Think Your Kid Is Drinking Milk? Think Again…

Got MilkA friend of mine shared a link to this article on Facebook this morning, and I was instantly appalled. (Although, sadly, not surprised.) Aspartame in milk? Seriously?!?

Why is it that our country is making it harder and harder to eat wholesome, natural foods? Is it any wonder that there has been a huge spike in food-related disorders, cancers, and other unexplained health problems? Yes, please, let’s just keep adding chemicals and other nasties to our food, that will help…

Aspartame in milk and 17 other dairy products…. The best part is this petition is not only asking to do this, but asking to do this without having to put it on the label! They’re trying to say that the aspartame would provide for a lower calorie product and would “promote more healthful eating practices and reduce childhood obesity.” What?! Last I heard, aspartame actually contributed to obesity and diabetes and puts us at risk for certain cancers and other fun disorders. Not to mention, many people’s systems can not tolerate it very well. So what’s the real story here? That’s what I call conflicting information!

I’m outraged that the FDA is even considering this. I’ve been frustrated with all the horrible things I’ve been reading about our food lately anyway, and this just set me off. Why is it so hard to be able to affordably provide our families with healthy, natural foods?

I do not want my kid drinking any milk with aspartame in it, not to mention myself. If this ridiculous proposal does go through, I certainly hope they will be required to put it on the label. It should be illegal not to given all the health problems associated with aspartame and other artificial sweeteners.

I’m not sure if there is much we can do about this, but the FDA has opened public comments until May 21, 2013. I’ve already submitted my outrage. Let’s spread the word and try to send the government a message –

KEEP THESE CRAPPY CHEMICALS OUT OF OUR KIDS’ FOOD!

Submit your comments, supporting data, and any other information regarding this issue on the FDA’s site at:http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=FDA-2009-P-0147-0012

Then spread the word!!

The Whole Proposal

Photo Credit: pixagraphic via photopin cc

This article was originally published at Silverpen Productions, LLC

Dreaded RSV

Sick baby

It was one of every parents’ nightmares – my little girl was in the hospital, looking so tiny and helpless in that huge bed, hooked up to an IV and oxygen. How did we go from my crazy, nonstop kid to this in just a matter of days??

After a week of being sick, 2 doctor visits, and a day sitting in the ER, we finally learned that she had RSV – Respiratory Syncytial (sin-SISH-ul) Virus. And not only was it going around, this year, it was going around with a vengeance. Basically, RSV is an infection of the lungs and breathing passages. Everyone gets it. Most people will get it at least once a year. In healthy adults, it just presents as a bad cold – stuffy nose, cough, mild fever. But for young children (as well as the elderly), RSV can turn into a major respiratory illness.

The most frequent cause of lung infection in infants and young children, RSV usually lasts 5-15 days. The child’s airways will become inflamed and swell, the muscles around them will tighten and they will often fill with mucus, dead tissue, and fluid. RSV occurs in epidemics and peak season is typically November – April in the US. Virtually all children will have been infected by RSV at least once by the time they are 3 years old. Most children can be treated at home, but higher risk babies and those who have it morph into a severe lower respiratory infection may need additional support.

RSV is spread easily through aerosols and droplets, which means that any time a person coughs or sneezes, those around them can catch it just by being in close contact. You can breathe in the virus or get it by touching an infected surface, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes. Your child may be a higher risk baby if s/he:

  • Is less than 6 months old
  • Is premature or a small baby
  • Has another condition such as cystic fibrosis, neurological diseases, lung, or heart problems
  • Is around cigarette smoke or other tobacco smokes
  • Has a weak immune system due to immune system disorders, HIV, or transplants

It’s hard to tell at first if your child has RSV, as it presents similar to many other things. It initially starts out like a cold with a runny or stuffy nose, cough, fever, trouble sleeping and/or eating. If the illness becomes more severe, you may notice:

