Your heart is undoubtedly one of the most important organs in your body. In addition to a special day called Valentines, I would like to bring awareness to why we should keep our hearts healthy. According to the CDC, “About 697,000 people in the United States died from heart disease in 2020– that’s 1 in every 5 deaths”. We cannot control genetics, but we can control other modifiable factors. Let’s look into them together:
- Get Active: 45 minutes a day for 5 days out of the week. At minimum, I encourage you to consider speed walking around your neighborhood. For example, if one whole lap is about 10 minutes walking, the next lap should take 9 minutes and 45 seconds. Try to shed 15-20 seconds from your previous lap. Be consistent for 45 minutes total.
- Stop Smoking: There are multiple patches, lozenges, and gums over the counter that could help you quit smoking. Smoking affects the flow of your veins and arteries. Additionally, it increases your risk for heart failure and lung cancer. There are medications that could be prescribed to help with your nicotine cravings.
- Know Your Values: Please go see your primary care physician to get blood tests done. These lab “values” will help you to understand your health and get on to the right health plans with your physician. Cholesterol, sugars, kidney, liver and electrolytes are typically screened during annual wellness visits.
- Refill Your Prescriptions: Follow up with your physician on necessary medications. It is important to always schedule the next follow up appointment to prevent refill delays. Your body can change for the better or worse within 6 months, and so many of these follow ups and labs help us to monitor your body’s progress.
- Limit Unhealthy Food Intake: Yes, I too love to eat “junk” food at times. However, moderation is the key. I often look at my shopping cart at the groceries to see what I have. If they are processed (frozen food/prepackaged/canned), alcohol, or have a lot of sugar/salt content, I only allow 1 small-medium sized item per week. The bulk of the shopping cart is with protein, cooking spice, some carbs, and veggies/fruits. I urge patient’s to come face to face with what they are buying by saving receipts, then highlight the unhealthy foods and calculate $$$ spent. This may help you better recognize unhealthy foods and save money too!
- Prepping Foods Under a Time Budget: Common reasons why patients eat fast food or go out to eat may be, “I have no time after work” or “I have young kids who have an awesome metabolism and eat a lot of fried foods”. Convenience is often the motivating factor. Eating out takes approximately the same amount of time (waiting to be seated, waiting to order, preparation of the meal, waiting for the server to bring your food…etc), but while the cost out of pocket may be more, it saves you the work/cleaning. However, what if cooking smarter could be your answer? There are multiple appliances that can help decrease your time “standing in front of your stove” such as your: oven, airfryer, conventional oven, crock pot, and my favorite, the Instapot. Each of these appliances will reduce your time spent in the kitchen while helping you create a delicious, healthy meal.
- Sleep Better: Many patients state that they experience trouble sleeping. There are a lot of physical obstacles (pets in the bed, partners snoring…etc), mental obstacles (anxiety, PTSD … etc), health obstacles (waking up to urinate, coughing etc.. ), and unhealthy routines (caffeine intake, playing with your phones …etc) that contribute to this issue. The bedroom is recommended only for sleep. Try shutting off the lights, putting your phone away, sleeping in a cool and comfortable bed, limiting electronics in the bedroom, and having no caffeine after 4pm. If you still have problems falling asleep, consider setting up an appointment with your doctor.
- Mental Check: Anxiety and depression can cause cardiac symptoms as well. Life happens and a lot of times we are caught in the middle of an impossible situation. We carry the mental anguish on our shoulders and minds. This could cause chest tightness and discomfort when the emotions arise. Your blood pressure could be a sign. If you are experiencing this, please talk with your physician about treatment options.
- Drink More Water: Clear water is a basic need of all forms of life. It helps us to stay hydrated and flush out toxins. It is recommended that healthy males drink 3L of water/day and healthy females drink 2L of water/day.
- Family Genetics: If you can, ask your loved ones about their medical history (especially parents and siblings). There is no easy way to broach this. However, getting to know your family’s health will help your physician guide you on appropriate preventative screenings.
From the American Academy of Pediatrics:
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, there have been significant shortages of infant formulas in stores. Current shortages have been largely caused by supply chain issues and the recent recall of several baby formula products over concerns about contamination.
Here are some tips on finding formula your baby needs during the shortage, and what you may safely consider if you absolutely can’t find any.
Keep in mind, this advice is strictly during this current URGENT formula shortage. If you have any concerns about your baby’s nutrition, please talk with your pediatrician.
What if baby formula is out of stock everywhere I look?
- Check smaller stores and drug stores, which may not be out of supply when the bigger stores are.
