Posts By Gavin Griffin

Dictionary Contents : A : Albinism

Health and Wellness Dictionary: Definition

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Lack of normal pigment in the skin, eyes, and hair.the end

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Depressed Teenagers: The Problem, Risks, Signs and Solutions

The teenage years can be tough. While it may seem normal for teens to rebel, become moody, hang with the wrong crowd or begin to isolate themselves in their rooms, parents may want to pay closer attention to some of these behaviors which may be linked to signs of depression.

Looking for the signs
Is your child sad or appear to have no affect at all? Is your child preoccupied with the topic of death or other morbid topics? Has your son or daughter expressed suicidal thoughts or ideas?

Are they extremely moody or irritable beyond the normal hormonal twists and turns of childhood? Has there been a drastic change in your child’s eating or sleeping patterns? If you answered yes to any of these questions, your child may be suffering from a common but devastating mental health disorder called depression.

The problem
Depression occurs in 8 percent of all adolescent lives. Research indicates that children, in general, are becoming depressed earlier in life. The implications of this is the earlier the onset of the illness the longer and more chronic the problem. Studies suggest that depression often persists, recurs and continues into adulthood, and indicates that depression in youth may also predict more severe illness in adult life.

Depression in young people often co-occurs with other mental disorders, most commonly anxiety, disruptive behavior or substance abuse disorders, and with physical illnesses, such as diabetes.

The risks
Teenagers often turn to substances to “self-medicate” the feelings of depression. They reject prescribed medications because of the way it makes them feel and because of the negative social implications of being labeled as depressed. Drinking alcohol and using other substances may make teenagers feel better for a short period of time but the need to continually use these substances to feel “high” creates dependence and poses a serious health risk.

Depression in adolescence is also associated with an increased risk of suicidal behavior. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for 10- to 24-year-olds and as much as 7 percent of all depressed teens will make a suicide attempt.

The signs
Signs that frequently accompany depression in adolescence include:

  • Frequent vague, non-specific physical complaints such as headaches, muscle aches, stomachaches or tiredness
  • Frequent absences from school or poor school performance
  • Talk of or efforts to run away from home
  • Outbursts of shouting,complaining, unexplained irritability or crying
  • Being bored
  • Lack of interest in playing with friends
  • Alcohol or substance abuse
  • Social isolation, poor communication
  • Fear of death
  • Extreme sensitivity to rejection or failure
  • Increased irritability, anger or hostility
  • Reckless behavior
  • Difficulty with relationships

Parents often witness these warning signs but fail to act on them. Why? Because some teens hide the symptoms from their parents or parents chalk it up to a stage or moodiness. Many teenagers go through a time of dark looking/acting behavior with all black clothing and bizarre hair arrangements.This can throw a parent off of the trail of depression by the bewilderment of teen actions and behaviors. In addition, many teens react aggressively when confronted about possible depression by their parents causing Mom and Dad to back off.

The solutions
When dealing with teen depression, it is always better to “be safe than sorry.” Coping with an adolescent’s anger is much easier to deal with then handling his or her successful suicide or overdose. When parents first notice the signs of depression, it is important to sit down with their teen and ask them, gently but firmly, if they are feeling depressed or suicidal. Contrary to popular belief, asking a child if he or she has had any thoughts of hurting or killing themselves does not cause them to act on that subject. If the teen rejects the idea that they are depressed and continues to show warning signs, it will be necessary to seek professional help.

If the child acknowledges that he or she is depressed,immediately contact your physician and seek the assistance of a mental health professional who works with children and adolescents. In addition, parents can help their teen by confronting self-defeating behaviors and thoughts by pointing out their positive attributes and value.

Parents may need to prompt their teen to eat, sleep, exercise and perform basic hygiene tasks on a daily basis. Doing these daily routines can dramatically help improve mood. Try to direct the teen to hang out with positive peers. Steer them away from other depressed adolescents. Explore underlying feelings of anger, hurt and loss. Even the smallest loss of a friend or pet can intensify feelings of sadness. Allow the teen to talk, draw or journal about their feelings without judgment. And for suicidal teens, make a “no-harm” contract for 24 to 48 hours at a time when they will not hurt themselves.

