Posts Tagged ‘American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)’

This year, get your child a flu shot, not the nasal mist

Friday, July 8th, 2016

pediatrician and babyWhile many parents (and kids) prefer the nasal mist flu vaccine, evidence shows that the flu shot is the best way to protect your child from the flu this year.

Why should my child get the flu shot instead of the nasal mist?

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) is a panel of experts that advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). They looked at data from 2013 through 2016 and found that the nasal spray was less effective than the flu shot.

The flu nasal spray contains a live but weakened version of the flu virus. Typically, vaccines containing weakened viruses are more effective and cause a stronger immune response than vaccines with dead viruses (such as the flu shot). Initial data suggested that this was the case with the nasal spray. In 2014, the ACIP actually recommended the nasal spray over the flu shot for children.

However, during the 2015-2016 flu season, the nasal flu vaccine’s protection rate was only 3 percent. This means that no protective benefit could be measured. Its effectiveness in the previous two flu seasons was also low. In contrast, the flu shot was 63 percent effective among children aged 2 to 17 during the 2015-2016 flu season.

Get vaccinated against the flu every year

There are many different flu viruses, and they’re always changing. Each year a new flu vaccine is made to protect against the three or four flu viruses expected to make people sick during the upcoming flu season. Protection from the vaccine only lasts about a year, so it’s important to get vaccinated every year.

While many parents (and kids) prefer the nasal mist, evidence shows that the flu shot is the best way to protect your child from the flu this year. The traditional flu shot is effective. Both the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend that everyone older than 6 months get the flu vaccine each year. It’s especially important for children younger than 5 to get the vaccine because they’re more likely to have serious health problems caused by the flu.

The flu shot is important for pregnant women too

Pregnant women or women planning to get pregnant also need their flu shot every year (the flu nasal spray was never recommended for use during pregnancy). If you get sick with the flu during pregnancy, you’re more likely than other adults to have serious complications. The best way to protect yourself is to get the flu shot each year before flu season, which runs from about October through May. Even though you’re more likely to get the flu during flu season, you can get it any time of year.

The ACIP recommendation must be reviewed and approved by the CDC director before it becomes policy.

Questions? Email us at AskUs@marchofdimes.org.

Vitamin D recommendations for US infants

Friday, March 26th, 2010

In November 2008, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) doubled the recommended daily intake of vitamin D for infants and children, from 200 international units (IU) per day (2003 recommendation) to 400 IU per day.

In a new study published in Pediatrics, many US infants are not getting the adequate amount of vitamin D they need based on that 2008 AAP recommendation. If you’re breastfeeding or your baby consumes less than 1 L/day of infant formula talk to your pediatrician about starting an oral vitamin D supplement. They’re not expensive and you can get them over-the-counter.

We have a couple of archived posts on vitamin D if you’re interested in learning more. Click here or here.

First solid food

Friday, January 15th, 2010

Most babies are ready to eat solid foods at 4 to 6 months of age. And for 20854955_thbmost babies it doesn’t matter what the first solid food is. Traditionally, we start with single-grain cereals such as rice or oats. However, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), there is no medical evidence that introducing solid foods in any particular order has an advantage for your baby. For example, your pediatrician might recommend starting vegetables before fruits, but there’s no evidence that your baby will develop a dislike for vegetables if fruit is given first. Babies are born with a preference for sweets, and the order of introducing foods does not change this.

Once your baby learns to eat one food, gradually give him other foods. Wait at least 2 to 3 days before starting another. After each new food, watch for any allergic reactions such as diarrhea, rash, or vomiting. If any of these occur, stop using the new food and contact your baby’s doctor.

Within a few months of starting solid foods, your baby’s daily diet should include a variety of foods that includes: breast milk and/or formula, meats, cereal, vegetables, and fruits. Talk to your pediatrician about when you should introduce eggs and fish. Some might say to avoid these foods during the first year of life because of allergic reactions. The AAP also states that there’s no evidence that introducing eggs or fish after 4 to 6 months of age determines whether your baby will be allergic to them.

Safety tips for the holidays

Monday, December 21st, 2009

20987026_thbThe holidays are an exciting time of year for kids, and to help ensure they have a safe holiday season, here are some tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). 

Toy Safety
• Select toys to suit the age, abilities, skills and interest level of the intended child.  Toys too advanced may pose safety hazards for younger children.
• Before buying a toy or allowing your child to play with a toy that he has received as a gift, read the instructions carefully.
• To prevent both burns and electrical shocks, don’t give young children (under age ten) a toy that must be plugged into an electrical outlet.  Instead, buy toys that are battery-operated.
• Children under age three can choke on small parts contained in toys or games. Government regulations specify that toys for children under age three cannot have parts less than 1 1/4 inches in diameter and 2 1/4 inches long.
• Children can have serious stomach and intestinal problems – including death — after swallowing button batteries and magnets.  Keep them away from young children and call your health care provider immediately if your child swallows one.
• Children under age 8 can choke or suffocate on uninflated or broken balloons. Remove strings and ribbons from toys before giving them to young children.
• Watch for pull toys with strings that are more than 12 inches in length. They could be a strangulation hazard for babies.

Food Safety
• Bacteria are often present in raw foods.  Fully cook meats and poultry, and thoroughly wash raw vegetables and fruits.
• Be sure to keep hot liquids and foods away from the edges of counters and tables, where they can be easily knocked over by a young child’s exploring hands.
• Wash your hands frequently, and make sure your children do the same.
• Never put a spoon used to taste food back into food without washing it.
• Always keep raw foods and cooked foods separately, and use separate utensils when preparing them.
• Always thaw meat in the refrigerator, never on the countertop.
• Foods that require refrigeration should never be left at room temperature for more than two hours.

Happy Visiting
• Clean up immediately after a holiday party.  A toddler could rise early and choke on leftover food or come in contact with alcohol or tobacco.
• Remember that the homes you visit may not be childproofed.  Keep an eye out for danger spots.
• Keep a list with all of the important phone numbers you or a baby-sitter are likely to need in case of an emergency. Include the police and fire department, your pediatrician and the national Poison Help Line, 1-800-222-1222. Laminating the list will prevent it from being torn or damaged by accidental spills.
• Traveling, visiting family members, getting presents, shopping, etc., can all increase your child’s stress levels. Trying to stick to your child’s usual routines, including sleep schedules and timing of naps, can help you and your child enjoy the holidays and reduce stress.