For many parents, the assumption is that once the trials of potty training have been navigated it is goodbye to nappies and pull-ups. However lots of children take many years to become fully dry overnight. Not only is this usually normal, but it is typically something that will sort itself out with a bit of time and patience. If you are worried about your child not yet being dry overnight take a look at my recent Patient article for some advice and tips.
If any of you have had children, you will be very familiar with the concept of Colic. Colic is not only miserable for the baby, but also can take its toll on the rest of the family. Read my latest Patient post for some tips and tricks on getting through those tricky first months.
On the last day of September I wanted to share my recent Patient piece about the campaign to raise awareness of childhood cancer. A definite read for any parent.
I’ve recently had a few people ask me for my thoughts on the varicella (or chickenpox) vaccine…. so here goes….
The immunisation has been around since 1995 and is part of routine childhood vaccination regimens in many countries including the USA. In the UK (as in others) vaccination is targeted at specific ‘at risk’ groups only.
So assuming you don’t fall into that category, should you bother forking out to have it done privately?
When thinking about immunisation a good rule of thumb is to consider two things. Number one is; how does it affect me or my child as individuals, and number two; what is the impact on the wider community. Continue reading →
How fantastic is the weather at the moment! Perfect timing for the Easter holidays and we (along with most of the country it seems) have been making the most of it. Having been slightly caught off guard by the beautiful rays earlier in the week, today I retrieved a bottle of factor 30 from the back of the cupboard, and even remembered to slop it on the sprogs every so often.
Obviously with many things in life prevention is better than cure, so avoiding getting sunburnt is clearly the name of the game. Unless you’ve lived under a rock for the past few decades you will no doubt be aware of the harmful effects of UV light. Despite this, I bet your bottom dollar that you’ve occasionally had a pink glow about you following a long day in the sun? Yup – we’ve all done (and regretted) it. Its worth remembering that children are particularly susceptible to sun related skin damage and a significant burn can markedly increase their lifetime risk of melanoma…. a sobering thought. So if in doubt remember the old slip, slop, slap mantra….
Unfortunately there is no undoing sunburn. If you do misjudge things and get caught out I’m afraid to say that the damage has been done… however there are a few things that are definitely worth trying to ease things as much as possible….. Continue reading →
When I was at school I fell in with a very sporty crowd of girls. Unfortunately for me I did not poses a huge amount of natural athletic flare, but being quite a diligent pupil I applied myself to sports and gradually worked my way up the rankings of the various teams. I don’t think I ever made the ‘A’ team of anything unless a rogue illness had swept through the school and I was the only one who was left standing…however I thoroughly enjoyed my sporty school days and loved the sense of being part of something.
When it came to whole school events such as sports-day or the swimming gala, I was in my competitive element. However other than nearly downing during the butterfly, my overwhelming memory of school swimming galas is of poor kids hobbling round with one foot clad in an off white plastic verruca sock. I always felt a bit mortified for these kids and extremely grateful that my mother clearly did not inspect the soles of my feet as vigorously as other parents appeared to.
Verruca’s are essentially just the name given to warts on the feet. Warts come in all shapes and sizes. The common wart is slightly raised and roughened. Verruca’s, or plantar warts, are often hard and painful lumps with tiny black specks in them.They are made more uncomfortable by the fact you put pressure on them with every step. Continue reading →
The very lovely and talented ladies at Mumtalk TV kindly asked me to do a video for their fab new YouTube channel….and here is the result. Am hoping to do a guest vlog on a regular basis so hopefully this is just the beginning! Do let me know what you think?
Any one who reads this blog regularly will know that I am a rather atopic individual – having asthma, eczema and hayfever. These problems run in my family and I’ve now passed some of these traits onto my own children. A few years ago my son had quite a nasty flare up of eczema. His skin was incredibly dry and inflamed, and he wasn’t sleeping well due to the incessant itching. It was miserable for him – and for us – but fortunately once we’d found the correct creams to smear over him things settled down. The key to his improvement? Emollients, Emollients, Emollients!
Our skin is an amazing organ; it acts as a tough waterproof barrier for the rest of the body. In people with eczema the skin is less able to retain moisture. It becomes dry and tiny gaps can then form between the skin cells. This causes the top layer of the skin to stop being such an effective protective barrier, and the skin becomes cracked, irritated or inflamed.
This explains why in eczema the main treatment is to get as much moisture back into the skin as possible, reversing the dryness and restoring the barrier. The best way to do this is via emollients – and in mild eczema this is often the only treatment needed. Emollients differ from commercial moisturisers in that they don’t contain any perfume or other ‘extras’ e.g. anti-ageing ingredients.
1) Lotions: have a high water content. This makes them easy to spread over the skin, but less moisturising. They are best used on hairy areas.
2) Creams: have a higher fat content than lotions, so are more moisturising. They are usually oil based and good for use all over the body, without causing too much ‘shine’.
3) Ointments: ointments have the highest fat content. They are excellent moisturisers but are very greasy so usually not acceptable to people for day-to-day use. They are best used for more severe flare ups or before bed.
Here are my top tips for treating eczema with emollients: Continue reading →
Doctors often look foolish when it comes to the health of their own children.
I love having a houseful of guests, especially now most of my friends have little ones in tow and you can stick all the kids in one room to
entertain themselves fight it out whilst the adults hide in another sneakily drinking wine. On one such occasion a friend commented that sprog1 had a few spots around his neck and asked if he’d had chicken pox yet. I fleetingly cast an eye in his direction and continued supping from my glass. Come bath time I looked like a prize plum as he was spottier than Mr Tumble and was undeniably in the grips of varicella zoster.
Yes – Varicella is not the newest teen pop sensation but the medical word for good old chickenpox. Most of us have suffered with the pox in childhood and are fairly familiar with it, but I thought it’s always worth a bit of a refresher. Continue reading →
When I was at school there were certain events which were permanent fixtures on the school calendar, and occurred year in year out, no matter what. I’m not talking about fun things like the swimming gala or the play – but the ‘educational’ assemblies. Each year a retired policeman used to visit the school to teach us about personal safety, there was definitely a road awareness talk at least once every 12 months and I rather randomly remember hearing anti-vivisection campaigners speak with remarkable regularity (don’t know why they bothered as we were already committed ‘Body Shop’ customers anyway!). Arrays of kind-hearted people were wheeled out at our assemblies to try to ‘inspire’ us…and I’m sure most of it fell on very deaf ears!
One talk that occurred without fail at this time of year, was the fire safety lecture, and it coincided with Bonfire night for obvious reasons. Now, being by nature someone who not only has a very vivid imagination, but also is a bit of a scaredy-cat, the annual fire safely talks have left me with a life long fear of electric blankets, chip pans and lighting fireworks. When each November my Dad would trudge round the garden attempting to set off a few paltry bangers I would be beside myself thinking he was about to impale himself on a roman candle. So in many ways the kindly Fireman did his job, as I definitely err on the cautious side when it comes to anything flammable. Continue reading →