- If you can afford it, buy formula online until store shortages ease. Purchase from well-recognized distributors, grocers, and pharmacies rather than individually sold or auction sites.
- Check social media groups. There are groups dedicated to infant feeding and formula, and members may have ideas for where to find formula. Make sure to check any advice with your pediatrician.
- If you find it in stock, it can be tempting to buy as much formula as possible right now, but the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises buying no more than a 10-day to 2-week supply of formula to ease shortages.
- Call your pediatrician if you cannot access the formula you need for your baby. They may have samples in stock, connections to other local organizations, or ideas of other places to call, such as your local WIC clinic.
I found small amounts several different formulas. What is the best way to switch among the brands?
For most babies, it is OK to switch to any available formula, including store brands, unless your baby is on a specific extensively hydrolyzed or amino acid-based formula such as Elecare (no store brand exists). Ask your pediatrician about recommended specialty formula alternatives available for your baby.
It is very likely that your baby will do just fine with different formulas as long as they are the same type. If your baby does not like the taste or has a hard time tolerating a different formula, you may want to try gradually introducing small amounts of the new formula mixed with the usual formula. Slowly increase the amount of the new formula.
My infant needs a specialty baby formula, but I can’t find any. What should I do?
Abbott is releasing limited quantities of Similac PM 60/40 and other metabolic formulas for babies in urgent need. Your pediatrician’s office can fill out a request and if it is approved, the formula can be shipped to your home. Talk to your pediatrician about safe comparable specialty formulas for your baby.
Only one brand of baby formula is covered under the WIC program, but I can’t find any. What should I do?
Most states are allowing parents who use WIC benefits to buy other brands of formula or different sizes and forms like ready-to-feed formula. (To find out what your state is allowing, you can check here.)
I have a 3-month-old infant and can’t find my usual baby formula. What should I do?
This is a very difficult problem. If you can find another similar formula, it’s okay to make the switch. If not, your pediatrician’s office can work with you to access all community resources.
Can I add extra water to formula and give my baby a multivitamin to make up the nutrients?
This should never be done. Watering down formula to stretch it out can cause nutritional imbalances in your baby and lead to serious health problems that require hospitalization. Always follow label instructions or those given to you by your pediatrician. Always mix formula as directed by the manufacturer.
Can I make my own baby formula? I’ve seen a recipe online that people say was used safely in the 1940s.
Homemade formula is not recommended. Although used in the distant past, online recipes have significant safety concerns regarding contamination and nutrient concentration. Even if recipes for homemade formulas circulating on the internet may seem healthy or less expensive, they are not safe and do not meet your baby’s health needs. Infants have been hospitalized from reported use of some homemade formulas.
What is the earliest age I can start giving my baby solid food to stretch my formula supply?
Solid foods should not be used to stretch formula supply. Formula contains many nutrients young babies need. Infants generally are ready to eat solid food when they are 6 months old, but it depends on their rate of development. You can introduce solid foods as early as 4 months of age, but infants 4-6 months of age will continue to need breastmilk or formula to supply the majority of their nutrition.
Is it safe to get breast milk from a friend or online group?
We can’t know for sure whether breastmilk from a friend or online group is safe. It is better to check with a local milk bank that is accredited through the Human Milk Banking Association of North America. To find an accredited milk bank, check here.
I heard the government will be importing baby formula from other countries. Is that safe?
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is considering accelerated approval of certain imported formulas. The FDA is working to assure procedures are in place to verify production standards, labeling and shipping of brands that have not been sold in the U.S. previously. European formulas are regulated by the European Food Safety Agency similar to how the FDA regulates formula in the U.S. and are highly reliable. But while they may contain adequate nutrients, they must be imported in a way that maintains temperature and other safety issues. That’s why FDA oversight is critical.
Can toddler “formula” substitute for regular formula?
Toddler drinks, often found in the formula isles, are not recommended for infants. However, if you absolutely have no other choice, these products can be safe for a few days for babies who are close to a year of age.
Can I give my full-term baby premature formula?
Formulas designed for babies who were born premature (and have “catch-up” growth to do) can safely be used for a few weeks to feed full-term babies if nothing else is available.
Is cow’s milk a safe alternative to baby formula?
If your child is older than 6 months of age and is usually on regular formula (not a specialty product for allergies or other special health needs), this may be an option. In a pinch, you could feed them whole cow’s milk for a brief period of time (no more than a week).This is not ideal and should not be done for more than one week. However, it is a better option than diluting formula or making homemade formula.
