Cold and flu season is upon us earlier than usual. Click here for our contribution to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Health Tip on What to do if you suspect RSV (Respiratory syncytial virus). Click here for an example of a sign labored breathing called retractions– when a child is breathing in very deeply.
Yes, we all deserve a break! But with the COVID pandemic, now our kids are experts at hand-washing and know not to rub noses, so hopefully this cold and flu season will leave as early as it came.
Now that the excitement of the first weeks of college have gone by, your first year college student may be homesick. What can a parent do? We point you to last year’s timeless post which is still relevant today.
As the lazy, hazy days of summer wound down in August, the “Back to School” commercials began in full force. TV and print advertisements from major retailers showed smiling students and adults buying colorful backpacks and school supplies . This is in contrast to the past two years when TV brought no shortage of bad news about the global pandemic, its impact on education, and news about horrific school shootings. It’s not just a commercial, we do have the ability to help our kids move through this school year with a positive mindset.
Now that we are into September and the school year is underway, one of the most important things we can do with our students is talk with them. Engage in dialogue about what they are excited about, what concerns they have, and their overall thoughts and feelings about the upcoming year. Nervousness, excitement, anxiety, and anticipation can make up a child’s emotional mix at the start of the year. Open conversations will help identify and address any negative thoughts or feelings that our kids may harbor. Conversations will help our students focus on strengths and internal and external resources .
Remind them of times when they showed grit, recovered from a poor grade, navigated a tricky peer situation, or made a new friend. Revisiting the past will reinforce that those skills are still present inside of them and ready to be used when needed. For teens, often you will help them by simply lending an ear and listening to their concerns.
Croup is an often-suprising middle-of-the-night malady that produces a barky seal-like cough in children who seemed just fine at bedtime.
Any virus that causes cold-like symptoms of runny nose, cough, runny eyes, and sometimes fever, can also cause croup. Think parainfluenza, influenza (flu), RSV, adenovirus, rhinovirus, and now Covid-19. Any of these viruses can land in a child’s larynx, or voice box, and cause hoarseness, barky cough, and a weird gutteral sound on breathing inward, called “stridor.” Croup is the name we give the constellation of symptoms, not the name of the virus that causes it.
An adult with the same exact illness would sound hoarse, but would likely not have the strange barky cough or noisy breathing.
We have a great podcast on this subject, but for those who prefer to read medical advice, please read on.
Ways to help your child when they wake up with croup
Have you wondered, when your child gets a headache or suffers a sprained ankle, if you should give your child ibuprofen (e.g. brand names Motrin or Advil) or acetaminophen (e.g. brand name Tylenol)? What about for those middle-of-the-night fevers? Does it matter which one you give?
“My daughter called me from the stairwell of her dorm crying.”
“My son is texting me and wants to come home for the weekend. What would you do?”
“Does anyone else have a kid who is struggling?”
These are quotes from actual parents, posted in online forums for the collegiate Class of 2025. After the stressful application process during the pandemic, the preparation, the move-in process, and the emotional goodbyes, many adults are blindsided by the homesickness that their newly minted freshmen may experience. This issue is not just limited to freshmen. Students who spent last year doing college virtually may be away from home for the first time. Seeing our children unhappy after so much eager anticipation leads to worry, sadness, and a general uncertainty among us parents about what to do. This bodes the question: How do we best support homesick kids?
A recent article written by Amy Baldwin, founder of Higher Ed Parent, talks about what she describes as “the three pillars of a satisfying and successful college experience” – Emotional Support, Social Support, and Academic Support. Having worked with many teens and college students in my practice, I agree that these areas are all essential for a smooth transition to and overall positive experience of college life. While we want to foster independence in our young adults, we most likely will need to guide them through building each of these pillars.
Wondering what to do when your child has a fever? With schools and daycares now back in full swing, many more illnesses are circulating. Please read our fever advice in the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Health Tip with updates on what do do when your child has a fever.