  • The fever not going away even with medication
  • Wheezing
  • Faster breathing
  • A “chestier” cough
  • Constantly sleepy
  • Lethargic
  • Fussy
  • Increased heartbeat
  • Decreased appetite
  • Vomiting with the cough
  • Dehydration

It’s time to high-tail it to the doctor if these symptoms worsen and/or you also notice:

  • Grunting or noisy breathing
  • Very fast breathing
  • Refusal to eat/drink
  • Pauses in breath
  • The nostrils becoming wider when breathing in
  • Pale or blue color of the skin – especially around the lips or nails
  • Pulling in of the skin around the ribs and neck with each breath
  • Dry mouth/cracked lips
  • No tears when crying
  • Low or no urine output
  • Sunken soft spot (if under 1)

These are signs that the illness has progressed to the lower respiratory track and is likely turning into bronchiolitis or pneumonia. They are also signs that your child is becoming dehydrated, not getting in enough oxygen, and needs additional support measures at the hospital, since both of these conditions can rapidly turn into much more serious problems in young children.

As parents, we want to protect our children as much as possible, but unfortunately, there’s not a whole lot we can do for this one. They have not yet been able to develop a safe and effective vaccine. High risk infants can get a series of the RSV immunoglobulin to help with some protection. However, this medicine is not right for all children so be sure to discuss the options with your pediatrician if you think your child may be high risk. The most important thing we can do to try to prevent infection is to wash hands with soap and water frequently (for at least 20-30 seconds) – especially before eating. Even though many of these things are hard to do in everyday life, also try to:

  • Keep hands away from mouth, nose, and eyes as much as possible
  • Keep your child away from large crowds during peak season
  • Avoid other sick people as much as possible
  • Breastfeed your infant since the mother’s antibodies will carry over through the milk
  • Clean toys and other objects that are shared with other people regularly with soap and water or another disinfectant
  • Do not expose your child to smoke – cigarette, other tobacco sources, or even a wood burning stove
  • Keep them away from any chemical fumes or dust
  • Cover faces when coughing or sneezing
  • Be sure that used tissues are immediately discarded in a lined trash can
  • If a school aged sibling comes down with a cold, try to keep them away from the infant or toddler as much as possible

For treatment at home:

  • Give your child a non aspirin fever medicine like acetaminophen or ibuprofen (Tylenol or Advil) to help control the fever
  • Use a cool mist vaporizer to help keep the air moist and to thin mucous (be sure to clean it daily)
  • If the nose is really blocked, use a nasal aspirator or bulb syringe to remove some of the fluids
  • Make sure your child drinks more than usual
  • Allow your child to rest with plenty of time at home to fully recover before going back out to daycare or normal activities

Unfortunately, this is a nasty virus that kids can (and probably will) get again and again. But if we as parents are aware of what to look for and what we can do to help, hopefully we can protect our littlest ones as much as possible.

At least Spring is almost here and this terrible bug season is winding down. Hopefully next year won’t be as nasty!

Other places for info:

American Academy of Pediatrics
141 Northwest Point Boulevard
Elk Grove Village, IL 60007-1098
847-434-4000
http://www.aap.org

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30333
800-311-3435
http://www.cdc.gov

Resources:

http://virology-online.com/viruses/RSV.htm

http://kidshealth.org/parent/infections/lung/rsv.html

Micromedex Solutions

http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/immunize/docs/RSV.pdf

A Personal Rant:

Superbugs, Superstorms, SuperFrustrated

Photo Credit: kourtlynlott via photopin cc

New Features

As this blog gets rolling, you will see some new features popping up. Here are a few of the upcoming features we have to look forward to seeing soon:

  • From Your Personal Trainer – This section will feature articles directly from trainers and consultants. They will offer expert advice and tips on fitness, nutrition, and general wellness.
  • Recipe Corner – We will periodically post tried and true nutritious recipes that are good for the whole family.  Yum!
  • The Doctor’s Corner – Articles from licensed physicians regarding all kinds of topics for your personal and family health.
  • Activity Corner – Fun activities for the whole family!