We don’t have a specific amount of cow milk that infants 6-12 months should drink in this situation. Continue to look for alternative sources of baby formula. One concern with giving cow’s milk to a baby who is 6-12 months old on a long-term basis is that it does not contain enough iron like formula does. This can lead to anemia. If you have to use cow’s milk, ideally do so for as short a time as possible and give the baby plenty of iron-containing solid foods, such as baby food made with meat or iron-fortified cereals.
If you need to give your baby cow’s milk for a week, talk with your pediatriican.
What about feeding my baby goat’s milk?
Goat’s milk is not approved for babies in the United States. However, there are goat milk-based baby formulas registered in other countries that may be among those considered for accelerated import approval by the FDA.
Can I use plant-based milk instead of baby formula if needed?
Plant-based milk alternatives generally are not recommended for babies under a year of age. Soy milk may be an option to give babies who are close to a year of age for a few days in an emergency, but always buy the kind that is fortified with calcium and vitamin D. Make sure to change back to formula as soon as some is available. Be especially careful to avoid almond milk or other plant milks as these are often low in protein and minerals. Talk with your pediatrician if you are considering using plant-based milk.
How long can formula be used past a “best by” date?
Generally, formula should not be used past the “best by” date because it may not be safe or have the required levels of nutrients, especially fat-soluble vitamins. Check the “use by” date on infant formula, which is required by FDA regulations to be on each container. Until that declared date, the formula will contain no less than the amount of each nutrient on the product label and will otherwise be of acceptable quality and safety.
Don’t hesitate to talk with your pediatrician if you have any concerns you have about your baby’s health and nutrition. If your child has special health needs, be sure to check with their doctor about medically appropriate and safe feeding alternatives.
We are celebrating some of history’s most influential women in life sciences and their extraordinary achievements and contributions that have saved countless lives and continue to inspire generations of women in medicine to this day.
Metrodora (c. 200-400 AD)
Metrodora, a Greek female physician, wrote On the Diseases and Cures of Women, the oldest medical text known to be written by a woman. Notably, it did not include information on obstetrics, the study of childbirth, which was extremely rare in a time when women were restricted to gynaecology and midwifery. However, Metodora is known to have covered all areas of medicine related to women, developing various therapies and surgical techniques that were revolutionary in her time. She was heavily influenced by the work of Greek physician Hippocrates, and her work has influenced and been referenced by many other physician writers throughout history.
Elizabeth Blackwell (1821-1910)
British-born Elizabeth Blackwell is best known as the first woman to earn an medical degree (MD) in the US. She was raised in a forward-thinking, socially active family. Her father was a passionate advocate for the abolition of slavery, and her siblings went on to campaign for women’s rights. After facing rejection from several universities, Blackwell was finally accepted to Geneva Medical College in 1847. She received hostility from her fellow students at first, eventually earning their respect and graduating first in her class in 1849. In 1857, she opened the New York Infirmary for Women and Children along with her sister, Dr Emily Blackwell (the third woman to earn an MD) and Dr Marie Zakrzewska.
Blackwell played an important role in both the United States and the United Kingdom as a social awareness and moral reformer, and promoted education for women in medicine through her inspirational book Pioneer Work in Opening the Medical Profession to Women.
Marie Curie (1867-1934)
Polish mathematician and scientist Marie Curie collaborated with her husband, Pierre, to discover two chemical elements in the periodic table: polonium and radium. This important work observed that there was a relationship between radioactivity and the heavy elements of the periodic table, and led to much advancement in medicine. Most notably, it led the way to the development of the x-ray, which allowed internal imagery to be used for diagnosis without the need for open surgery, and radiation therapy for treating cancer.
During WWI, Marie and her daughter Irene brought mobile X-Ray machines and radiology units to the front line, which allowed more than a million wounded soldiers to be treated.
Curie earned a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1903, and yet another in Chemistry in 1911, the first and only woman to have been honoured twice. The Curie Institute in Paris, she founded in 1920, is still a major cancer research facility today.
Gerty Cori (1896-1957)
Another Nobel Prize winner, Gerty Cori, earned the prestigious award for her work in medicine/physiology in 1947. Cori was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize in this category. She worked with her husband, Carl Ferdinand Cori, with whom she shared an interest in preclinical science, to prove vital concepts in genetics. Their work led to the discovery that an enzyme deficiency could be responsible for metabolism disorders. They also carried out multiple studies on the action of hormones, focusing on the pituitary gland. Over her lifetime, Gerty won several other awards in recognition for her contributions to science and earned honorary Doctor of Science degrees from Boston University, Smith College, Yale, Columbia and Rochester between 1948 and 1955.