With proper care and treatment, depression can be alleviated and suicidal behaviors prevented. Parents and teens may even find a new, deeper relationship developing between them as they work through the dark feelings of depression.the end 


How to create a non-toxic nursery for your baby

Today’s moms have more to consider when decorating the nursery than simply picking crib bedding that perfectly coordinates with the rug. We want a nursery that is safe, earth-friendly and above all, non-toxic. If you are a bit green (pun intended) on creating an eco-friendly nursery, follow these tips on creating a healthy space for your baby.

Nursery crib for boys

Between tummy time and crawling, your child will be spending a lot of time on the floor. Carpet can harbor dust mites, dirt and allergens, as well as emit VOCs into the air. One non-toxic alternative is to have hard-wood flooring paired with an area rug that is made of all-natural fibers, such as untreated wool, hemp (like a 100% hemp rug from Abundant Earth) or organic cotton. If you can’t give up carpet, make sure it is Green Label Plus Certified (tested to be low in VOCs) and vacuum 2-3 times a week with a vacuum that contains a HEPA filter.

paint can

Whether you want the walls painted princess pink or sky blue, make sure you are using a paint that minimizes how much odor and VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) are emitted. VOCs are released as paint dries, therefore it is important you keep the room well-ventilated and avoid painting when you are pregnant. Try to have the nursery painted well in advance to avoid exposing your baby to unnecessary chemicals. Serena & Lily Signature paints are formulated to have zero VOCs and low odor making them a great non-toxic paint choice.

The crib and changing table should be made of all-natural wood with a non-toxic finish, such as this solid maple wood crib from Totally Organic. Furniture that is made from particleboards or veneers can release toxic gasses, such as formaldehyde, into the air. Cribs that have polyurethane coatings or other harsh stains can contribute to a toxic nursery. Look for furniture with an all-natural finish, such as beeswax.

Swanky Baby Organic Crib Linens SetBaby bedding
Your baby (hopefully!) spends a lot of time sleeping in his crib, so it is especially important to make that space non-toxic. Buy a crib mattress that contains all-organic cotton filling or wool casings and avoid mattresses that contain the fire- retardant polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). All crib bedding (mattress protector, sheets, bumpers, blankets) needs to be free of the toxic flame-retardant PBDE and should be made of all-organic cotton. The Quilted Organic Crib Set from Dwell Studio is an eco-friendly choice as it is made of 100% organic cotton and processed without harsh dyes or chemicals. The Swanky Baby bedding set featured at right is organic and, with any luck, suggestive.

Baby care
Stock your nursery with baby care products that are free of toxic chemicals, such as sodium lauryl sulfate, artificial preservatives and dyes. Earth Mama Angel Baby products and California Baby are both good all-organic baby care lines that will keep your baby as non-toxic as his nursery.

Cleaning products
Use non-toxic products that do not contain harsh cleaners and are biodegradable. Seventh Generation and Simple Green are just two in a growing market of earth-friendly cleaning products. Avoid using commercial air fresheners that only coat your nasal passages to hamper your sense of smell. An earth-friendly option is to place a small dish of baking soda and lemon in the nursery to absorb odors from the diaper pail.

Air purifier
Are you gawking at the price of solid wood furniture and new flooring? If you can’t do it all, an air purifier can help remove the chemicals and other allergens circulating through the air.

Top 5 birthday party ideas for kids

When planning kids’ birthday parties, a single theme that combines decorations and activities can be lots of fun and keep the children entertained (a fun thought for the grownups!). But there’s no need to wear yourself out with complicated arrangements before the party’s even started: here are 5 children’s birthday ideas that will be enjoyable for the kids … and easy for busy grownups to plan!

