Category Archives: Family Health

The hidden dangers of fine hairs in the gardens and parks

There are two major warnings that I want to warn you about for your child playing in the parks and gardens here in Firenze and Italy.  Located in these places are a plant and insect with problematic hairs on them. These are a major do not go near or touch for your child.

The first is Ortica (stinging nettle).  It is a plant that if touched will burn like a jellyfish.  I had totally forgot to remind my nephew not to touch them and at one point, he comes over crying because he was burning from touching this plant.  I feel bad because he is a child that loves to touch nature, plants, bugs, trees etc.

The burn does go away after a while but it will take some time.  The entire area can have a bloated look with inflammation surrounded by a red halo.  The itching, burning, pain, and irritation can be quite intense but can vary from person to person.  This is one plant. If your child rolls in a bunch of it or walks in it with shorts, he/she will be in horrible pain. Now, I know you can eat this but you need to collect it with gloves and cook it before using in foods.

If your child does touch Ortica, try not to touch or rub the affected area for 10 minutes. Immediately pour cold water on the skin without rubbing it with your fingers. Best is to keep any bare skin away from the area to prevent spreading and irritating the area more. Although the pain can be intense in the first few minutes, do not touch or rub to prevent painful sensations that can cause trouble for days. Then wash with soap and water to remove the chemicals released from the plant that is causing the pain, swelling, redness, and itching. In many cases, once the area has been washed, the pain should go away completely or at least reduced a lot. Use a clean cloth, if you do not have water and soap on hand, and gently remove dirt and debris from the area. You can also apply adhesive tape (not sure this will work on little children); this is to pluck the little hairs off the infected area of the skin.

The Lapazio (Dock) plant, which usually grows in the same area as Ortica, is stated as quick balm to put on the infected area caused by Ortica. Lapazio plant has leaves are very large, oval and with rounded tips.  The leaf of Lapazio has a wave-shaped edge with the lower leaf having a reddish color at the stem section. If you see this plant nearby and know it is Lapazio, you should grind some leaves and apply to the affected area. If your child has plant allergies, I would not use this on them.

The next is the Pine Processionary Caterpillar (processionarie) seen around March to June. This caterpillar reminds me of the tent caterpillar from my home in NJ that I used to collect in a jar and wait until it hatched into a moth. Unfortunately, though they are in the same species, they are not the same when it comes to collecting caterpillars. This particular tent caterpillar will line up when walking in a long row.  They look harmless but they are anything but and those little hairs on them will generate a big rash and eye irritations if touched. These hairs can be found also off the caterpillar in the leaves and grass around where they walk.   If your child is allergic to them, they will have an allergic response of cough, difficulty breathing, and bubble blisters on arms and/or hands. If your child touches one of these, you should apply the same steps as above with Ortica except the Dock. Wash with soap and water and do not touch the area with bare hands.   Then call your doctor to get any further treatments.  If your child has symptoms of an allergic reaction, take them to the emergency room immediately.

It is best when your child is young to show pictures or even the real live thing mentioning very strongly to not touch them that they will feel pain. It worked really well with my children. They recognized it immediately and mentioned it to you when they see them.

****On a side note: these are also a big problem for animals so keep an eye on your cat and dogs.

 

Recent News article on children in Hospital Meyer because of the Processionary caterpillar

Ortica photo:
http://www.actaplantarum.org/floraitaliae/viewtopic.php?t=14088

Processionary Caterpillars photo:
http://www.lost-in-france.com/living-in-france/pets/805-processionary-caterpillars
http://facultyweb.cortland.edu/fitzgerald/PineProcessionary.html

Dock photo:
http://erenovable.com/9-malas-hierbas-en-el-jardin-que-son-comestibles/rumex-crispus-lengua-de-vaca/

A Group of House Plants Hard at Work

The beneficial effects of houseplants in home and office

house-plants

Houseplants can clean your air, eliminating chemicals, mould and bacteria; they produce oxygen and moisture. On your desk, they can create a personal breathing zone filtering chemicals emitted by computer screens, in your bedroom succulents, orchids and bromeliads provide oxygen at night.

Last century NASA, after finding a hazardous build-up of toxins in spacecraft, discovered that houseplants were able to remove toxic chemicals in sealed chambers. This lead to a series of detailed studies on the filtering capacity of plants in relation to the most common chemicals found in indoor environments.

Indoor pollutants include the chemicals found in modern products, electronics and furnishings, particularly formaldehyde, xylene and toluene, ammonia found in cleaning products, moulds and bacteria and the 150 bio-effluents emitted by the human body.

