Celebrate Earth Day – Eco-Friendly Tips for Your Family

In recognition of Earth Day this Sunday, April 22, check out these easy tips that you and your family can do to help protect our environment.

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  • Eliminate packaging – One way to eliminate the amount of packaging we use, is to buy necessities in bulk. If it’s something you use a lot, it’s worth it to buy a larger size or multi-pack. Bring your own reusable bags or containers to stores too, and skip packaging all together.
  • Pack a waste-free lunch – Include sandwiches in reusable containers, whole fruits without packaging, and drinks in containers that can be reused. When possible, don’t include: individually wrapped snacks; plastic baggies that are not reusable; disposable forks and spoons; and straws.
  • Buy Eco-Friendly School Supplies – Many chain stores carry “green” school supplies, including recycled notebooks, pencils, backpacks and more!
  • Easy recycling – Make it easy for your family to go green by designating different bins for glass, metal, paper and plastic. Have your kids draw fun pictures or signs of the recyclable categories to label each bin.
  • Improve the Outdoors –When visiting a beach, park or any outdoor space, be sure to deposit your trash in trash bins. Go the extra mile and participate in a cleanup day at a local beach with your kids.
  • Use Less Water – When using a dishwasher, scrape plates instead of pre-rinsing, use energy-saving options when you can, and only wash full loads. If you wash your dishes by hand, try to assess ways you can cut back. Keep in mind that faucets use about 2 gallons per minute. Teach your kids about the importance of saving water, and how they can help – this includes using less water in the shower or when brushing.
  • Change your light bulbs – Replace any incandescent light bulbs in your home with fluorescent CFL bulbs. You can save a good chunk on your electricity bill!

Do you have any green tips? Leave us a comment and share what your family is doing to help the planet!

Protect Your Child With Vaccinations

National Infant Immunization Week (April 21-28) is coming up, and highlights the importance of protecting infants from vaccine-preventable diseases. This important campaign is a call to action for parents, caregivers, and healthcare providers to ensure that infants are fully immunized against 14 vaccine-preventable diseases, such as influenza, hepatitis, pertussis, and more.

In the United States, vaccines have reduced or eliminated many infectious diseases that once routinely killed or harmed thousands of infants and children each year. However, the viruses and bacteria that cause vaccine-preventable disease and death still exist and can be passed on to people who are not immunized. These diseases result in doctor visits, hospitalizations, and even death.

To help protect your child, be sure to talk to your child’s pediatrician to ensure that your little one is up-to-date on his immunizations.

For a schedule of recommended immunizations for children from birth to six years old, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, please click here: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/downloads/parent-ver-sch-0-6yrs.pdf

For an adolescent immunization schedule, or to learn more, please click here: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/recs/schedules/default.htm

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Earthquake Preparedness Tips For Your Family

It’s Earthquake Preparedness Month. To help keep you and your family safe during an earthquake, check out these important guidelines. Be sure to talk to your kids about the importance of being prepared for this, and other emergency situations.

 Have a safety checklist to make sure you’re prepared:

• Become aware of fire evacuation and earthquake plans for all of the buildings you occupy regularly.

• Pick safe places in each room of your home, workplace or school. A safe place could be under a piece of furniture or against an interior wall away from windows, bookcases or tall furniture that could fall on you.

• Practice drop, cover and hold on in each safe place. If you don’t have sturdy furniture to hold on to, sit on the floor next to an interior wall and cover your head and neck with your arms.

• Bolt and brace water heaters and gas appliances, as well as bookcases, china cabinets and other tall furniture, to wall studs.

• Hang heavy items such as pictures and mirrors away from beds, couches and anywhere people sit or sleep.

• Learn how to shut off gas valves in your home and keep a wrench handy for that purpose.

• Keep an emergency supplies kit in an easy-to-access location. In addition, keep a flashlight and sturdy shoes by each person’s bed.

During an earthquake:

• Drop, cover and hold on.

• Stay away from windows to avoid being injured by shattered glass.

• Stay indoors until the shaking stops and you are sure it is safe to exit. If you must leave the building after the shaking stops, use stairs rather than an elevator in case there are aftershocks, power outages or other damage.

• If you are outside when the shaking starts, find a clear spot and drop to the ground. Stay there until the shaking stops (away from buildings, power lines, trees, streetlights).

