WonderBaba

Healthcare by a Pharmacist mum!


Leave a comment

A WonderBaba Review of Salt Therapy with Salins!

Why I wanted to review the Salin Air Purifier (Salt Therapy device)!

salt_cave

Salt therapy has been used for years in Eastern Europe and Russia where salt caverns are abundant.  People use salt caves for the treatment and prevention of respiratory conditions which is known as  ‘speleotherapy’.  Modern salt caves and rooms are being built more frequently and a quick google search show that they are becoming more and more popular in Ireland.  Halotherapy is the term used to describe the salt therapy in man made rooms.  This type of therapy is not cheap at around 20 euro for 45-60 minutes!

I found lots of research about salt therapy but actually the evidence does not always confirm with standard or recommended medical research and as a result I do feel it is important to say that there is a lack of robust scientific research on the use of salt therapy.  This is not necessary a reflection on its efficacy though, just more a note that further randomised controlled trials are needed before I could hand on heart say that this is evidence based medicine.  At the moment I cannot so I just want to make that clear from the onset!  However, the anecdotal evidence is outstanding and overwhelming and on both personal and professional levels I like to take a holistic approach to the treatment of illness.  Salt therapy is not likely to do any harm ( however use caution in severe asthmatics as with any new treatment!) so I personally felt that I wanted to give it a try it!  This is a product that does not contain drugs, it’s natural and it is also non-invasive.  It should ALWAYS be used IN ADDITION to prescribed medication and no changes should be made to treatment plans without a discussion with your childs GP.

Salt Therapy

salins plus infographicSalt therapy is thought to work through its mucolytic, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.  It is also a negatively charged ion.  The negatively charged ions make contact with the respiratory airways and stimulate ciliary mobility and the ability for mucous to flow through the membranes.  In addition to this the salt sits on the membranes and draws the mucous out by osmosis.  Now this is cool because a persistent chesty cough is often caused by mucus plugs.  In theory, this allows for clearer airways, improved removal of mucus from the chest and easier more free breathing.  There are many respiratory conditions which cause a mucus build up where this type of therapy may be beneficial such as asthma, bronchitis, infections, allergies, sinusitis, laryngitis and so on.

It’s no secret that I’m a little obsessed with the Vicks Warm Steam Vapouriser and I suppose the key reason for this is that it is so absolutely effective at loosening mucus and conditioning the airways.  This reduces inflammation and allows chesty coughs to be broken down allowing for easier breathing through the sinuses and lungs.  People always ask me if they should use it all of the time as a preventative measure and it’s so important to stress that no, the Vick Vapouriser product is only meant for use when your child actually has a cough or cold.  There’s a few reasons for this but on a practical level it just is not good for your walls to have 365 days of steam exposure! It doesn’t cause any problems when plugged in over night for a few nights when a child has a cold but even then I always recommend you to keep the bedroom door a foot open and make sure to open the windows wide for half an hour once everyone is dressed and up for the day!  Following these guidelines I have never once had a problem with damp with over five years of sporadic use for three children! Yes the walls are steamy in the morning – they are meant to be! But once the room is well aired afterwards there should be no issue.  I must say I absolutely love the Vicks Warm steam Vapouriser for cough or cold – and no I have not been paid to say that!!! It’s a quick fix providing almost instant relief for an irritating or chesty cough and has saved my sanity on several occasions over the last few years with the kids!

In any case I still had a problem, I wanted to find a product that is suitable for every day use.  I wanted to find a product that would help my own children and other WonderBabas to fight back against the common occurrence of coughs, colds and respiratory illnesses.

Salin-Plus.jpgThe product I discovered is the Salin Plus Air Purifier which is a Salt Therapy machine. This takes all of the benefits of treatment in a salt room and pops it into a convenient little device which can be used in your own home!  The benefits of visiting a salt therapy room or cave are relatively short term (and expensive!!) as you need constant exposure for constant relief which is why I love the convenience of this product.  It is suitable for children of all ages – and adults too of course!

How does it work?

This device works by providing all of the benefits of salt therapy by having air pushed through a filter by a little fan so the micro-crystalline salts create a fine constant spray in the surrounding area.  As a mum I always want to know the practical points and I can say that this machine is great in terms of sound – it’s very quiet and can be turned up or down using a simple dial on the back so that you can decide what level of sound your child will put up with!  On a low setting you really can’t hear it at all, so you could start it low as your little one is going to sleep but then ramp it up when they are asleep to benefit from the increased levels of salt in the room.  I was able to start it on a medium to high level before my two year old got curious!!

How you should use it?

