HEALTH

Small Children Smart Shopping

Trip To The Doctor Dyslexia: Warning Signs Put An End To Polio Cope With Rare Disease Childhood Obesity Buy Healthful Food Schizophrenia Signs And Support

Save A Bundle On Your Bundle Of Joy

(NAPSI)—The next time you or someone you care for is about to have a little addition to the family, a few helpful hints may prevent a lot of subtraction from the family budget.

After all, parents spend on average about $14,000 during their baby's first year, making baby products a $9.8 billion industry in the U.S. annually.

Helpful Hints

Raising a baby doesn't come cheap, but there are plenty of ways to save. These money-saving tips from Sandra Gordon, one of the nation's leading baby products experts and author of the new book "Save a Bundle: 50+ Ways to Save Big on Baby Gear," can help make the difference:

• Shop Midweek—Often, the best deals on baby gear are available during the week because retailers want to generate consumer traffic.

• Join the Club—Get on the e-mail list of your favorite baby stores and keep your eyes peeled for notices about in-store sale events or online-only promotions. Also, sign up on manufacturers' websites for coupons.

• Make a List—As with grocery shopping, write down what you really need and stick to your list. Impulse buys on stuff you really don't need can wipe out your savings.

• Learn to Share—Ask friends if their kids have outgrown anything and consider consignment shops and yard sales.

• Shop Store Brands—While breast milk is best, for moms who choose to formula-feed or want to supplement breast milk with formula, store-brand infant formula can be a great option. Store-brand formulas, such as Walmart's Parent's Choice and Target's Up & Up, are nutritionally equivalent to the name-brand formulas yet cost up to 50 percent less. This can help parents save up to $600 a year.

Learn More

For more information about store-brand formula, you can visit www.storebrandformula.com. For other money-saving tips, visit www.babyproductsmom.com.

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A Trip To The Doctor Can Be Child's Play

(NAPSI)—While taking your toddlers to the doctor probably isn't a walk in the park, it's natural for them to be scared by the bright lights, white coats and cold instruments that poke and prod them. With a little preparation that involves some playtime, though, you can alleviate some of their reservations and maybe even make the experience a little bit fun.

"Confronting their real and imagined fears takes a combination of patience and creative role- playing," said pediatrician Dr. Macelle Neuwirth. "It's important to diminish unnecessary stress before and during the doctor visit so that we can make the children more comfortable and trusting and ultimately create a more ideal atmosphere for medical attention."

Parenting expert Rosie Pope agrees. "Empowering your children with the truth means their fear and imagination won't run wild when it comes to the doctors," she said. "Always stay upbeat about a doctor visit and explain what is going to happen before they arrive."

Start With a Conversation

It's important that you start by explaining to your toddlers both why they are going and that the doctor is there to make them feel better—or keep them from getting sick. This is not the time to "surprise" them upon arrival at the doctor as that can only lead to "tears from fears." Maybe the family's pet has been to the "pet doctor" and your toddler can see that it's feeling better—and was brave, too.

Turn Playtime Into Prep Time

Playtime is an excellent time to talk about the upcoming visit and act out what they will most likely find when they get to the doctor. That way, you can address anything that may be scaring them and "role-play" different parts of the exam. The new Little Mommy Doctor Mommy doll from Mattel is not only a fun toy but a great tool for this role-play. Because she comes complete with her own medical kit, you can play out taking your toddler's temperature, checking reflexes and even getting a shot. The interactive "prompts" from the doll can lead the playtime activity and then turn the tables with your toddler acting as "doctor."

Take a Familiar Toy With you to the Doctor

Children find comfort in the familiar—especially in an unfamiliar setting. If you've role-played the visit with Little Mommy, take the doll with you as a source of comfort. When toddlers are sick, they can tell the doctor "where it hurts" on the doll to take the emphasis off of them. Parts of the exam can be done together with the doll to mirror the playtime performed at home.

"When children can give a doll or her parent or sibling a pretend exam, it helps them feel more in control of a sometimes uncertain situation," added Dr. Neuwirth.

