Health & Wellness

Colorado Health & Wellness | Spring 2016

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Health and Wellness Magazine • 55 Dr. Maureen Snelling Highlands Ranch Dr. Dan Feiten Centennial How much is too much screen time? Parents often ask about the American Academy of Pediatrics rules on screen time for kids, which are: 1) no TV for children under age 2, and 2) limit screen time to no more than two hours a day. My response is to ignore the rules and focus on their purpose, which is what happened at a recent symposium called Growing Up Digital with pediatric experts in media, neuroscience and social science. The AAP is expected to renew its guidelines, but, for now, here are some tips that were inspired by the meeting: Engage with your children. Research in neuroscience supports the idea that young children learn best through two-way communication. While smiley-face emoji's may express one's emotion online, there's nothing like an engaging conversation with real-life warmth, sadness, empathy, compassion, tears and laughter to teach your child how to be more human. Ask questions. Get in the habit of asking your children at least four questions a day. (Put this in your smartphone, right now.) Tie it in with times that you naturally have with your children: breakfast, after school, dinner and always at bedtime. Depending on their age, the questions will vary. What are you looking forward to today? Who was kind to someone today? What was the best thing that happened to you today? Keep the discussion positive. Create tech-free zones. You can't ask the questions above if everyone is on their iPad at the dinner table or watching TV in their bedroom. Mealtime and bedtime should be for human interaction only. Curate their content. You are their parent, teacher and coach. It's OK for you to monitor what apps they use and what content they watch. Does this media help or hinder my child or adolescent? Check out for guidance. Be a role model. Limit your own media use. Create unplugged playtime. Children won't learn the skills of human interaction with an app, and they need unstructured and unplugged playtime to benefit from real-world interactions with people and the surrounding environment. Play with them. I'm worried that my child is lactose intolerant. What can I do? Parents are often concerned that their child is lactose intolerant. While almost three-quarters of the population will develop some degree of lactose intolerance in their lifetime, most people do not develop symptoms until adolescence, and lactose intolerance is extremely uncommon in children under the age of 3. Even breast milk is lactose-based. L a c t o s e i n t o l e r a n c e d e v e l o p s i n individuals with decreased or absent lactase enzyme in the small intestine. As a result of undigested lactose, individuals have stomach cramps, bloating, gas and diarrhea. Symptoms usually occur shortly after eating a meal containing dairy. T h e e a s i e s t m e t h o d t o d i a g n o s e lactose intolerance is a two-week trail off all dairy. If this is not definitive, a gastrointestinal doctor may perform a Hydrogen Breath Test or take a biopsy of the small intestine. Lactose intolerance does not mean a life without dairy. Most individuals can tolerate hard cheese and yogurt in small amounts. It is also possible to take lactase pills before a meal that contains dairy, and lactose-free milk is now also widely available. What is shingles and how can it be treated? Shingles, or Postherp- etic Neuralgia, is a painful nerve condi- tion that is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, one of the many herpes viruses. This is the virus that causes the common child- hood illness called chicken pox. Typically, after a chicken-pox infection passes, the virus lies dormant in the body or 'asleep' in the nerve roots, mainly in the chest and upper abdomen, but sometimes in the cervical and facial nerve roots as well. Later, in adulthood, the virus can be reactivated during a low level of immunity, possibly triggered by high stress or a common cold. When the virus reactivates, it replicates along those nerve roots it lied dormant in and damages the protective covering of the nerve fibers, causing the classic burning, shooting and electrical- type pain that is well-known. A red and erythematous vesicular rash will form along the nerve pattern that is affected as well. The rash typically resolves in seven to 10 days, but the nerve damage, which can be frustrating and painful, can last for months or years. This disease can cause significant suffering and reduced quality of life. With prompt diagnosis, treatment during the initial stages can include antivirals, nerve-pain medications, topical medications, and oral opiate pain medications. Other treatments include nerve-block procedures and pulsed radiofrequency ablative procedures to help reduce the chronic nerve-related pain. I take a holistic approach with these patients, setting functional goals, and using a combination of medications and interventional procedures to form a comprehensive treatment plan to reduce pain and improve quality of life. (Editor's note: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a shingles vaccine for people 60 and older, which can reduce the chance of developing shingles by half.) Dr. Rasheed Singleton Englewood

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