Virginia Apgar (1909-1974)
Virginia Apgar is famous for her invention of the Apgar score, a vital test that was quickly adopted by doctors to test whether newborn babies required urgent medical attention. The Apgar score is responsible for reducing infant mortality rates considerably and is still used today to assess the clinical condition of newborns in the first few minutes of life. Apgar was the first woman to become a full professor at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Gertrude Belle Elion (1918-1999)
American chemist Gertrude “Trudy” Belle Ellion shared a Nobel Prize with George H Hitchins and Sir James Black for innovative methods of rational drug design which focused on understanding the target of the drug rather than simply using trial and error.
Coming from a scientific background, Elion was inspired to pursue medicine when her grandfather passed away from cancer when she was 15 and became dedicated to discovering a cure for the disease. Using the methods she had designed, Elion and her team developed a staggering 45 patents, including drugs to combat leukemia, herpes, AIDS and treatments to reduce the body’s rejection of foreign tissue in kidney transplants between unrelated donors.
Rosalind Franklin (1920-1958)
British scientist Rosalind Franklin is best known for her work in understanding the structure of DNA, using x-ray photographs to solve its complexities. Her identification of the double helix has led to huge advances in the field of genetics and modern medicine. Franklin also led pioneering work on the molecular structures of RNA viruses and Polio.
Franklin had a passion for science from an early age and decided to become a scientist at the age of 15. She fought against her father’s reluctance to let her undertake higher education and graduated from Cambridge University in 1941. She worked for many years as a first-rate scientist and were it not for her untimely death from cancer in 1958, it is highly likely that she would have shared Nobel Prizes in both 1962 and 1982 for work that she had a huge role in during her lifetime.
Rosalyn Yalow (1921-2011)
America medical physicist Rosalyn Yalow received the Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine in 1977 for the development of the radioimmunoassays (RIA) technique, which is used to measure peptide hormones in the blood. Yalow’s diagnostic technique was so precise that it was used to scan blood donations for infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis. This was fundamental in ensuring life-saving blood transfusions were safe and effective. Later, the method allowed scientists to prove that type-2 diabetes is caused by the body not being able to use insulin properly.
Patricia Goldman-Rakic (1937-2003)
Neuroscientist Patricia Goldman-Rakic is recognised for her studies of the brain, particularly, the frontal lobes and how it relates to memory. She gained her bachelor’s degree in Neurology from Vassar in 1959, and then her doctorate from the University of California in Developmental Psychology in 1963. Her multidisciplinary research significantly contributed to the understanding of neurological diseases such as dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and her study of dopamine and its effects on the brain is essential to modern day understanding of conditions such as schizophrenia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Francoise Barré-Sinoussi (born 1947)
Parisian scientist Francoise Barré-Sinoussi is a celebrated for her discovery of HIV as the cause of the immunodeficiency disease, AIDS. In 2008, Barré, along with Luc Montaigner, discovered that the HIV retrovirus attacked lymphocytes, a blood cell that plays an important role in the body’s immune system. Her vital work has helped millions of people who are HIV-positive to live long, healthy lives, and could pave the way for a cure in the near future.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of notable women in medicine. Throughout history, women have made significant contributions to medicine and we have benefitted from many incredible breakthroughs.
From the American Academy of Pediatrics:
New COVID-19 guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) outlines when communities and families should wear face masks.
Even in areas where mask guidelines are now eased, we realize some families may find it difficult to decide what’s best for everyone.
Who still needs to wear masks?
Universal mask policies are still necessary in many parts of the country. Decisions about masks are made locally and are based on new guidance from the CDC. All three of these conditions should be met before a community relaxes rules on masking:
- low COVID-19 case rates
- low hospital admission rates
- adequate hospital capacity
Make a mask plan that works best for your family
There may be times when your family is around groups of people who are and aren’t wearing masks. Having a family plan about masks will help your child or teen know what to expect.
Parents can help their kids understand that there are many reasons why adults and children may continue wearing face masks in public indoor settings. For example, students, teachers or school staff may choose to continue wearing face masks in school settings, even if not required. Children with special health care needs may rely on masks for protection, so they do not have to miss school or other activities — especially if others around them do not wear masks.
Masking also helps cocoon children who are too young to be vaccinated. Masks can also protect kids who have weakened immune systems that put them at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19. That’s why preschools and childcare centers may have different guidelines about mask wearing indoors. Be sure to check with officials in those places.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) offers these suggestions for families deciding who should wear a mask. To protect children who are too young to wear a mask (under age 2) or be vaccinated (kids under age 5), the rest of your household may consider wearing masks when in public settings. Masks also are encouraged to be worn if:
- your child or teen is immunocompromised and may not have a protective immune response to the COVID-19 vaccine, or is at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness
- your child or teen is not yet immunized
- other members of the family are at higher risk of severe disease or are not immunized or
- the community has “high” COVID-19 transmission
Family members who live in the same household do not need to wear masks when they are alone together. But if you are vaccinated and your children are not, you can choose to model mask-wearing behavior in support of your children when you are all out together. For example, everyone can wear masks for a trip to the grocery store.
