News Room

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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The school bells will be ringing soon and your children will be back in the classroom. As your kids return to the fields or courts for another sports season, it is important to remember how to protect your kids, especially from concussions.

Sometimes it can be hard to tell if someone is suffering from a concussion; not everyone loses consciousness! Symptoms can last anywhere from a few hours to many weeks and can range from mild to severe.  You should contact your doctor immediately if you notice any of the following symptoms.

  • Thought Processes and Memory – Inability to think clearly, slower thinking, lack of concentration, inability to commit new information to memory
  • Physical – Dizziness, nausea and vomiting, blurry vision, headache, issues with balance, exhaustion
  • Emotional – Sad, nervous, more upset or angry than usual
  • Sleep – Sleeping more or less than usual, difficulty falling asleep

Younger children may also exhibit symptoms such as crying more often, changes in the way they act, nurse, eat or sleep.  They may lose interest in their favorite toys, have trouble walking, or lose newly developed skills, such as toilet training.

When treating a concussion, the participant should stop what they are doing and rest in order to prevent further injury. It is best if the person can be monitored for 24 hours.  The individual should be taken to the hospital if s/he experiences a worsening headache, continuous vomiting, and increased drowsiness, dizziness, or disorientation.  Heart palpitations, seizures, passing out, and neck pain after a fall are all signs that the person should be taken to the doctor.

The resting of the body is needed to decrease the symptoms of concussion, this includes complete brain rest, for example no texting, no computer work, anything that requires hard concentration.  In some cases this will include school work and homework.  This should be done until all symptoms resolve.  A step wise progression back into activity can be started when they are symptom free.  Return to sport should be determined by a healthcare professional.  If symptoms persist past 2 weeks post-concussion syndrome should be investigated by you and your healthcare provider.  The Concussion Care Clinic can help with the resolution of post-concussion symptoms at the Fort Healthcare Therapy and Sport Centers.

Whether you’re playing a sport, driving or riding on a motorcycle or snowmobile, or participating in risky activities such as biking, skateboarding, skiing, and horseback riding, there are ways to reduce your risk of getting a concussion; one no-brainer way to prevent head injuries is by wearing the proper safety equipment.  You can also reduce your child’s risk of getting a concussion by properly using car and booster seats and instilling safe practices and measures while riding their bike, playing at the playground, etc. 

Fort HealthCare offers ImPACT concussion screenings—computerized neurocognitive assessment tools and services to determine if an athlete is fit enough to return to play after suffering from a concussion. ImPACT is highly recommended for people participating in contact sports, as individuals can take the baseline test which will establish that person’s normal score; should a concussion occur, the ImPACT can be re-administered to assist medical providers in making return-to-play decisions. You can find more information about ImPACT concussion screenings online or contact Fort HealthCare’s Therapy & Sport Center at (920) 563-9357 for an appointment.

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If your child is complaining of ear pain, s/he may have an ear infection.  Ear infections are relatively common in kids; around half of infants are diagnosed with an ear infection by the time they are one-year-old.  If children aren’t old enough to speak yet, they tend to become cranky or tug at their ear when they have an ear infection.  They are commonly preceded by a cold or teething. 

Here are some other symptoms your child may exhibit:

  • Fever
  • Interrupted sleep
  • Cough when laying down
  • Yellow or white discharge from the ear
  • Decreased appetite
  • Difficulty hearing quiet sounds
  • Balance problems

The best way to treat an ear infection is up to your child’s doctor.  If the situation is serious and the doctor is worried about lasting complications, then s/he will likely prescribe antibiotics right away.  Otherwise, doctors are hesitant to give antibiotics because the infection usually clears up on its own.  Antibiotics only provide minimal pain and fever relief, and take about 24-48 hours to take effect.  Doctors are also concerned about the effects of repeated antibiotic use, as there are an increasing number of bacteria becoming resistant to the medication. 

Your best bet after you notice the onset of some of the symptoms is to treat and monitor your child’s symptoms at home to make them more comfortable.  

  • Pain relievers, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (Ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin) and acetaminophen (Tylenol) will reduce your child’s pain and discomfort.  This is especially a good idea before bed time. 
  • Putting a warm cloth or heating pad on the child’s ear can help with pain relief. 
  • Doctors many times prescribe eardrops that will help with the earache.  It’s best to consult your doctor before using eardrops, particularly if your child has tubes in his/her ears. 
  • Resting will also help your child’s body to beat the infection.  

If your child’s symptoms get worse or persist for days, it is best to call your child’s doctor.  Fort HealthCare’s  Pediatrics  and Integrated Family Care  team is here to ensure your child gets better in no time!

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