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First with Kids, by Dr. Lewis First

Growing pains: height issues in children

Parents have been hitting new heights with their questions about what to do when their child is concerned about being too tall or too short. Well let me size up those questions and provide some information on the topic of growing pains. - What determines your growing pace - Everyone grows ...

Tackling acne mythbusting: What is fact versus fiction?

Recently I’ve come face to face with teenagers eager to ask me what is fact and fiction about their developing acne. Well let me see if I can break out with some accurate information about some common acne myths. - The first myth: Chocolate or fried foods cause acne - One common ...

Listening in to treat ear infections

Recently, parents have been asking me an earful of questions about why their children get so many ear infections. They also ask what can be done, if anything, to prevent them. - Causes of ear infections - The majority of ear infections in children are caused by viral germs. Viral ...

What you need to know about febrile seizures

Parents are often hot to ask me questions about convulsions, or seizures that are associated with fevers. We call these febrile seizures. - What are febrile seizures? - Febrile seizures, which can involve shaking of the arms and legs, usually last for only a few minutes, if that. ...

Igniting e-cigarette dangers

Parents have been lighting up with questions about e-cigarettes and what they can say to their teenagers to convince them to stop, or better yet, not even use them. - What are e-cigarettes? - E-cigarettes are battery powered smoking devices that contain cartridges filled with a liquid ...

Spitting up: gastroesophageal reflux

Parents have been bringing up lots of questions about their babies who tend to spit up a lot. This week, let me try to keep down their concerns and provide some information on this “spitting up” topic we call infant heartburn or reflux. - Spit up specifics - Now, all babies will ...

Wrapping your head around homework

With school back in session, I am frequently asked what parents should be doing to ensure that homework gets done. Let me take on that assignment and provide a few tips. - More than just homework - Homework, though perhaps not your child’s favorite after-school activity, is not just ...

Heading off concussion concerns

Parents of children playing contact sports have been heading me off at the pass asking me if they need to worry after their child has had a concussion. - What is a concussion? - A concussion is a temporary loss of brain function due to a direct injury to the head and a shifting of the ...

Asking your child questions about school

Parents are frequently testing me with the question of how can they better learn what is happening in school, when the usual response to “How’s school?” is “Fine” or “Nothing happened” to simply end the conversation. So let me try to take on that assignment and offer some ...

Hand, foot and mouth disease: what you need to know

Parents have been asking me a mouthful of questions about an illness called hand, foot and mouth disease. While commonly associated with younger children, it has begun to show up in teens and young adults as well. - When does this happen? - Hand, foot and mouth disease is often seen in ...

The game plan for coed sports

With the fall sports season here, parents have been getting their kicks asking me questions about girls and boys playing sports together. They want to know when coed competition is and is not recommended, particularly in contact sports. Well let me see if I can touch down on this ...

Helping your child cope with violence in the news

All the violence children see on the news is stressing out their parents. Whether it be a shooting or a natural disaster, parents want some insight into what to say to their children. Let me see if I can help. The average child in this country will witness 200,000 violent acts on television ...

Preparing for a healthy return to school

Parents have been testing me on how their children can get a healthy start as they head back to school. Let me take on that assignment and provide some information on this topic. First, be sure your child is in good health. Make sure they have an annual checkup, including that their ...

A reality check on ticks and Lyme disease

The possibility of children getting Lyme disease really ticks off parents. Lyme is on the rise, and children who play outdoors in areas where deer ticks live are at risk. Last year, Vermonters reported almost 500 cases of Lyme. Northern New York has its fair share as well. Symptoms of Lyme ...

Have a plan in case someone gets lost in a crowd

The Burlington Discover Jazz Festival is here, which means downtown Burlington will be busy with public events and big crowds. When there are a lot of people in a public space, there is a risk of a child getting lost. Let me offer some direction so you can find your way on this important topic. ...

Flushing out tips about potty training

Parents are often asking me to help them figure out the right time to start toilet training. Well, if parents haven’t learned to use the toilet yet, I don’t think they’re ever going to learn. If they’re asking about their toddlers, let me wipe up any concerns about this important ...

Some piercing insight on tattoos and piercings

Parents have been pinning me down with questions about what to say to their teen who wants a piercing or tattoo. We should no longer associate piercing and tattooing in teens with their being at an increased risk for using tobacco, alcohol, or drugs. Nowadays teenagers see body art such as ...

Calm advice for surviving temper tantrums

Parents have been crying out to me for help in managing their toddler’s tantrums. Well, I don’t want anyone pulling their hair out, so let me provide some information on toddlers and tantrums. Tantrums are an expected behavior for young children. They can happen when children are hungry, ...

New year’s resolutions

With the new year upon us, parents have asked me to help them with New Year’s resolutions for their children. Let me offer a few suggestions to ring in the new year. Infants should resolve to sleep on their backs, which helps to prevent sudden unexpected infant death. And they should keep ...

Cord stumps and belly buttons

Parents of newborns have been trying to stump me with their questions about how best to care for their baby’s belly button or umbilical cord stump. Let me try to clamp off anyone’s concern and provide some information on this topic. The quickest way to have the cord stump fall off, ...