The pandemic continues to impact families in many different ways. As a parent, model empathy toward others. Discourage bullying of children who choose to wear a mask to protect themselves and their family even if they are not required.
Pediatricians strongly recommend every eligible child receive the vaccine. New data may suggest waning efficacy of the vaccine in preventing mild infection from the omicron variant in children ages 5 to 11. However, the vaccine remains effective in protecting children from severe illness and hospitalization. And without the added layer of protection from the COVID vaccine for kids under age 5, masks are still an important way to protect our loved ones.
The American Heart Association is a nonprofit organization in the United States that funds cardiovascular medical research, educates the community on healthy living, and fosters appropriate cardiac care in an effort to reduce disability and deaths caused by cardiovascular disease and stroke.
The AHA website has resources for healthy living as well as information on heart-related topics such as cholesterol, heart attacks, and high blood pressure.
In celebration of Black History Month, we are reflecting and honoring the contributions Black leaders have made toward the advancement of equality and improvement of children’s health and wellness, both historically and in the present day.
From surgeons and researchers to advocates and activists, featured are ten Black leaders who inspire and motivate us by the important work they have done and continue to do.
Dr. Joy Harden Bradford: Popular psychologist with podcast, Therapy for Black Girls
Dr. Joy is a licensed psychologist and host of the popular mental health podcast, Therapy for Black Girls. Her work focuses on making mental health topics more relevant and accessible for Black women and she delights in using pop culture to illustrate psychological concepts.
“A lot of times when we talk about mental illness or mental health, I think there’s a lot missing from the conversation,” Dr. Joy said. “I don’t think we always do a great job focusing on mental wellness, and realizing that we all have mental health we have to take care of. It doesn’t always have to be about mental illness.”
Francis Cecil Sumner: first African American to receive PhD in Psychology (1895-1954)
Francis Sumner, PhD, is referred to as the “Father of Black Psychology” because he was the first African American to receive a PhD degree in psychology. He was interested in understanding racial bias and supporting educational justice. Sumner is also credited as one of the founders of the psychology department at Howard University, which he chaired from 1928 until his death in 1954.
Daniel Hale Williams: Renowned African American cardiologist (1856-1931)
Dr. Daniel Hale Williams practiced medicine during an era when racism and discrimination prohibited African Americans from being admitted to hospitals and denied black doctors employment on hospital staff. In 1891, Williams opened Provident Hospital, the first medical facility to have an interracial staff.
Dr. Williams is best known as one of the first physicians to successfully complete pericardial surgery in the United States. The operation was done without X-rays, antibiotics, surgical prep-work, or tools of modern surgery. Dr. Williams’ skills placed him and Provident Hospital at the fore-front of one of Chicago’s medical milestones.
Jane Cooke Wright: cancer research pioneer (1919-2013)
Dr. Jane Cooke Wright is known as a cancer research pioneer and her work was crucial to the development of chemotherapy. At the time, chemotherapy was still mostly experimental but her research brought it to the forefront.
In 1967, Dr. Wright became the highest ranked African American woman at a nationally recognized medical institution. In 1971, she became the first woman to be elected president of the New York Cancer Society. After a long and fruitful career of cancer research, Dr. Wright retired in 1987.
Alexa Irene Canady, MD: Neurosurgery at CHM
Alexa Irene Canady, MD, was the first black woman neurosurgeon in the United States, and just a few years later, she rose to the ranks of chief of neurosurgery at Children’s Hospital of Michigan. Canady is now enjoying retirement in Pensacola, FL.
“I tried hard to be accessible to patients and to make them unafraid of me so we could have free and open conversations,” said Dr. Canady. “We also tried to arrange the patient care considering the needs of the families.”
Ruth Ellis, Ruth Ellis Center
Ruth Ellis was one of the oldest openly gay black women in the world when she died at 101 years old in 2000. From 1946-1971, her home in Detroit was a safe space, providing support for black LGBT youth in need.
In 1999, The Ruth Ellis Center was founded to continue this legacy of supporting the LGBTQ community. We are proud to support their work to improve outcomes for children and youth in foster care with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and expression.