When first starting off with this product it’s a good idea to have about a month of intensive use – basically have the machine plugged in at night and also in the rooms you are using during the day.  Obviously this is only possible when you’re at home so all you can do is your best!   Ideally it should be used for a minimum of eight hours per day so overnight seems like the easiest and most convenient time but because you can easily carry it around (I’m a weakling and seriously this thing is really light!) you can have it on in the living room during the day as well if you like.  It is suitable for use as an every day product and will do no damage to your walls. One device will treat a max area of 55 sq meters. I’m not great on spacial awareness but some people do place the product in the hall if the bedrooms are close by and have the doors open.  On another practical note it’s supposed to help with snoring so it is no harm to let everyone get the benefits….eh hem…yes i’m talking about you Mr WonderBaba….!!

How did my review go?

I tried this product out over almost four weeks.  I have no asthmatics in the house so can’t comment on that front personally – but there’s a kazillion positive asthma stories online!  I do have a little lady with constant tonsillitis who struggles with breathing at night and as a result snores a lot etc.  This definitely reduced her snoring and so I think it is a fair assumption that it improved the quality of her sleep.  My son has had a lingering cough and I tried the device in his room one night but to be honest the kids rooms are a shape where I couldn’t place the device between the rooms as the effect would have been lost so I chose to give it to my daughter who as I explained has more lingering breathing problems at night (not for long – good bye tonsils!!).  For my son I went back to my old reliable Vick warm steam vapouriser which I feel I will still whip out at any sign of the sniffles or cough as i feel it is more of an ‘instant fix’.  However from my personal experience with the improvement of my little ladies breathing I would be optimistic that the frequency of respiratory issues would be significantly reduced through the regular use of the Salin Plus Salt Therapy device.  I would hope that many coughs and colds would not have a chance to settle on their chests due to the improved respiratory function and thinner mucus.  It might seem like a leap of faith though but due to the astounding amount of anecdotal evidence it’s one that I have definitely been happy to make!  I don’t stock products I don’t believe in but I will stock the Salin Plus Salt Therapy Device.  Be warned though the machine is not cheap!! It retails at €160  and the replacement filters (need to be changed every 4-6 months) cost €50.  I think that if it improves absenteeism from creche or school (and thus a parent from work) that it’s probably quite a good investment.  Many people report a significant decrease in the number of antibiotics their child needed etc so that too is worth factoring in.  For me potentially non-invasive and natural prevention is a clear choice!

Available to Purchase Here!

salinThe Salin Plus Air Purifier is available on OFFER here over on my shop website!

salinplus_filters_small                                  You can Also buy the refills by clicking here!

cropped-cropped-feet1.pngI hope you found this information helpful and as always don’t hesitate to contact me on the WonderBaba Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/wonderbabacare) with any questions or for one to one advice for your little one! You can also consult with me in person at Milltown totalhealth Pharmacy in Dublin 6 or over the phone on 012600262.

 

 

 

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8266663?dopt=Abstract

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10439712?dopt=Abstract

https://lungfoundation.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Salt-Therapy.pdf


Leave a comment

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome – also known as Cot Death.

I think any mum sitting down to write an article on this topic would feel the same – the first sentence and I can hardly breathe. I can’t possibly try to empathise with or understand how the horror of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) must make a family feel, it’s beyond the scope of my words and heavily beyond the strength of my heart. So I begin this article with a huge sorrow and sadness for those families already affected and also with a clear purpose of writing in the hope that together, as parents, we can ensure that our babies are exposed to as few risk factors as physically possible.

According to the HSE website SIDS can be defined as “the sudden unexpected death of an apparently well infant for which there is no explanation”.  They also say that “most babies die in their sleep peacefully”.

SIDS is not common – that is important to know – but from the most up to date information I could find it still claimed the lives of 34 babies in Ireland in 2004.  This is significantly reduced from 134 babies per year in the 1980s.  Babies are less affected when they start to gain mobility at about five months of age.  The MOST IMPORTANT thing to take away from this article is that reducing the risk factors for SIDS has reduced the amount of babies that have died.   So the advice you hear at every hospital appointment, GP or public health nurse visit is all trying to deliver the same message – if you follow the guidelines for SIDS risk reduction you reduce the risk of your baby being affected.

question markWhat do we know?

It is also important to appreciate that whilst some risk factors have been associated with SIDS the cause actually remains unknown.  Sometimes there are no answers to the questions SIDS must raise, even though I imagine answers are what you would actually need and be looking for.  With this in mind I think all we can do is the best with the information that we DO know.