By Lesley Mattos

Young girl at party sitting at table with food smiling

Good Sport Kids’ Birthday Party Ideas – Go For the Gold

Think Olympics as a theme for a children’s birthday party. Depending on when the birthday party is taking place, you can do simple variations on summer or winter events such as gymnastics and relay races and set up your party space for indoor or outdoor play. Hang flags from different countries and buy foil-covered chocolate circles in gold and silver to award as “medals” to all the kids participating. You can decorate your kids’ birthday party cake like the Olympic flag or, instead of a birthday cake, serve cupcakes colored and arranged like the Olympics flag circles: blue, yellow, black green and red.

A Capitol Kids’ Birthday Party Idea – Hail to the Chief

Your child doesn’t have to be old enough to vote for you to elect a presidential theme for a kids’ birthday party. And no one has to choose sides, either: just decorate the birthday cake and party space in all-American red, white and blue. In addition to regular party games, one activity you can do at this kids’ birthday party is have the girls and boys write down one thing they each would do if they were president. Or they can write one question they have for the current commander in chief, and you can send it to the White House on their behalf.

Just Boys Kids’ Birthday Party Idea – It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane …

Boys love playing superhero, and if you’re having a birthday party just for boys, a fun kids’ birthday party idea and activity would be to have them come as their favorite superhero. You can also transform the guests into superheroes at the children’s birthday party with the help of some store bought or homemade masks and capes. The boys can even make their own masks, and one birthday party activity can be for them to use their imaginations and make up a brand new superpower.

Just Girls Kids’ Birthday Party Idea – It’s Tea Time!

If your children’s birthday party is going to be an all-girl affair, how about having the birthday girl host a tea party? It can be simple or fancy, depending on the girls’ ages and what’s easily available to you. If the girls are little, use different-colored napkins to set the table prettily and serve iced tea in plastic cups. For older girls, using china cups and saucers would be an elegant way to celebrate at your child’s birthday party. If you don’t want to risk your own fine china, look around at local thrift stores or garage sales for a mix-and-match variety of dishes.

Unique Kids’ Birthday Party Idea – Picture This … With an Adesso Album Instant Photo Guest Book

With an Adesso Album Instant Photo Guest Book, you can capture the magic moments with instant Fuji, Polaroid or Digital photos at your children’s birthday party as they’re happening. While the party is going on, taking instant photos can be one of the kids’ birthday party activities. If the children are old enough, they can even be the ones taking the pictures! Together with hand-written messages from party guests, friends and family, you’re creating a personal, one-of-a-kind keepsake that you’ll have long after the party’s over. Enter this discount coupon code KIDS09 to get a 10% discount at checkout.

For more birthday party ideas:

Age appropriate guidelines for birthday party success
Planning a birthday party: Step by step
How to plan a birthday party on a budget
Budget-friendly party favors

Is your child too sick to go to school?

Filed under: Ages 10-14, Ages 3-5, Ages 5-8, Ages 8-9 — Tags: cold, diarrhea, fever, home, illness, school, sick, sore throat, stomachache, vomiting — Mary @ 7:24 pm
Most schools have policies about sending your children in when they’re sick. Please abide by them. If you aren’t sure how to interpret those policies, print out this checklist of when NOT to send your child to school:Is your child too sick to go to school?

If your child has a temperature over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, keep him home. He’s probably too sick to do sit through six hours of school, and he may be contagious.

If your child has a sore throat as well as a fever, headache, stomachache or swollen glands, don’t send him to school. It could be strep.

Your child should stay home if he has thrown up more than once in the last 24 hours.

If it looks like the highly contagious pinkeye, don’t send your child to school. Symptoms include bright red eyes that get stuck shut and have an ugly discharge. He’ll need an antibiotic.

A stomachache is a child’s favorite stay-home-from-school excuse, and that’s just what he should do if it’s accompanied by vomiting, fever or a tummy that feels hard.

Do not send your child to school if he’s had more than two episodes of watery bowel movements in the last 24 hours. He may have an infection.