Dr. Nkechy Ekere Ezeh, Founder & CEO Early Learning Neighborhood Collaborative
In 2010, Dr. Nkechy Ekere Ezeh led a collaborative process involving seven grassroots neighborhood organizations for the purpose of planning and designing an intentional preschool service system in the vulnerable neighborhoods of Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Now, the Early Learning Neighborhood Collaborative is a model of a continuum of early childhood education services both in Kent County and the State of Michigan. We’re proud to support this program and are inspired by Dr. Ekere Ezeh’s leadership.
Renee Fluker, Founder & CEO Midnight Golf
Renee Fluker of Midnight Golf has been recognized by Crains Detroit as one of the Notable Women in Nonprofits. She founded Midnight Golf after seeing how academic preparedness along with golf opened doors for her son. Over the past 20 years, over 2,500 engaged and committed Midnight Golf Program participants have been admitted to more than 100 colleges and universities across the United States. We are proud to partner with Midnight Golf under Renee’s leadership. Their impact continues to grow!
Herman Gray, MD MBA: Former President & CEO at CHM
Dr. Gray’s history with Children’s Hospital of Michigan dates to the late 1970s, when he served as chief pediatric resident. While with CHM, he also served as vice president of Graduate Medical Education, pediatric residency program director, chief of staff and chief operating officer. Under his leadership, the residency program developed several innovative programs and successfully recruited a significant number of minorities.
A child and family advocate, Dr. Gray has been honored numerous times for his humanitarian efforts related to pediatric health care, particularly with children with special needs. He is currently the chair of the Wayne State University Department of Pediatrics.
Debora Matthews, CEO of The Children’s Center
Debora Matthews was dedicated to volunteer service at The Children’s Center over a 17-year period, where she served as Chair of the Board of Directors and Treasurer. Now, she serves as the President and CEO.
“We want parents to know and understand that they really know what is best for their child,” says Matthews. “At the Children’s Center, we help them along the path of coming up with a plan that they know will work for their family.”
Matthews’ lifelong passion for the children of Detroit inspires us and we are proud to continue supporting the impactful programs at The Children’s Center.
These sixty-five indoor rainy day activities for kids provide hours of independent play ideas.
Just yesterday the sun was shining and the kids were fully occupied –running around the backyard, climbing trees, splashing through sprinklers, and drawing with chalk.
But today the clouds moved in and there’s nothing but solid rain predicted all day long.
So now what?
It’s easy to keep most kids entertained outside with so many things to do, see and explore. But inside can be a different story with cramped quarters and little space to move.
Not to fear…the sixty-five indoor activities for kids listed below are the perfect remedy to a snowy or rainy day. They generally use common materials found in most family homes and kids ages 6+ should be able to do the majority of these activities independently with little or no help from you.
65 Indoor Activities Kids Can Do Independently on Rainy Days
Click on the links below to see suggestions, resources, and ideas for each activity.
- Create an indoor obstacle course
- Plan an indoor scavenger hunt
- Write letters to family or friends
- Design cards for your friends
- Make your own play dough
- Make play dough sculptures
- Make slime
- Make a necklace out of beads or pasta
- Write in a journal
- Choreograph a dance
- Plan and perform a play
- Play a card game
- Play a board game
- Have paper airplane races
- Make shadow puppets
- Line up dominos and watch them fall
- Play with shaving cream and food coloring
- Create a sculpture from recycled materials
- Play string games (Cats in the Cradle)
- Build a fort with couch cushions
- Create a design with popsicle sticks and glue
- Bake a snack
- Make ice cream
- Make popsicles
- Cook a meal
- Leave friendly notes or gifts in neighbor’s mailboxes
- Do a blind taste test of different foods or drinks
- Solve a crossword puzzle
- Make an eruption with baking soda and vinegar
- Create and bury a time capsule
- Paint rocks
- Put a puzzle together
- Play 20 questions
- Create something from a large box
- Design your own board game and play it
- Build with blocks
- Create an art gallery featuring your artwork
- Read a book
- Read a magazine
- Create a secret code
- Play with Legos
- Make a collage
- Sew something with fabric
- Create a giant paper airplane
- Play dress up
- Do a random act of kindness to a family member
- Turn on music and have a dance party
- Stack cups and knock them down
- Play family
- Tell or write a story
- Make sock puppets
- Write a poem
- Take photos
- Record a video
- Play farm
- Paint with sponges
- Build a structure with playing cards
- Use craft supplies to create animals
- Draw a picture of a person
- Cut out paper snowflakes
- Play school
- Put on a puppet show
- Play zoo
- Make something with pipe cleaners
- Make bookmarks
What is blood pressure?