• If you are in a vehicle, pull over to a clear location and stop. Stay inside with your seatbelt fastened until the shaking stops. Then, drive carefully, avoiding bridges and ramps that may have been damaged.

After an earthquake:

• After an earthquake, the disaster may continue. Expect and prepare for potential aftershocks, landslides or even a tsunami.

• Check yourself for injuries and get first aid, if necessary, before helping injured or trapped persons.

• Look quickly for damage in and around your home and get everyone out if your home is unsafe.

• Listen to a portable, battery-operated or hand-crank radio for updated information and instructions.

• Look for and extinguish small fires. Fire is the most common hazard after an earthquake.

• Help people who require special assistance, such as infants, children and the elderly or disabled.

• Watch out for fallen power lines or broken gas lines and stay out of damaged areas.

• Keep animals under your direct control.

• If you were away from home, return only when authorities say it is safe to do so.

For more information on emergency preparedness, visit www.redcross.org.

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CHOC Recommends Sports Eye Safety Tips

Bet you didn’t know April is Sports Eye Safety Awareness Month? Check out the following safety tips for your athlete at home. Eye protection, just like helmets and other safety gear, is a must for many sports.

  • Facemasks or polycarbonate guards or shields that attach to a helmet are worn in sports such as football, ice hockey, and softball and baseball when batting.
  • Goggles are often worn for soccer, basketball, racquet sports, snowboarding, street hockey, baseball, and softball when fielding.
  • If your child wears glasses, you’ll probably need prescription polycarbonate goggles.
  • All eye protection should fit securely and have cushions above your eyebrows and over your nose.

Here are a few common injuries, and how to treat them. Keep in mind that although most sports eye injuries are minor, a few could require medical attention.

Black Eye – Although typically a minor injury, a black eye can also appear when there is significant eye injury or head trauma. A visit to the doctor may be required to rule out serious injury, particularly if you’re not certain of the cause of the black eye. What to do:

  • Apply cold compresses intermittently. If you use ice, make sure it’s covered with a towel to protect the delicate skin on the eyelid.
  • Prop your child’s head with an extra pillow at night, and encourage him or her to sleep on the uninjured side of the face. Call your doctor, who may recommend an evaluation to rule out damage to the eye.

Irritations – You can treat most minor eye irritations by flushing the eye with water. Remember to wash your hands before examining or flushing your child’s eye. Do not try to remove any foreign body except by flushing, because of the risk of scratching the surface of the eye. If a foreign body is not dislodged by flushing, it will probably be necessary for a medical professional to flush the eye.

Embedded Foreign Object – If an object, such as a piece of glass or metal, is sticking out of the eye, take your child to the emergency room. Keep your child – and yourself – as calm and comfortable as possible until you can get help.

Seek Emergency Care If Your Child Has:

  • Trouble Seeing
  • Been Exposed to Chemicals
  • Something Embedded in the Eye
  • Severe Eye Pain
  • Blood in the Eye
  • Nausea or Vomiting After an Eye Injury

Remember, the equipment your child wears while participating in sports is key to ensuring your child has a fun – and safe – game. Talk to your kids about sports safety and how to prevent injuries.

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Tips to Prevent Common Sports Injuries for Female Athletes

Do you have a young female athlete at home? Check out this segment from American Health Journal, where Dr. John Schlechter, orthopaedic surgeon at CHOC Children’s, discusses how to prevent sports injuries for female athletes.

Learn more about the CHOC Children’s Orthopaedic Institute, ranked among the best in the nation.

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CHOC Teen Shares Her Positive Take On Beating Cancer

In honor of National Young Adult Cancer Awareness Week (April 2-8), CHOC Children’s patient, Kenia Gonzalez, shares her story of how she coped with her diagnosis and went on to beat cancer. She wants young cancer patients to know “you are never alone!” 

Kenia, pictured outside of CHOC Hospital, was recently interviewed for the “OMG! Cancer Summit,” a special oncology conference for the young adult cancer movement.

My name is Kenia Gonzalez and I am nineteen years old. I was first diagnosed with ovarian cancer when I was seventeen. I was a senior at Century High School, a straight-A student who was involved in different activities, including captain of the volleyball team, when I found out my life was going to change completely.

I remember having a meeting with my parents and my doctor about what I was diagnosed with and what was going to happen next. At first, I felt overwhelmed by my whole situation since everything was happening so fast. It was a lot to take in because I was told about chemotherapy and its effects, and the limitations that I was going to have.