The poisonous nature of these substances has been highlighted recently in the sick building syndrome where energy efficient buildings seal in the toxins and the people living in them get ill.

What some house plants are good at:

While all houseplants filter and clean the air, two of the best for:

Formaldehyde which enters our homes in  refuse sacks, paper products, fabrics, plywood, chipboard, resins, gas ovens  are the Dracaena ‘Janet Craig’ and the Rubber plant Ficus Robusta.

Xylene and toluene – in adhesives, printers, computer screens, photocopiers – the Areca palm Chrysalidocarpus lutescens and the Moth orchid Phalaenopsis sp.

Ammonia – cleaning products and bio effluents -the Lady palm Rhapis excelsa and the King of Hearts Homalomena wallisii

Author and photo by Kate Parenti
http://www.gardendesign.bio/

Ask Dr. Paolo is back

Ask Paolo logoYou may have noticed a few blog post and workshops about Dr. Paolo Molino a psychotherapist.  Dr. Paolo Molino has been helping the Expat community for years. He is a psychotherapist of Gestalt psychology. He is also a family man with his wife and two children.

He expertise covers many areas such as:

  • Affection disorders (depression,emotional dependence )
  • Personality disorders ( borderline personality disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder , antisocial personality disorders)
  • Parenting Roles (coaching and support)
  • Sexuality related problems (male and female)
  • Relational problems (couple’s or family’s)
  • Family constellations (group or individual session)
  • Eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia)

If you have any questions about dealing with different cultural relationships, dealing with being away from family, or dealing with children behavior just to name a few examples many expats go through.  Click and  Submit your questions.   *your question can be submitted anonymously

If you need to contact him directly for an appointment here is his information:

Paolo molinoDr. Paolo Molino, psychotherapist,
Piazza Cesare Beccaria Area, Firenze.
Cell 331-1064726
email: paolomolino@gmail.com.
Website: http://www.paolomolino.com

OMG I cracked a tooth a day before vacation

All fixed

All fixed

This is not what you want to have happen, especially one day before going on vacation. You are all packed and ready to leave the next morning. You got up out of bed, hit your chin and wham, you knocked your front tooth in half. Of course this was a tooth that you already cracked off when you were 12 years old by a softball. After all these years it falls out with a slight hit of the chin.  Anyway, you need to find someone fast and reliable.

This is what happened to me, so I called up the dentist that I had to quickly find when my back molar cracked and had a big hole in the base of my tooth. That tooth had to be completely extracted.  I had so many worries because I have special issues being immunosuppressed with my medicines I take for my autoimmune disease.  So I needed a doctor close to home, spoke English (not a need but really helps in an emergency situation), and knew about people with my health condition.

I asked in the Firenze Moms 4 Moms Expat Mom’s Club where I could find such a dentist.  I was lucky to have found the right person.  He not only extracted my molar when that cracked, but he also was available at a quick notice with my broken tooth a day before my vacation.

He is a husband of a mom in the group, but a great guy that does dental work on children as well as adults. He is very professional, obviously knowledgeable of the new dental procedures, along with knowing about dental issues in people with autoimmune disease.  Many thanks goes to Dr. Niccolò Trentanove for being there to help me out with my many dental emergencies, that seem to happen at odd times, out of nowhere.

His office is very easy to get too and located just outside the main center.  He provides the following services: repair dentures, orthodontics, dental root canal treatment, oral hygiene treatment, pediatric dentistry, periodontics, implant dentistry, extraction surgery, implant surgery and teeth whitening.

His contact information is:

Dr. Niccolò Trentanove
Via Senese 12 – 50124 Firenze (FI)
tel: 055 2298271
partita iva: 02282030481

Obstetrician Doctors Here and Weight Gain

weight

So why is it that the Obstetrician doctors here have big issues with weight gain during pregnancy for expat moms?  I am not talking weight gain above the standards of other countries. Here you can find an example of what doctors follow in the US for standards of weight gain during pregnancy. click here  In Firenze, I am finding many expat mothers (myself included) built with a broad structure, because of our genetics, are being treated on a weight scale as some small Italian women.  I am not trying to be stereotypical or racist, but genetics in different cultures do create different size women.  The standards for them are going to be different then an average Italian woman.  I see it already in the cloth sizes, where I have to get many of my clothes from the UK because the sizes here are disproportionately small and short.