End your visit with a treat to reward brave behavior, and if there were still some tears, that's OK. A little post-exam role-play offers another chance to share feelings. The more your toddlers know, the more prepared they will be the next time.

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Dyslexia: Warning Signs And Solutions

(NAPSI)--One in five people in the U.S. has some sort of learning disability like dyslexia, yet experts say that for many children, the problem remains undiagnosed far longer than it should. Recognizing the early signals of such learning differences can be extremely important for a child's success in school and life.

Pediatric neuropsychologist Nichole Dawson, Ph.D., has a son with dyslexia, and has teamed up with Learning Ally, a national nonprofit, to inform the public about dyslexia's early warning signs, advising parents on what to look for.

Dr. Dawson recommends watching your child to see if he or she has difficulty with:

• learning the alphabet, identifying letters, and/or processing letter-sound relationships;

• learning nursery rhymes, preschool songs, the days of the week, the months of the year;

• learning to count and recognize numbers;

• reading out loud (slow, "choppy" and error prone);

• learning vocabulary, names of people and places.

Get An Expert Evaluation

If a child is exhibiting some of these symptoms, an evaluation by an expert in dyslexia and reading impairments may be helpful. School psychologists, pediatric neuropsychologists, educational therapists and speech language pathologists are among the professionals who are qualified to provide a diagnosis.

Dr. Dawson advises parents not to delay testing. "Studies show that a child's reading skill level at the end of kindergarten is predictive of where his or her reading skills will be in third grade," she says. "After diagnosis, supports and accommodations can help children with learning differences succeed academically."

One proven accommodation she points to is Learning Ally, which provides struggling readers with access to their curriculum via audio textbooks.

"Learning Ally is remarkably effective for individuals with dyslexia as well as other reading or learning challenges," Dawson says. "Its library of 75,000 digital titles—the largest of its kind in the world—can be played on everyday devices including PCs, Macs, iPhones and iPads."

Learning Ally's website offers robust support to parents and even provides a directory for finding specialists near your home.

Happily, successful intervention can reduce academic frustration and minimize the negative impact of dyslexia on a child's learning success. All it takes is the right tools.

To learn more, visit www.LearningAlly.org/DyslexiaSigns.

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Putting An End To Polio

(NAPSI)—Here's good news about health: There has never been a more opportune time to finish off polio, with new cases at an all-time low and the wild poliovirus now confined to only a few pockets in Afghanistan , Nigeria and Pakistan -and you can be a part of the solution. In less than a generation, the number of reported cases has fallen by 99 percent, mostly due to mass immunization drives.

The problem, public health experts say, is a $700 million funding gap that threatens to undermine all the progress achieved against the disease. If the eradication effort stalls now, polio could rebound quickly, potentially paralyzing 250,000 children a year. Unvaccinated children everywhere, including those in countries now polio free, would be at greatly increased risk.

In 1988, Rotary International joined with the World Health Organization, UNICEF and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to launch the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, a worldwide effort to eradicate this crippling childhood disease. To date, Rotary has contributed nearly $1.2 billion to the effort.

A new, innovative, interactive online campaign gives everyone a chance to support the fight to end polio by joining Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Bill Gates, Jackie Chan, Amanda Peet and other world figures and celebrities already participating in Rotary's "This Close" campaign (as in, "this close" to ending polio) to raise awareness and support for polio eradication.

You simply upload a photo of yourself to www.endpolionow.org, to be edited into a constantly expanding promotional spot-the "World's Biggest Commercial." You'll get an e-mail with a direct link to your image.

You can also buy "End Polio Now," an album of songs performed by Rotary polio ambassadors from the music industry, including polio survivors Itzhak Perlman (classical violin), Donovan (folk rock) and Staff Benda Bilili (Congolese soukous).

The album is available via iTunes and shop.rotary.org.

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Help Coping With Rare Disease Diagnosis

(NAPSI)—It may seem strange, but rare diseases are pretty common. In fact, according to the National Institutes of Health, more than 25 million Americans—about 8 percent of the U.S. population—have been diagnosed with one. They and their families have to handle the stresses of managing it, but now there's help for some from an unusual source.