Blood pressure is the pressure of blood “pushing against the walls of your arteries”. As blood rushes from your heart to other organs, it helps to replenish nutrients and transport oxygen. Too low of a blood pressure could be fatal for these organs and on the flip side, too high of a blood pressure is also fatal. This reading may fluctuate throughout the day.
There are two numbers: -The “top” number is the systolic number. It measures the pressure of the arteries when your heart is beating. -The “bottom” number is the diastolic number. It measures the pressure of the arteries when your heart is relaxing.
Uncontrolled, elevated blood pressure is known as Hypertension. Longstanding hypertension affects your heart and can cause other health problems.
What is my goal?
There are a few guidelines that physicians tend to follow and these are the Cardiology/American Heart Association (C/AHA) and the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood pressure. Depending on your personal medical history and open discussion with your physician, this will guide your treatment plan.
The Cardiology/AHA 2017 defines hypertension as systolic of 130 mmHg and higher or diastolic of 80 mmHg and higher. The Joint National Committee 2003 defines hypertension as systolic of 140 mmHg and higher or diastolic 90 mmHg and higher.
What are some signs and symptoms of Hypertension?
Many patients do not recognize elevated blood pressure as it can be subtle such as intermittent vision change or headaches. Some patient’s remain asymptomatic and are made aware at dental offices or when they use the blood pressure machines at the local grocery store.
What are some of the complications from having hypertension?
Some common complications are:
- Stiffening of the blood vessels due to being under constant pressure
- Kidney damage
- Heart Attack-Stroke
What can you do to prevent this from progressing?
- Speak to your healthcare provider
- Moderate Exercise/Physical activity for 45 minutes daily for 5 days out of the week
- Not smoking
- Limiting salt and processed/packaged foods intake
- Managing stress
- Consider following the DASH diet or Mediterranean diet
Despite some of these positive lifestyle changes, some patient’s blood pressure remain elevated. At that time, you may need to start to incorporate blood pressure medications.
If you have any further questions or concerns, please talk with your primary care provider at your next appointment.
Dr. Hannah Do
Family Medicine Physician
From the American Academy of Pediatrics:
Fear, uncertainty, and being holed up at home more to slow the spread of COVID-19 can make it tough for families to keep a sense of calm. But it’s important to help children feel safe, keep healthy routines, manage their emotions and behavior and build resilience.
Here are some tips from the American Academy (AAP) to help your family get through the stress of the pandemic.
Address children’s fears
Children rely on their parents for safety, both physical and emotional. Reassure your children that you are there for them and that your family will get through this together.
- Answer questions about the pandemic simply & honestly. Talk with children about any frightening news they hear. It is OK to say people are getting sick, but remind them that following safety steps like hand washing , wearing cloth face coverings, and staying home more will help your family stay healthy.
- Recognize your child’s feelings. Calmly say, for example, “I can see that you are upset because you can’t have a sleepover with your friends right now.” Guiding questions can help older children and teens work through issues. (“I know it is disappointing not to be able to do some of the things you did before the pandemic. What are some other ways you can have fun with your friends?”)
- Keep in touch with loved ones. Children may also worry about a grandparent who is living alone or a relative or friend with an increased risk of getting COVID-19. When safe, physically distanced visits aren’t possible, video chats can help ease their anxiety.
- Model how to manage feelings. Talk through how you are managing your own feelings. (“I am worried about Grandma since I can’t go visit her. I will put a reminder on my phone to call her in the morning and the afternoon until it is safe to see her.”)
- Tell your child before you leave the house for work or essential errands. In a calm and reassuring voice, tell them where you are going, how long you will be gone, when you will return, and that you are taking steps to stay safe.
- Look forward. Tell them that scientists are working hard to figure out how to help people who get sick, how to prevent it, and that things will get better.
- Offer extra hugs and say “I love you” more often.
Keep healthy routines
During the pandemic, it is more important than ever to maintain bedtime and other routines. They create a sense of order to the day that offers reassurance in a very uncertain time. All children, including teens, benefit from routines that are predictable yet flexible enough to meet individual needs.
- Structure the day. With the usual routines thrown off, establish new daily schedules. Break up schoolwork when possible. Older children and teens can help with schedules, but they should follow a general order, such as:
- wake-up routines, getting dressed, breakfast and some active play in the morning, followed by quiet play and snack to transition into schoolwork.
- lunch, chores, exercise, some online social time with friends, and then homework in the afternoon.
- family time & reading before bed.
|A word about bedtimesChildren often have more trouble with bedtime during any stressful period. Try to keep normal nighttime routines such as Book, Brush, Bed for younger children. Put a family picture by their bed for “extra love” until morning. Bedtimes can shift some for older children and teens, but it is a good idea to keep it in a reasonable range so the sleep-wake cycle isn’t thrown off. Too little sleep makes it more challenging to learn and to deal with emotions. Remember to turn off cell phones and other mobile devices an hour before bedtime.
