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Kids’ Health

Blog posts from PAMF physicians and medical staff with pediatrics, teen health and parenting tips.

The Risks of Energy Drinks


energydrinks.BLOGAds for energy drinks are plastered on the walls of sporting events and on the jerseys of leading athletes. The beverage makers sponsor models, music events and videos games. Red Bull, the market’s leading drink, even has its own TV series and printed magazine. They claim to boost your immune system, enhance your performance, and help you stay up longer.

No wonder 30 to 50 percent of adolescents and young adults say they buy energy drinks. But are they safe for young people to drink?

No, says Stephanie Nguyen Lai, M.D., a pediatrician at Palo Alto Medical Foundation. She explains that energy drinks are loaded with caffeine – often twice as much as coffee and eight times as much as a soda. They’re especially dangerous when mixed with alcohol.

As a parent, it is important to talk with your adolescent, and explain the risks of these products,” Dr. Lai says. Their health could be at stake.

Hidden Caffeine in Energy Drinks Read More

Exercise and Kids: Why They Need It

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It can seem like kids are constantly on the move. But many hours of children’s days can be spent sitting at school or in front of computers, iPads or TVs, drastically reducing their daily activity level.

“Regular exercise has many health benefits for children – and adults, too,” says Elizabeth Anne Huffman, M.D., a pediatrician at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. “It helps us all maintain a healthy weight and build strong bones, muscles and joints. Exercise is also an excellent stress buster, encourages better sleep and will help your child concentrate at school.”

Here Dr. Huffman answers common questions from parents about exercise and kids and offers tips on how the family can be active together. Read More

What Teens Can Do About Acne

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Acne: it’s caused stress before many a first date and sent teens scurrying to the drug store for the latest miracle potion. If your teen has acne, he or she is not alone.

“Approximately 85 percent of all teens have acne at some point,” says Amy E. Gilliam, M.D., a pediatric dermatologist at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. “Although there is no magic bullet or quick fix for teen acne, there are several effective treatment options that – with patience – can help clear up this skin condition.” Read More

Concussions: What You Need to Know

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The rate of concussions in kids from sports or recreation injuries rose 60 percent in the past decade, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Each year, more than 173,000 children and adolescents are treated in emergency rooms for concussions and other traumatic brain injuries.

Everyone wants to prevent concussions, but how? Proper safety equipment such as helmets and general safety precautions are the best prevention currently available.  And what do you do once your child or teen has a concussion?

Pediatricians at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation offer this quick guide to coping with a concussion.

Read More

New Parents: When to Call the Doctor

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New parents often marvel that such an adorable and precious bundle of joy has become part of their lives. But the responsibility for another human being – one who can only communicate by crying, pooping and sleeping – can be overwhelming. Especially if you think your baby might be sick.

“New parents should never hesitate to call their child’s doctor if they are concerned,” says Rebecca Fazilat, M.D., a pediatrician at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. “Doctors who care for children, such as pediatricians and family medicine doctors, expect a lot of calls because it takes experience for parents to learn how and when to respond to their child’s illness.”

While you are still learning to understand “baby language,” follow Dr. Fazilat’s guidelines on when you should seek medical help for your little one. Read More