I had a healthy pregnancy with my first child. I gained a good amount of weight (40 lbs. (20kg) by the end of my pregnancy) most water and baby (my boy was 10.4lbs (5kgs)) when born. This was 2 weeks after due date.  A very big baby but not because I was gaining weight. My sugar levels were fine with my first and no problems at all during pregnancy.  Now my second, conceived and born here also was a big baby (9.5lbs (4.9kg)). The first doctor I went to in the public system was going off about my weight gain at the end of first trimester.  I was starting my second trimester and I was showing quickly already.  I knew I was doing the same as my first child. I knew that I felt good and my blood work was normal as well.  Therefore, I switched doctors to a private doctor that took into consideration and looked at my levels of weight etc. from my first pregnancy.  As long as I stayed like my first pregnancy and blood work and tests came back normal; then all was OK.  In fact, I delivered a healthy baby without problems.  It was another C-section but that was because my first was born by C-section.  I was not allowed to go natural again after one C-section.

Anyway, did any of you have issues with doctors and weight in pregnancy here?

 

Straight Facts About Braces

Why is orthodontics important?

Without treatment, orthodontic problem may lead to tooth decay, gum disease, bone destruction and trouble with chewing and digestion. A “bad bite” can be a factor in tooth loss and chipped teeth. Orthodontics can have psychological benefits too – boosting a person’s self-image as the teeth, jaws and lips become properly aligned.

When should a child first see an orthodontist?

Although there is not a universal best age to begin orthodontic treatment, the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that every child see an orthodontist at an early age. This could be as young as 3 or 4, but should be no later than 7.

Early examination enables the orthodontist to detect and evaluate problems and determine the appropriate time to treat them. After the initial evaluation, the orthodontist may simply recommend periodic checkups. The proper age to treat malocclusion varies with the type and severity of the problem.

Is it ever too late for a person to get braces?
Healthy teeth can be moved at almost any age. An orthodontist can improve the smile of practically anyone – in fact, orthodontists regularly treat patients in their 50s, 60s and older!

What can happen if orthodontic problems go untreated?
Untreated orthodontic problems may contribute to tooth decay, diseased gums, temporomandibular joint problems and loss of teeth. Protruding teeth are more susceptible to accidental chipping and other forms of dental injury. Sometimes, the increased cost of dental care resulting from untreated malocclusion (bad bite) far exceeds the cost of orthodontic care. In addition, if left untreated, malocclusion may result in harmful effects on the oral health and psychological well-being of the patient.

What makes an orthodontist different from a dentist?
Orthodontists are the dental specialists in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities: they are expert at moving teeth, helping jaws develop properly and working with the patient to help make sure the teeth stay in their new positions. They are uniquely qualified to correct “bad bites”. The American Dental Association requires orthodontists to have at least two years of post-doctoral, advanced specialty training in orthodontics in an accredited program, after graduation from dental school.

Read her other post: The Right Time For An Orthodontic Check-Up

October is the Month of Dental Prevention. The American Association of Orthodontists has chosen October as Orthodontic Health Month. It provides the opportunity to educate the public about the benefits of orthodontics, the importance of early orthodontic screening no later than age seven, the lifetime value of orthodontics and orthodontists’ special educational qualifications.

Written by Dr. Daniela Signorelli

*** The material is provided by the American Association of Orthodontists. If anyone is interested in having more information, there is  AAO’s  website : http://www.braces.org

 

The Right Time For An Orthodontic Check-Up

The Right Time For An Orthodontic Check-Up: No Later Than Age 7

dentist
Even though most people think of pre-teens and teens when they speak about orthodontics, there are good reasons your child should get an orthodontic evaluation much sooner. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic check-up no later than age 7.

Why Your Child Should Get An Orthodontic Check-Up No Later Than Age 7:
1. Orthodontists can spot problems with jaw growth and emerging teeth while some baby teeth are still present.
2. The check-up may reveal that your child’s bite is fine. Often, the orthodontist will identify a potential problem but recommend monitoring the child’s growth and development, and then, if indicated, begin treatment at the right time for the child. In other cases, the orthodontist might find a problem that can benefit from early treatment.
3. Early treatment may prevent more serious problems from developing and may make treatment at a later age shorter and less complicated.
4. In some cases, the orthodontist will be able to achieve results that wouldn’t be possible once the face and jaws have finished growing.
5. Some of the more readily apparent conditions that indicate the need for early examination include:

• Early or late loss of teeth
• Difficulty in chewing or biting
• Mouth breathing
• Thumb sucking
• Crowding, misplaced or blocked-out teeth
• Jaws that shift or make sounds
• Speech difficulties
• Biting the cheek or the roof of the mouth
• Teeth that meet abnormally, or don’t meet at all
• Facial imbalance
• Jaws that are too far forward or back
• Grinding or clenching of the teeth

6. Early treatment may give your orthodontist the chance to:

• Guide jaw growth
• Lower the risk of trauma to protruded front teeth
• Correct harmful oral habits (thumb sucking)
• Improve appearance
• Guide permanent teeth into a more favourable position
• Improve the way lips meet

7. Through early orthodontic screening, you’ll be giving your child the best opportunity for a healthy, beautiful smile that’s good for life. No child should wait until reaching the teens to feel good about his or her smile.

October is the Month of Dental Prevention. The American Association of Orthodontists has chosen October as Orthodontic Health Month. It provides the opportunity to educate the public about the benefits of orthodontics, the importance of early orthodontic screening no later than age seven, the lifetime value of orthodontics and orthodontists’ special educational qualifications.

Written by Dr. Daniela Signorelli

*** The material is provided by the American Association of Orthodontists. If anyone is interested in having more information, there is  AAO’s  website : http://www.braces.org

Vaccines 2013

It seems many moms are asking if the vaccines giving here are the same as in the US and UK.  For the most part vaccines given are the same but might be given at a slightly different schedule then in the US or UK.  In the overall though by age of  12  your child will be vaccinated the same as those in the US and UK.

Here is the schedule in Italy

Here is the English definition of the Italian names and abbreviations  for the vaccines listed above.

DTPa: Diphtheria, tetanus, & acellular pertussis (DTaP: <7 yrs)vaccinazioni-infantili

dTpa: Tetanus, diphtheria, & acellular pertussis (Tdap:>7 yrs)

IPV: Inactivated Poliovirus (IPV)

HBV/EpatiteB: Hepatitis B (HepB)

Hib: Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib)

Varicella: varicella (VAR)

MPR: Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR)

PCV: Pneumococcal conjugate (PCV13)

 Men C: Meningococcal (Hib-MenCY>6 weeks; MCV4-D>9 mos; MCV4-CRM>2 yrs.)

HPV/papillomavirus:  Human papillomavirus (HPV2: females only; HPV4: males and females)

EpatiteA: Hepatitis A (HepA)

doctor

For a list of the Vaccines in the US click here:

http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/downloads/parent-ver-sch-0-6yrs.pdf

For a list of the Vaccines in the UK click here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/227651/8515_DoH_Complete_Imm_schedule_A4_2013_09.pdf

To vaccinate or not? What are your thoughts?

I have to say a women, in the vasculitis group I belong, is in tears because she now thinks that she gave her two daughters an autoimmune disease. The diseases for both her daughters came out after this vaccine. I am almost sure mine came out after I having mono and got the hep b vaccine at the same time. This was done, because it was required by nursing school to have the Hep B vaccine before that semester started. I do believe that if you are predisposed genetically a vaccine can activate it. I think I was because in my family we have one person with an autoammune disease Multiple Sclerosis (MS). I worry and decide with each vaccine I give my children. This is one that I would be against and try desparately to teach them to wait to have sex.
So what are your thoughts for or against the HPV vaccine, and why? (Note: I know this is a very controversial topic so please lets respect others opinion as that others opinion and not harass them for it)

http://www.realfarmacy.com/the-lead-vaccine-developer-comes-clean/

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Substitutes in Italy: Neosporin Ointment | Firenze Mom

Neosporin Ointment

Is very popular in the US for putting on small cuts and scrapes. I first found out about it when I got my ears pierced it was the go to for all little skin wounds. It is an antibiotic and it must be said that there is always a risk of get a strain of bacterium that is resistant to antibiotics with lots of use of antibiotics.  Over all though if used once in a while is a great for preventing scars and keep wounds clear of infections.

That said if you are looking for Neosporin in Italy it is called Streptosil. The ingredients in Neosporin is Neomycin Sulfate. The main ingrediant in Streptosil is STREPTOSIL ® Sulfatiazolo + Neomicina  which is the exact same thing.

So Streptosil is Neosporin. You an get the ointment here in the pharmacies by asking for Streptosil Unguento. Unguento meaning ointment.

Now if you do not need an antibiotic form of ointment for a wound you can use Aquaphor for wound healing. It’s ingredients are: Mineral Oil, Ceresin, Lanolin Alcohol, Panthenol, Glycerin, Bisabolol