Use positive discipline
Everyone is more anxious and worried during the pandemic. Younger children may not have the words to describe their feelings. They’re more likely to act out their stress, anxiety or fear through their behavior (which can, in turn, upset parents, particularly if they are already stressed). Older children and teens may be extra irritable as they miss out on normal events they looked forward to and activities they enjoy with their friends.
Some ways you can help your children manage their emotions and behavior:
- Redirect bad behavior. Sometimes children misbehave because they are bored or don’t know any better. Find something else for them to do.
- Creative play. Suggest your children draw pictures of ways your family is staying safe. Make a collage and hang it up to remind everyone. Or, build an indoor fort or castle to keep the germs at bay, bringing in favorite stuffed animals or toys.
- Direct your attention. Attention–to reinforce good behaviors and discourage others–is a powerful tool. Notice good behavior and point it out, praising success and good tries. Explaining clear expectations, particularly with older children, can help with this.
- Use rewards & privileges to reinforce good behaviors (completing school assignments, chores, getting along with siblings, etc.) that wouldn’t normally be given during less stressful times.
- Know when not to respond. As long as your child isn’t doing something dangerous and gets attention for good behavior, ignoring bad behavior can be an effective way of stopping it.
- Use time-outs. This discipline tool works best by warning children they will get a time-out if they don’t stop. Remind them what they did wrong in as few words―and with as little emotion―as possible. Then, remove them from the situation for a pre-set length of time (1 minute per year of age is a good guide).
|Special Time InEven with everyone home together 24/7, set aside some special time with each child. Ideas can include cooking or reading together, for example, or playing a favorite game. You choose the time, and let your child choose the activity. Just 10 or 20 minutes of your undivided attention, even if only once every few days, will mean a lot to your child. Keep cell phones off or on silent so you don’t get distracted.
- Avoid physical punishment. Spanking, hitting, and other forms of physical or “corporal” punishment risks injury and isn’t effective. Physical punishment can increase aggression in children over time, fails to teach them to behave or practice self-control, and can even interfere with normal brain development. Corporal punishment may take away a child’s sense of safety and security at home, which are especially needed now.
|The AAP reminds parents and caregivers never to shake or jerk a child, which could cause permanent injuries and disabilities and even result in death. Tips for calming a fussy baby and advice for caregivers who have reached a breaking point can be found here. If you have a friend, relative, or neighbor with the new baby at home, think of ways you can reach out to provide support during the isolation period.
- Take care of yourself. Caregivers also should be sure to take care of themselves physically: eat healthy, exercise and get enough sleep. Find ways to decompress and take breaks. If more than one parent is home, take turns watching the children if possible.
- Take a breath. In addition to reaching out to others for help, the AAP recommends parents feeling overwhelmed or especially stressed try to take just a few seconds to ask themselves:
- Does the problem represent an immediate danger?
- How will I feel about this problem tomorrow?
- Is this situation permanent?
In many cases, the answers will deflate the panic and the impulse to lash out physically or verbally at children.
Reach out to your pediatrician with any concerns you have about your child’s behavioral or emotional well-being and managing your family’s stress.
From the American Academy of Pediatrics:
Do Healthy Young People Need the COVID-19 Vaccine?
Yes. If your teen or child is healthy but has not had their COVID vaccine, don’t wait.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends the COVID-19 vaccine for ages 5 and older. A booster dose is also strongly encouraged for ages 12 and up who got two doses of the mRNA COVID vaccine at least five months ago.
More than 60% of kids ages 12-17 and at least 25% of kids ages 5-11 in the U.S. have had at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose. Younger children still are not eligible for the vaccine.
We can protect one another
The vaccine does more than prevent serious illness in healthy kids. When everyone is vaccinated, they are less likely to get very sick and need hospital care.
The highly contagious virus can be passed to a young child, then to a grandparent, who may be at higher risk of serious illness or death from a COVID-19 infection.
We can stay healthy
Many people think that side effects from a vaccine are not supposed to happen. In fact, side effects are expected. Vaccine-anticipated reactions are a good sign that the body is reacting to the vaccine and that it is working to develop immunity to the virus.
Trust your pediatrician
The vaccines are safe, and they are the best public health measure to protect people from COVID-19, slow transmission, and reduce the likelihood of new variants emerging. Your pediatrician can answer all your questions about the vaccine and the virus that causes COVID. Your pediatrician knows your child and family and will provide facts about the vaccine for children.