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As Prescribed

How many hours of TV does your family watch every day? According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children should spend no more than two hours watching TV, movies, and playing video/computer games.  It is no surprise that children mirror just about anything and everything that they see and hear, and studies are now showing that excessive TV exposure can have detrimental health and behavioral effects on children.

Excessive screen time has been linked to a number of negative consequences, including:

  • Obesity – Children who sit in front of the screen for more than 2 hours a day have an increased risk of obesity, due to a smaller amount of exercise. Additionally, TV commercials can introduce unhealthy foods to children.
  • Irregular Sleeping – Due to a lack of energy expenditure and increased mental arousal, watching a lot of TV can lead to a greater struggle at bedtime.
  • Behavior Issues – Elementary students who watch more than 2 hours of TV have a higher chance of developing an attention, social, or emotional disorder.
  • Decreased Academic Performance – Excessive TV watching has been linked to poor academic performance, compared to children who watch less TV.
  • Aggression – Studies show correlation between television exposure and aggression. In fact, those infamous Saturday morning cartoons are one of the worst offenders of airing violence. Exposure to violence and mature material on TV, in movies and video games desensitizes children to this inappropriate behavior, instilling the idea that aggression and violence is a safe and appropriate way to resolve issues.
  • Less Play – Children who sit in front of the TV are wasting time that could be spent playing outside or with friends.  Active play develops creativity, which is important for your child’s development.

For more information on ways to limit your child’s screen time and deciding which shows are appropriate for your child to watch, visit our website. Fort HealthCare can also give you the help and motivation you need to make healthy family choices with the NEW Movin’ and Losin’ family class. This class, held every Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. from September 17 to October 22, is designed for families with children ages 8 – 15 years old who are looking for ways to incorporate healthier eating and fitness habits into their everyday lifestyle. Each week, one of our Pediatric Nurse Practitioners and Occupational Therapists will cover a different topic related to diet and exercise, including a family activity utilizing Fort HealthCare’s new Railyard fitness equipment. Space is limited! Register online today or call Andrea Billinghurst at (920) 568-5244 to reserve your spot!

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When was the last time your child had a sports physical? If you have to think about it, then it’s probably time to schedule an appointment with your child’s primary care provider.  Many schools require a sports physical before a kid can begin practice, which may be starting any day now!

Sports physicals evaluate your child’s physical strengths and weaknesses to determine if your child is physically fit to play a certain sport.  It typically has two parts:  medical history and a physical exam.  For the medical history, your child’s doctor will ask about any sudden/unexpected deaths in the family, any symptoms during exercise (dizziness, lightheadedness, chest pain, difficulty breathing, fainting, etc.), allergies, past and present illnesses and injuries, chronic conditions and medications (including over-the-counter).  The physical exam includes a health examination of height, weight and vital signs.  The provider will check your child from head-to-toe including, but not limited to, eyes, nose, ears, chest, joints, bones, and muscles.

Sports physicals are important for preventing injuries.  Children are more vulnerable to sports injuries because they are still growing and developing their coordination.  In addition to regular physicals, many sports injuries can be prevented by using appropriate safety gear, changes to the playing environment, and enforcement of safety rules.

Regular physical examinations are recommended, even if your child doesn’t participate in sports. Children and teenagers need consistent check-ups because of their rapid growth and change.  Regular physical exams also help address possible health concerns right away, instead of letting them snowball into a more serious problem.

Many Fort HealthCare clinics have sent out reminders that it’s time to schedule your Back-to-School check-ups. During these appointments, sports participation forms and immunizations can all be signed off, and best of all, most insurance carriers cover these visits. Don’t wait long. Appointment slots are filling quickly!  Visit FortHealthCare.com/PrimaryCare to find a provider today.

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PinkEyeSharing butterfly kisses with your kiddo? Who doesn’t? It’s a great way to bond, cuddle…and potentially to spread conjunctivitis.  Also known as pink eye, this contagious infection causes irritation or infection of the membrane that covers the white of the eye and inside the eyelid.  It is very common in both children and adults, but with proper precaution and care, you can protect yourself and your child from catching and spreading the infection.

How did my child get pink eye?
There are many different causes of pink eye, including bacteria and viruses.  The infection can be spread from person to person, or it can develop on its own.  Children in daycare centers or school are exposed to more germs and may be more likely to pick up pink eye.

What are the symptoms?
Pink eye can be mistaken for general irritation or redness in the eye, but the following are some signs:

  • Redness in and around the eye
  • Eyes that are puffy and sore
  • Itching, burning, or stinging eyes
  • Watery eyes or yellow, pus-like discharge from the eye
  • Eyelids that are crusty or stuck together following sleep

How do I treat pink eye?
Though it’s a minor infection, it is very important to see a doctor if symptoms are present to prevent damage to the eye and stop the spread.  After it’s confirmed as pink eye, antibiotic ointment or drops will be prescribed to stop the infection.

Can I prevent pink eye?
Pink eye is highly contagious and can be spread through contact with the eye drainage that contains the bacteria or virus.  To prevent the spread of the infection, it is important to thoroughly wash hands and bedding, do not share towels, washcloths, contact lens equipment, eye makeup or eye medicine. Women should stop using any eye cosmetic products or tools (eyeliner, mascara, lash curlers, etc.) that may have been in contact with the infection.  If anyone else in the household shows symptoms, contact the doctor to begin treatment right away.

If you suspect pink eye in your child, talk to your family practice provider or pediatrician right away.  After antibiotics are started, drainage and irritation typically begin to subside in about 24-48 hours, though antibiotics should be continued for the duration stated by the provider.

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