Stay tuned – lots of fun things coming your way on The IF Factor! Plus, more articles and personal posts on the usual infertility, adoption, pregnancy, parenting, and family topics as well as new contributor posts as well.

Have a great week!

“Just Relax!”

You know that nails on a chalkboard, animated steam coming out of your beet red ears as the sound of a runaway train barreling towards a cliff blares in the background feeling? It’s amazing how a simple phrase can sometimes send you instantly to that spot. That phrase for me is, “Just relax!” If you want to see me climb the wall, then please, tell me to relax.

It seems like such an innocent phrase. Never really bothered me back in the day, but once it started to take us a little longer than “normal” to get pregnant, I started to hear that phrase a lot, and it ANNOYED THE CRAP out of me. Even if I was in a perfectly relaxed state, I still heard about it:

“Oh, it’s probably just because you do so much, you need to slow down and relax.” “Don’t get stressed out it hasn’t happened yet. You just need to relax.” Fast forward a couple of years and a fertility clinic later and it turned into, “Just relax! As soon as you stop thinking about it, it will happen.” “You don’t need to go to that clinic, you just need to relax.” “All you need is one quiet night and a bottle of champagne. Just relax and Voila!”

Are you effing kidding me?!? Don’t you think if I wasn’t so hopped up on drugs and hormones that I wouldn’t love to down a bottle of wine right now?!? I was relaxed when we started trying. Are you, with all of your medical degrees, seriously telling me to just relax when my life is nothing but hormones, needles, pills, stirrups, temperature charts, doctors, and timed sex like it is a 9-5 job? Just relax, huh….

I get that they are all very well-meaning statements. But, at least in my case, that was the last thing I wanted to hear from anyone. It always so annoyed me that people (who, of course, had no problems at all having kids of their own) felt like they knew so much about me, my body, and our lives as a couple that they really thought that “relaxing” was the only problem. Been there, done that, DIDN’T WORK.

At the height of my drug regimen, I seriously thought I would rip a tree right out of the ground and jam it down the next person’s throat who told me to relax. It got so bad that I didn’t even want to be around “normal” people anymore. It just took up too much energy to try to stay polite, smile and nod my head like this was the most genius advice I had ever heard and certainly why hadn’t I thought of that before? It was just too draining. I didn’t have enough energy left in me to deal with that too. And if I wasn’t supposed to be getting stressed out, then certainly removing myself from that stressful situation must be the way to go.

I was lucky enough to finally be blessed with my baby, but that phrase can still drive me up the wall. Now it tends to gear more toward other aspects of my life. Apparently, my happiness isn’t enough – I seem to be much too busy for other people’s comfort. And if I happen to admit that I’m tired, it certainly couldn’t be because I’ve been chasing after a 2-year-old all day. It must be because I just need to relax. Not quite sure how that works with a toddler around, one that I just want to soak up every second with, but apparently that’s what I need.

Maybe I do, but please, leave it to my yoga teacher to say it.
Deep breath….

Structure Change

This blog was originally started to be specifically about infertility and all of the craziness that surrounds it. Unfortunately, soon after it started, we had to put production on hold for a while. This hiatus, however, also gave me the time to realize that focusing on infertility was not the right way to go. I wanted the blog to be a place that could offer some hope for others in this situation, and to provide a place that could offer not only advice and information, but just plain ole companionship too. Sometimes a couple can get so caught up in the world of IF that you begin to feel isolated. You feel like the only people in the world in that situation.

I realized that real hope is believing your life can move on from infertility in one way or another. The blog needed to reflect that. There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel somewhere. So I have changed the structure of this blog. Besides the new design and formatting, we will now offer topics that not only include infertility, but pregnancy, adoption, parenting, family health, and all of life’s little IFs. There will always be uncertainties and fears in any situation, but there is joy too. Hope and determination can move us on to the next step at any time. The IF may always be there, but so will the light. We just have to keep moving forward…