We know that 9 out of 10 SIDS deaths occur when a baby is six months or younger.  We know that more baby boys than girls die from SIDS (1.5 : 1).  We know that premature and low birth weight babies have an increased risk of SIDS. We know that exposure to tobacco smoke can increase your babies risk of SIDS x 8! We know that smoking during pregnancy can increase your babies risk of SIDS x 4!  We know that sleeping with an adult increases the risk of SIDS and that this risk increases if the adult has consumed ANY alcohol or drugs which may cause drowsiness.  We know that putting a baby to sleep on their tummy or side increase the risk of SIDS.  We know that a baby using a duvet, quilt or pillow under one year of age is more at risk of SIDS.  Finally we know that a baby who is over heated through their clothes or environment is at increased risk of SIDS.  So actually we know a lot.

How do we use this info to reduce the risk of SIDS?

  • IMG_7589Place your baby on their back when putting them down for sleep.  If they roll onto their tummy with physical ability and by choice it’s ok but don’t place them to sleep on their tummy.  Their feet should be touching the foot of the cot.
  • Use thin blankets or sheets no higher than their shoulders and tuck them in so that they can’t slip over their heads.  Alternatively I found it easier to use baby sleeping bags. Always use the correct size sleeping bag for your baby as otherwise it may slip over their heads – if the small size of sleeping bag seems too big just use blankets for a few more weeks.
  • Do tummy time to help develop strength and muscle tone – you can read more about this in my flat head article by clicking here.
  • quit smoking wonderbabaEradicate all exposure of tobacco smoke to your baby – quit smoking if your can or if not ensure you smoke outside (another room in the house or out the window will not completely get rid of the smoke – you may not be able to smell or see it but it can linger for a couple of hours in a room.)  Don’t handle the baby or let another smoker soon after a cigarette.  For support to quit smoking check out this great website – www.quit.ie – loads of brilliant support and tips available!
  • Its been found that the lowest risk of SIDS is in babies who sleep in a cot or crib in the same room as their parents until they are six months of age.  I found a co-sleeper crib great as it meant I had a lot of the convenience of co-sleeping whilst breastfeeding and recovering from c-section but also the baby had the safety of their own space – in my room.
  • Whilst the evidence is not robust on this tip it’s still worth mentioning that soother use has been associated with a reduction in SIDS risk.  Obviously if your baby doesn’t take to a soother then there’s nothing you can do about it, but if your baby does like a soother at bed time then it’s no harm – and if it falls out when they’re asleep there is no need to put it back in unless they look for it 🙂  For lot’s of more information on soother use check out my full blog by clicking here!
  • Don’t use a duvet, quilt or pillow for your baby if they are under 12 months of age.
  • Keep the temperature of their bedroom between 16 and 20 degrees celcius – ideally 18!
  • Don’t place their cot, crib, or moses basket next to a radiator, heater, fire or in direct sunlight.
  • Babies regulate their heat a lot using their heads – so no hats in bed.
  • Use a firm clean mattress which fits the cot or basket well – with no gaps down the sides.

 

little handWhilst it’s important to be aware of the risk factors and reduce them where you can I think as parents we would find it hard to cope if you thought this was a common occurrence which was a big risk to your baby every day.  So using the most recent figure I could see of 34 Cot Deaths per year in 2004 and also looking at the stats for 2016 – it would mean that to the 34 babies who died there were 63,863 who did not.  We can’t always fear what might happen, if we are taking reasonable precautions to reduce risk factors and act as responsible parents I think we have to just believe that everything will be fine and enjoy our beautiful WonderBabas as they grow and develop into amazingly unique and perfect individuals with more wonder to reveal each day.

If you would like to learn more about SIDS or need support there are some great resources available in Ireland:

 

feetI hope you found this information helpful and as always don’t hesitate to contact me on the WonderBaba Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/wonderbabacare) with any questions or for one to one advice for your little one! You can also consult with me in person at Milltown totalhealth Pharmacy in Dublin 6 or over the phone on 012600262


Leave a comment

Vitamin and Supplement Series – Vitamin D!

sunshine-wonderbabaVitamin D also known as The Sunshine Vitamin!

Vitamin D gets it’s name because it needs UVB sun rays to be made – you can see why this is a problem in Ireland! When you consider that you’re not really meant to have your babies exposed to any sun that does actually escape through the clouds it really indicates that we might need to consider other sources!  This is why we have a recommendation in Ireland that all babies  under one year of age should be given a supplement of 5µg of Vitamin D3 every day! This is true for both breast fed and bottle fed babies.

What do we need vitamin D for?