The Problem

Unfortunately, a rare disease diagnosis can often take years of tests and uncertainty. Carol Fisher, a research nurse and study coordinator at the neurogenetics lab at New York University's Langone School of Medicine, who has spent the past 15 years caring for patients who are suffering from one such rare disease, known as Gaucher (pronounced go-shay) disease, has done something about it.

A Nurse's Answer

"Over the years, I've seen so many children and their families trying to come to terms with this disease," said Carol. "I wanted to find a way to make people feel better about the disease, to ease some of the concerns parents and patients may have, and to prepare them for the journey that lies ahead."

What Is Gaucher Disease?

Gaucher disease is a chronic and progressive disorder with many different symptoms that can range from patients showing no symptoms to experiencing severe disease manifestations. It's an inherited genetic disease that often strikes within an extended family and affects many of the body's organs and tissues, including the liver, spleen and bones. It's estimated that between one in 50,000 and one in 100,000 people have Gaucher disease.

When a child is diagnosed with a rare disease, it can be a very confusing and difficult time for the family. Inspired by her brave, young patients, Fisher partnered with Shire HGT, a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to helping people with life-altering conditions lead better lives, to write a children's book to help newly diagnosed children and their families understand type 1 Gaucher disease in a simple context. Through "David Explores Gaucher Disease," she hopes to ease some of the concerns the family may have and explain a little about managing the disease in easy-to-understand terms instead of medical jargon.

"Those first few visits can be scary, especially for children," said Carol. "These families are already going through so much, and my hope is that the book will give them some support."

Free Books

Free copies are available by e-mailing Shire_Program@Shire.com. To learn more about Gaucher disease, please visit www.onepath.com.

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PSA Campaign Addresses Childhood Obesity

(NAPSI)—There is helpful news for parents and others who are concerned about the health of America 's children.

A new public service education campaign offers tips on getting children to eat right, be more active and maintain a healthy weight.

Childhood Obesity

The Obesity Prevention in Children Campaign, created by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), NIH's We Can! (Ways to Enhance Children's Activity & Nutrition)® program and the Ad Council, is focused on helping parents and caregivers help children maintain a healthy weight by highlighting the benefits of physical activity and healthy eating habits in a fun and engaging way for the whole family.

Through a multimedia public service advertising (PSA) campaign, developed pro bono by Ogilvy & Mather, American families are encouraged to learn how to stay healthy by making family time healthy time.

Today, nearly one in three children in America are overweight or obese. Overweight youths are at greater risk for numerous health consequences, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases. In order to reverse the trend of childhood obesity in this country, it is crucial that parents have the information they need to help them teach children the importance and benefits of healthy eating and being physically active.

The new "I Can, You Can, We Can!" PSAs are designed to empower parents and caregivers to find creative ways to challenge and engage their kids to make healthy choices.

In the video PSA "Dunk," a mom challenges her kids to be more physically active by attempting to, and finally succeeding in, dunking a basketball. The TV PSA "Juice" shows a father trying multiple combinations of fresh fruits and vegetables in a juicer in an attempt to find a blend that will appeal to his daughter and encourage her to eat healthy.

The PSAs direct audiences to the We Can! website, where they can find fun suggestions for ways families can get healthy together, such as:

• Playing music and challenging kids to a dance-a-thon in the living room. See who has the best moves.

• Asking the kids to help choose recipes to cook for the week. Challenge them to find recipes that include at least two different vegetables.

• Having a sit-up competition with the kids during commercial breaks when watching TV.

• Buying and serving a new fruit or vegetable at least once a week. Have a mini taste test competition during dinner with the new ingredients.

To learn more about the program and find doable tips and activities to share with the entire family, visit www.nih.gov/wecan. To learn more about the Ad Council, visit www.adcouncil.org.

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Buying Healthful Food

(NAPSI)—Families across America say that the cost of healthy groceries makes it hard for them to cook healthy meals, according to the national survey It's Dinnertime.

You don't have to spend a lot of dough to get good food. The next time you're at the grocery store, try these tips:

• Buy fresh produce when it's in season—it's less expensive and tastes better that way. Also look at frozen and canned fruits and vegetables. They often cost less than fresh and may be more nutritious.

