Dr. Richard Saint Cyr
We’re inclined to feel that too much of anything is unhealthy, but exactly how harmful is screen time? By “screen time,” I mean the total time spent on movies, TV shows, iPads, laptops, and more. There’s a lot of research on the topic that may stir up some interesting family discussions (but hopefully not over a TV dinner). Here’s some scary data to munch over:
For each hour of TV that a 5-year-old watches on the weekend, the risk of adult obesity increases by 7 percent.
The 2013-2014 beijingkids Health Guide is the latest resource for Beijing families dedicated to providing information on family health care, maternity, eating and breathing safety, mental health, emergency care and traditional Chinese Medicine. Articles from the guide will be featured twice a week on our website. Find the full version here.
What’s the best air pollution mask for China? There are quite a few brands out there, and you now can find them at convenience stores and pharmacies. But which ones really work? Many masks have proven that their material is over 99% effective in blocking PM2.5, which is an important first step. But this test is not nearly as important as real world test results, called quantitative fit tests. Even a great fabric is useless if the mask’s fit isn’t snug on your face, and any air leaking around the edges makes your mask worthless, no matter how expensive or trendy it is. Since air pollution is a truly serious problem here in China, you really shouldn’t mess around with inadequate masks when there are a handful that have proven both 99% fabric effectiveness and 95% or higher efficiency in fit tests. This article offers my personal and professional opinions of the four best reviewed masks, all with proven results: 3M, Totobobo, Vogmask, and I Can Breathe.
As parents, we worry about our children getting enough exercise – but what about ourselves? Surveys show that most adults in China and the US don’t get the recommended amount of exercise per week. How can we correct this?
New research shows that short bouts of intensive exercise may be just as good for your health as longer workouts. Even a four to seven minute workout can help. This type of “high-intensity interval training” (HIIT) includes 30 seconds of all-out exercise followed by ten-second breaks, repeated for up to 15 minutes.
What’s the best source of milk for your baby after 12 months? Breast milk is still the best choice and whole milk is the next best option, but many Chinese parents still prefer toddler formula. One way to cut through the hype is simply to ask your child’s doctor: “What would you use for your own kids?” What will I feed my own Alex when he turns 1? Honestly, I am still not sure, but here are my choices:
What’s the best treatment for a stomach infection and dehydration from diarrhea and poor eating? Most infections in children are viral, not bacterial. The majority are mild and do not require any antibiotics or hospitalization. Conversely, babies and toddlers can get dehydrated after a couple of days of severe diarrhea and inadequate fluid and food intake.
The basics of hydration include continuing to breastfeed your child during an infection and having them eat normal foods (if possible). Many parents think that their child automatically needs intravenous hydration at the hospital, but in reality, the majority of cases can be treated orally and at home.
After six and a half years in Beijing, I can say that I have joined the ranks of long-term expats. I’ve seen many friends and patients come and go. But I’m still here with my wife – and now, our new son, Alex. Despite constant stressors from environmental scandals, bad traffic and the all-too-rare perfect weather, we continue to have a satisfying adventure here. What’s our secret? Is there a common thread that separates long-term expats from those who leave earlier?
My adorable son is now four months old, still a tiny bundle of joy. I look forward to us venturing outside, but what if the pollution is bad? What pollution guidelines should we follow when kids are playing outside?
“Leaves of three, let them be.” Sound familiar? This quote refers to the dreaded poison oak and poison ivy, plants which line hiking trails and woods around the world. To protect themselves from being devoured, these hardy weeds have developed a very effective defense; their shiny leaves contain a reactive oil that causes a severe local rash. It is incredibly itchy and can often burn in order to deter second attempts from bugs and birds. However, us hapless humans can develop a rash from merely brushing against these leaves.
It sure feels great to be putting away those thick down coats, but springtime also brings about sneezing patients with itchy eyes. The medical term for spring allergies is allergic rhinitis, which literally means “inflammation of the nose.” It is more commonly referred to as hay fever (even though allergies don’t cause a fever).
Have you ever considered buying only organic food? How about becoming a vegetarian? These options may have seemed unlikely before living in China, but many expats choose these options in a search for balance and health. Is either option a healthier alternative? I’d like to offer my medical and personal opinion.