Colds can really run a kid down. If he has a runny nose, plus a persistent cough and tiredness, keep him home. Ditto if the cold is accompanied by a fever.

You know your kid. If he has any of the above symptoms, keep him home and have him checked by a doctor.

Check out Airbourne Contagions for a fun take on the subject.

Is your child ready for kindergarten?

As I think of the day that my little guy will step foot in his Kindergarten class for the first time, I know that I won’t be ready to see him growing up so fast. But I wonder: will he be ready? Here is how to get your child (and you!) ready for the big day.

Basic Knowledge
Gone are the days when the first time you laid eyes on the alphabet was when you walked into your first day of the big K. Now days, schools are holding higher standards for kids before they even set foot on campus. Common skills and knowledge expectations include:

• Recognizing and reciting letters and numbers, and the difference between each
• Writing their name with the proper capitalization
• Identifying key shapes and colors
• Matching rhyming words
• Proper use of scissors and pencil hold
• Following two part directions
• Knowledge of first and last name, parents names, address, and phone number
• Ability to dress themselves and tie their own shoes
• Simple social skills such as taking turns and getting along with others

Each school district is different, so make sure to give your babe’s future school a call for the specifics.

In order to register your youngster for Kindergarten, you will need to dig into that filing cabinet and provide the proper documentation. Before heading to the school’s registration office, make sure you have your child’s official birth certificate, social security number, proof of physical from a recent trip to the pediatrician’s office, and documentation of current immunizations. Otherwise, be prepared to be sent to the principal’s office (or at least back home).

Each state has its own set of immunization requirements for kiddies entering daycare, kindergarten, and grade school. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, common vaccination requirements include:

• Diphtheria, Tetanus and acellular Pertussis (DTaP)
• Hepatitis A (Hep A)
• Hepatitis B (Hep B)
• Haemophilus influenzae Type b (Hib)
• Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR)
• Measles Dose 2
• Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV)
• Polio
• Varicella

The most recent immunization requirements, broken down by state, can be found here at the CDC website.

Birth date cut offs
The cut off date that determines when a child enters Kindergarten varies from state to state. Typical Kindergarten birth date cut offs range from August 15th in Alaska to December 31st in Rhode Island and Hawaii.

School Supplies
With school budget cuts on the rise, some schools require that basic school supplies are provided by the parents of each student for use in the classroom. Some basic supplies include glue, crayons, markers, pencils, scissors, construction paper, zipper sandwich bags, tissue, disinfecting wipes, and more. It’s important to check with your child’s pending school on which supplies are needed. You don’t want your little guy to be the first one sent home with a note pinned to the back of his shirt!

Confidence Now that you’ve successfully completed registration, loaded his backpack with the necessary supplies, and quizzed your little genius to prep him to embark on his educational journey, take a deep breath. You’ll do just fine on his first day of school!


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Holiday crafts & coloring printouts

What’s the best way to show your kids some Valentine love? Play with them!

Have a heart!
Valentine craft fun
All Valentine crafts
Valentine’s Day coloring page printouts
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Dictionary Contents : H : Hepatitis A

Health and Wellness Dictionary: Definition

Dictionary Main | Search | GeoParent Main Page
Health articles | Message boards | Expert Q & A

Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A is an infection of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). Young children often have no symptoms or very mild symptoms of disease. Adults and older children are more likely to have typical symptoms, which include fever, loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhea, and generally ill feeling (malaise). The skin and whites of the eyes take on a yellow color (jaundice). A person who has no symptoms is still infectious to others.

HAV is spread by the fecal-oral route. This means the disease is spread by putting something in the mouth that has been contaminated with the stool of an infected person. It can also be spread when a person eats food or drinks beverages which have been handled by a person infected with HAV and not subsequently cooked.the end

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Dictionary Contents : P : Pneumonia

Health and Wellness Dictionary: Definition

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Inflammation of the lungs characterized by fever, chills, muscle stiffness, chest pain, cough, shortness of breath, rapid heart rate and difficulty breathing.the end

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