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What parents and caregivers need to know about infant equipment and play positions

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Equipment such as car seats, swings, exersaucers and walkers are convenient for parents of infants, but what many don’t realize is that these items can cause concerns or delays with children’s development. Research has shown that using these items for long periods of time may lead to delayed motor development, decreased balance and body control as well as torticollis, plagiocephaly and toe walking.

Torticollis
Torticollis is a preference of turning the head in one direction, sometimes with a tilt or muscle tightness. Incidents of torticollis have increased since parents were encouraged to place babies on their backs to prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), which is said to be associated with infants sleeping on their stomachs.

Plagiocephaly
One in three infants have some degree of skull distortion. While babies’ head are malleable within the first six weeks after birth, plagiocephaly is an asymmetry or deformity of the head and/or face that continues beyond that six-week mark and should be evaluated by a physician. Early diagnosis is crucial!

Toe walking
Toe walking is consistent walking on the toes. This can lead to calf muscle tightness, impaired walking and balance, and increased risk of falls.

Parents are still encouraged to place babies on their backs when sleeping, but to also work on active, awake, and supervised tummy time with their babies to avoid these conditions. Tummy time can be done a variety of ways, such as on the parent/caregiver’s chest, over the lap, or with a towel roll under his/her chest. Also, consider approaching your baby from both sides to encourage your baby to rotate his/her head in either direction. Continue Reading »

Effective ways to manage fibromyalgia

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Sometimes the aches and pains of getting older are more than average body fatigue. If you are experiencing all-over body pain, increased tenderness to the touch, fatigue and problems with sleep and memory, you could be suffering from fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a non-life-threatening, chronic health problem that occurs most commonly in middle-aged women. It is less common—but not unheard of—in men as well as in younger individuals.

Aside from the commonly experienced symptoms mentioned above, individuals might also experience depression, anxiety, headaches and digestive problems. The symptoms of fibromyalgia can vary in intensity, sometimes leaving the person feeling as if the pain is taking over their life.

Research is ongoing to determine the cause of fibromyalgia, but there are several theories that are currently being studied. These theories include possible genetic or hereditary links, changes in levels of brain chemicals related to stress, and possible changes in the brain’s processing system regarding pain. Continue Reading »

Know your spots: recognizing measles

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Once a common childhood infection, the measles virus is now almost entirely preventable with a vaccine. There is now an average of about 60 cases of measles per year in the United States, and while most of those cases originate outside of the country, it’s still important to know the signs and symptoms of this illness, especially for young children or travelers.

In 2014 there were 644 cases of measles in the U.S., with the majority being imported from abroad. As of March 13, 2015, there have been 176 reported cases centered around four outbreaks, and with cases present in 17 states, the majority have been linked to a California amusement park. The majority of these cases are predominantly young, unvaccinated children, who are too young to have completed the MMR course.

Risk factors for measles include being unvaccinated, traveling internationally in areas where vaccinations are uncommon and having a vitamin A deficiency. Most common in children under five years old (the same age that the second MMR vaccine is administered), symptoms of measles appear 10 to 14 days after exposure to the virus and include:

  • Dry cough
  • Fever of up to 104°F
  • Conjunctivitis (inflamed eyes)
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Koplik’s spots—tiny white and bluish spots inside the mouth on the inner lining of the cheek
  • Flat, red skin rashes

Continue Reading »

How to choose a pediatrician

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Choosing a pediatrician can be overwhelming, no matter if it’s your first or fourth child. Thankfully, Affinity Health System has a whole team of experts to guide moms-to-be.

At around 20-24 weeks of your pregnancy, your doctor, midwife or a nurse educator may ask you if you’ve selected a pediatrician. This is a great time to start thinking about what you would want in a pediatrician for your new bundle of joy.

When I was at 22 weeks, I too needed to start thinking about choosing a pediatrician for my son. This is a great time to think through any preferences you may request in a pediatrician.  A connection specialist, like myself, will be able to match your family with a pediatrician. Some of the questions I will ask you include:

  • In what city do you prefer to have a pediatrician?
  • Are there certain specialties that you would request of your pediatrician?
  • Would you like to meet the pediatrician prior to your first appointment?

Continue Reading »

10 non-meat foods that are protein-rich

Whether you eat meat or not, protein is a vital part of our diets. Below are just a few of the foods that will help you reach your protein intake for the day.

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Disclaimer: The information found on Affinity's blog is a general educational aid. Do not rely on this information or treat it as a substitute for personal medical or health care advice, or for diagnosis or treatment. Always consult your physician or other qualified health care provider as soon as possible about any medical or health-related question and do not wait for a response from our experts before such consultation. If you have a medical emergency, seek medical attention immediately.

The Affinity Health System blog contains opinions and views created by community members. Affinity does endorse the contributions of community members. You should not assume the information posted by community members is accurate and you should never disregard or delay seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this site.