Getting diagnosed with ovarian cancer was not only tough for me to take in but I felt it was also very hard for my family – especially my parents. My parents are very strong people and I know they tried to be stronger for me. What motivated me to fight and not give up, were my parents because I knew I had to stay strong not only for myself but also for them. I was not going to let this disease defeat me and what helped me keep a positive attitude was the fact that I knew that I had complete support from my family, friends, classmates, and teachers. Most importantly, I knew my family was behind me every step of the way.

I feel completely blessed with all the support I received and I am proud to say I have been cancer free for two years. I am now attending college, working, and enjoying the opportunity I was given. I understand that not everyone who is unfortunately diagnosed with any type of cancer has the same reaction, but I just want to say to anyone who is having difficulties, to never give up and always keep trying, especially if it is something as valuable as their life, and to know that they are never alone.

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Celebrate Doctor’s Day

In recognition of Doctor’s Day – March 30, we’d like to take this opportunity to honor our CHOC Children’s physicians for their commitment and dedication to the children and families we are privileged to serve. Each day, they offer hope and healing through their world-class care.

They make sure even the smallest of patients have the opportunity to leave their “footprint” in this world.

 

 

Their comforting and compassionate care helps reduce the fear of our young patients.  

 

 

They treat our patients as if they are their own children.

They understand kids just want to be kids.

They are dedicated to healing and finding cures for children.

Who are your favorite CHOC physicians? Wish them a Happy Doctor’s Day!

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5 Kid-Friendly Activities To Do Over Spring Break

Spring Break is just around the corner for many Orange County kids. Check out these fun activities your kids are sure to enjoy. Do you have any kid-friendly Spring Break ideas of your own? Post a comment and share!

1. Plant a Garden – Kids, especially grade-school level, love digging in dirt, and love the sense of accomplishment that can come from creating something with their own hands. Find some space in your back yard and help them plant flowers or veggies. Gardening can be a great opportunity to spend time together.

2. Plan a Family Vacation – Whether you’re thinking of a quick getaway nearby, or flying out of the country, research some family-friendly destinations your kids will enjoy. Remember to pack plenty of snacks, games and gadgets to help kids stay occupied during the trip.

3. Plan for Easter – Easter is next week! Have your kids decorate Easter eggs, create Easter decorations, or make Easter cards for family members. Get creative and have fun.

4. Visit a Local Park – There are many wonderful parks in Orange County. Go on a bike ride with your kids or plan a family picnic, and enjoy the outdoors together!

5. Movie Night – Spend the evening together in your jammies, watching your kids’ favorite flick. Make popcorn or other home-made goodies together – your kids will love eating something they helped prepare. Use this time to share movies with your kids that you liked growing up. Or, go out and catch the latest kid-friendly movie in theaters.

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Tips to Manage Spring Allergies…Ah-choo!

Spring is officially here! And, although it may not seem like it with rain in the forecast, the signs of springtime are starting to peek through. Tree and grass pollen are starting to make the rounds. So if your child seems sniffly and sneezy lately, springtime allergies might be to blame. Check out the symptoms and tips below to help your child cope with allergies this season.

Symptoms
• sneezing
• nasal congestion
• itchy nose and/or throat
• coughing
• clear, runny nose
• itchy, watery and/or red eyes

What to Do
Although there is no real cure for seasonal allergies, it is possible to relieve symptoms. You can:

• Eliminate or reduce exposure to allergens – mold; tree, grass and weed pollen.
• Stay indoors on dry, windy days or when pollen counts are high (check the Internet or TV for pollen forecasts and current pollen levels) .
•  Have your child wash his hands and change clothing after playing outside.
• Clean floors often with a vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA filter.
• Delegate lawn mowing and other gardening chores that stir up allergens.

If reducing exposure is ineffective, medicines (such as decongestants and antihistamines) can help ease allergy symptoms. If symptoms cannot be managed with medicines, the doctor may recommend taking your child to an allergist or immunologist who can recommend the appropriate treatment.

For more info on this timely topic, click here:
http://www.choc.org/publications/index.cfm?id=P00303&aid=545

For pediatric Allergy and Immunology services at CHOC Children’s, click here:  http://www.choc.org/specialties/index.cfm?id=P00411

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