• Compare unit prices, most often found on a small tag on the shelf under the item. Compare the cost of different-sized containers and different brands.

• Read food labels. Consult the "% Daily Value" to find out if a serving of food is high (20 percent or more) or low (5 percent or less) in a nutrient. Choose foods with lower percentages of saturated fat and sodium.

• Choose whole grains. They keep you full longer. Look for the word "whole" (such as "whole wheat" or "whole grain flour") in the first ingredient. Other common whole grains include brown rice and oatmeal.

This advice and the It's Dinnertime survey come from the experts at Share Our Strength's Cooking Matters®, sponsored by the ConAgra Foods® Foundation and Walmart. Cooking Matters is part of the No Kid Hungry campaign, a national movement to end child hunger in America by connecting kids with healthy food every day. Learn more at www.CookingMatters.org.

 

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Recognizing The Signs And Symptoms Of Schizophrenia And Seeking Support

(NAPSI)—Imagine that during the hopeful and exciting period of your life as you enter young adulthood, you begin seeing things that are not really there, behaving strangely without control and having problems speaking clearly. These are some symptoms of schizophrenia, a chronic and disabling brain disorder that affects about 2.5 million American adults and usually occurs between the late teens and mid-30s.

Meet Rebecca Roma, M.D., medical director, Community Treatment Team at Mercy Behavioral Health in Pittsburgh, Pa., and Rebecca P., an individual who was diagnosed with schizophrenia during college. Together they discuss the signs and symptoms of the condition, where to seek help and how to start on the path toward recovery.

How does one recognize the signs of schizophrenia?

Dr. Roma: Schizophrenia may occur abruptly and manifest as social withdrawal, deterioration in daily personal care, unusual behavior, outbursts of anger, paranoia, hallucinations or delusions.

Rebecca: When I was 17, I started becoming more introspective, felt sad and became paranoid. By college, I thought people were coming after me. I was unable to turn off unwanted thoughts, making me unmotivated, suspicious and scared.

What can you do if you suspect you or a loved one may have schizophrenia?

Dr. Roma: First, it is important to talk to your doctor and get educated. There are also local organizations, such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health America , that offer support for both individuals with mental illness and their family members/caregivers.

Rebecca: When I first experienced symptoms, I withdrew from family and did not talk about what was going on with me. But over time, I realized my mom was my strongest source of support. She communicates with my treatment team and attends classes with me at our community mental health center.

In your experience, is recovery possible for someone with schizophrenia?

Dr. Roma: Mental health recovery is an ongoing process, not one single outcome. The experience can vary widely from one person to the next. That's why recovery plans are individualized and tailored toward each person's unique needs.

That said, I know individuals with schizophrenia who are living independently and keep steady jobs and others who are living with family, helping with chores and contributing to the household income.

Once diagnosed and on treatment, I recommend that individuals sit down with their treatment team and loved ones to create an action plan for achieving goals.

Medication, including oral and injectable treatments, is the mainstay of treating schizophrenia symptoms. Long-acting injectable antipsychotic therapies (LATs), which are administered every few weeks to a month depending on the medication, offer patients a choice of how often to take their medication and may help eliminate one less pill a day for their schizophrenia.

There are resources available for those affected by schizophrenia, including support groups, peer-to-peer programs and informational websites, such as www.TreatOnceMonthly.com.

Rebecca: With support and treatment, I have redirected my focus from managing my disease to living life. I now take a long-acting medication and am no longer worried about remembering to take my medication every day, although I do still have to remember to go to my medication appointments.

To others struggling with schizophrenia I would say, know you are not alone and there is hope.

Learn more about treatment options for schizophrenia at www.TreatOnceMonthly.com.

TreatOnceMonthly.com provides resources for individuals living with schizophrenia to help them understand treatment options and choose a medication that is right for them with the help of a healthcare professional. Visit the site to watch patient videos, access a doctor's visit guide and learn more about different types of long-acting treatment.

Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., provided the content for this article.

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