We need Vitamin D to help our bodies to use calcium which is critical for the formation and maintenance of healthy bones and teeth.  If we don’t have enough our bones can become weak and in some cases even cause rickets in children.  Rickets involves a weakening of the bones which can result in bone deformities and increased likelihood of fractures.  The reason the guidelines say that supplementation is essential up to 12 months of age is because of an increased need for Vitamin D due to the speed that babies grow at during that period.  It’s worth noting that babies with darker skin are even more at risk of low levels of vitamin D.  Vitamin D also plays a role in promoting healthy muscles and even immune system.

 

What else is important to know?

  • You need to give vitamin D to your baby even if you took a supplement whilst pregnant.
  • D3 is the best form of Vitamin D to give your baby – that’s whats in most of the products now so you don’t really have to worry too much about choosing.
  • Vitamin D is fat soluble – this means that it can be harmful to take too much – always read the label.

 

Which one should I get and where can I get it?

abidec-vitamin-D3-drops-Milltown-Pharmacybabyvitd3-pump-milltown-pharmacyYou should choose a product suitable for babies with just Vitamin D3 in it – if you feel your baby needs other multivitamins you should read my full multivitamin guide by clicking here as there are a few vitamins which you can take too much of, vitamin D is one of these, so you have to be careful.  Vitamin D products differ in dosages in different formulations so always read the label on the product you buy to make sure you are giving a suitable dose.  Abidec Vitamin D3 drops comes in a slightly aniseed flavour which babies don’t seem to mind at all and you just need to give one drop! I found it useful to give it whilst changing nappy as I was more likely to remember when I saw it beside the nappy things and it was easy to drop into their mouths as they lay back.  BabyVit D3 pump also contains one daily dose per single pump and some mums prefer using this to drops – a personal choice!

 

 

cropped-cropped-feet1.pngI hope you found this information helpful and as always don’t hesitate to contact me on the WonderBaba Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/wonderbabacare) with any questions or for one to one advice for your little one! You can also consult with me in person at Milltown totalhealth Pharmacy in Dublin 6 or over the phone on 012600262.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Leave a comment

A WonderBaba Guide to Exercising during Pregnancy!

yoga pregnancyProtecting your very precious cargo is your priority when pregnant, but does this mean you need to reduce or stop exercising like many people think? Absolutely not is the answer! In fact, so long as you are exercising caution and good common sense, as well as your body, you will actually increase your own health and that of your unborn baby too!

When you find out you are expecting it’s a good idea to discuss your exercising habits with your GP.  The doctor will advise you what is clinically safe for you as an individual to continue with or to start but here I will give some general guidelines so you have a rough idea of what you can expect! Continue reading


Leave a comment

Vitamin and Supplement Series – Vitamin C

Vitamin C is also known as ascorbic acid.  It is a water-soluble vitamin which means it is easily absorbed from food and any extra that your body does not need is excreted.  It is important to make sure your child has a balanced healthy diet as Vitamin C cannot be made by our bodies and so we rely completely on good nutritious food for its supply!

So why do we need it?

Vitamin C promotes good wound healing, acts as an antioxidant, supports a health immune system, helps iron absorption and can help reduce tiredness and weakness. As if that isn’t enough its role in collagen formation means it also helps to maintain blood vessels, bones and cartilage – Vitamin C is a busy vitamin!! Continue reading


Leave a comment

Vitamin and Supplement Series – Vitamin A

What is it?

Vitamin A is a busy vitamin – it helps your childs immune system to work effectively, it promotes good vision in dark or dim light, supports bone growth and it keeps their skin healthy!

There are two sources of vitamin A – some plants and food from animals. Continue reading


Leave a comment

WonderBaba – The Ultimate Guide to Children’s Multivitamins!

Prescription-ConfusionWe always get advertising material into the Pharmacy from all of the different multivitamin brands making great claims about the benefits of their own products.  Even Pharmacists and Pharmacy staff can find it overwhelming trying to decipher what the actual vitamin content is and determine the benefits and downfalls of one product in comparison to another.  The vitamin market is a particularly busy one!  There are so many different products and all have strengths and weaknesses so I have done my best to select the 14 most popular children’s multivitamins and I have literally laid them side by side so we can explore which product meets your individual child’s needs. Continue reading


Leave a comment

Is there a right time to start potty training?

PLPOTTYPODgreyMilltownThe’right’ time for potty training is a topic of great debate! In America potty tends to happen before the age of two but in Ireland it’s much more likely to be over two or even approaching three! The right time is when your child is showing signs of readiness and most importantly you have the available necessary time to support your child through this large transition to avoid it becoming a negatively fuelled battle. There are certain pressures from society now which do encourage parents to take the task in hand a little earlier such as requirements by Montessori schools etc which now start earlier for many children with the introduction of a second free Pre ECCE year. This has changed the starting age for Montessori of many children to three rather than four.  Many montessoris have a requirement for children to be fully toilet trained before starting which would mean you would need to make a start on it at about two and a half years of age.

