lot of new high schoolers are a little freaked out.

Do not despair! There are ways to help your teen make a smooth transition into high school:

  1. Set a routine, including time for homework and time for relaxing. A routine will help your teen feel more organized and less overwhelmed.
  2. Make sure your teen is getting adequate sleep and eating 3 meals daily. Family meals are a great time to catch up on the goings-on of your teen, not to mention a protective factor to the development of eating disorders (which tend to appear during times of stress and transition).
  3. Open the lines of communication so that they feel comfortable talking with you. Do frequent check-ins and make sure your teen knows that you are available to listen to whatever bothers them, without judgment.
  4. Know your child’s friends. It’s ok to be a little (or a lot) leery of the upperclassmen who want to have relationships with the underclassmen, either romantic or platonic. Discuss methods of dealing with peer pressure and again, remind your teen that he/she can come to you with any questions or concerns.
  5. Pay attention to any changes in your teen’s behavior. If there are frequent absences, decline in grades, or frequent physical complaints with no medical diagnosis, it may be a sign of something more serious, like anxiety, depression, bullying, or substance use. If there is any concern about changes in your teen’s behavior, contact his or her healthcare provider.

Transitioning to high school is a complex rite of passage that we all had to endure, and it can be very stressful. Fortunately, with a little guidance and compassion, the transition can be less traumatic and your teen will discover that high school isn’t all that scary.

Five Tips for the Transition to High School
About Paula Cody, MD, MPH
Dr. Paula Cody is fellowship trained in adolescent medicine and is a pediatrician at the UW Health John Stephenson Teenage and Young Adult Clinic.

View all posts by Paula Cody, MD, MPH
Posted in Teens | Tagged , , , ,