How do you know if they’re ready (are there signs to look out for)?

toilet-clip-art1-1-copyThere are many signs of readiness, these include: Continue reading


Leave a comment

Hyperemesis Gravidarum – support is here – Hyperemesis Ireland!

Hyperemesis is a crippling sickness of severe nausea and vomiting which effects less than 1% of pregnant women.  It is different to regular ‘morning sickness’ which affects a large proportion of pregnant women and usually clears up around the 16 week mark.  Hyperemesis is a serious condition which can lead to severe dehydration if not treated.  To understand the condition more and how it differs from regular morning sickness I’d like to ask you to read the following blog of a mum who suffered from the illness first hand as I personally was lucky enough to escape with the regular nausea that early pregnancy brings.

dripI have never read a blog that reflects the cruelty of the impact that this illness can have over a woman whilst she’s ‘glowing’ during her pregnancy. This blog is written by an old friend of mine and is well worth a read! http://www.wonkyeye.ie/wonky-eye-blogger/cgispm3anygqg3j5s5nwku8ahzimmv2017814

Hyperemesis Ireland is a new support network for expectant mums who are in need of guidance and care – as a healthcare professional and as a woman I am so glad that this service is now available in Ireland!
#hyperemesisgravidarum #youarenotalone

websitefeetlogoI hope you found this information helpful and as always don’t hesitate to contact me on the WonderBaba Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/wonderbabacare) with any questions or for one to one advice for your little one! You can also consult with me in person at Milltown totalhealth Pharmacy in Dublin 6 or over the phone on 012600262.


Leave a comment

WonderBaba Guide – Suppositories versus Oral Medicine?

Well this is an interesting one as there are a few different factors which need to be considered.  For the purposes of this article I am speaking about the use of suppositories to treat fever and pain, and not referring to their use in constipation.  For more information on constipation and how it can be treated effectively click here.

Untitled design (17)The first thing I have to say is that suppositories are not as scary as some people think, they are just cone-shaped boluses of medicine which can be easily given to your child to treat pain of fever when a liquid is not suitable.  Suppositories available to treat fever and pain include ones based on paracetamol such as Paralink and Tipol, and ones based on ibuprofen such as nurofen.  These are both suitable from three months of age – just make sure to read the packaging to get the correct dosing for your child.

Before I go into the detail of how you actually use suppositories I’m going to get straight to the point and tell you when you SHOULD  use suppositories.

  • Use them if your child has a high fever or is in pain and will not or cannot take oral medication.
  • Use them to treat fever or pain when your child has vomiting.
  • My mummy perspective suggests using them when you are travelling to avoid having to carry lots of liquids.. I suggest this only for young children who are quite happy to use a suppository over oral meds.

What are the pros and cons?

question markUsing suppositories is more invasive than using oral medicine so a correct approach and a respect for your child’s comfort is essential.  I will explain in the next section how to use them but now I just want to emphasise that when used properly with a willing child they are so simple, easy and convenient to use.  I personally feel that a child who is still in nappies is an ideal candidate for this method of giving medicine – they are used to you cleaning and touching their nappy area and so will not be distressed when you insert the suppository – in fact many children will not even notice!! I also think it is a different situation when a child is out of nappies and unless you have the child’s permission and general understanding of what is going to happen I think the oral route of medicine is best when possible.  Another factor to consider is that suppositories have been proven effective for the treatment of pain or fever but they may actually take a little longer to take effect than oral medicine.

When faced with a vomiting child with a high temperature that needs to come down, or a child with a jaw so tightly clenched and unwilling to take oral medicine it is definitely a good idea to have suppositories on stand by.

So how to you use them?

For this bit I’m going to cheat and provide you with a perfect explanation from the Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital in London:

“Remember – suppositories should never be swallowed.

  • Sit your child on the toilet to see if they need a poo.
  • Wash your hands.
  • Warm the suppository in your hands for a minute.
  • Remove the foil or plastic wrapping.
  • Get your child into any of these positions to give the suppository:
    • squatting down
    • lying on one side with one leg straight and the other bent
    • standing up with one leg raised
  • Gently but firmly push the suppository into your child’s bottom as instructed.
  • Push it in far enough that it does not slip out again.
  • Ask your child to close their legs and hold your child’s buttocks together for a few minutes.
  • Wash your hands again.

If your child needs a second suppository, wait until the first has dissolved before inserting the second.”

I will add that for younger children such as babies in nappies I would advise that you place them on their backs and proceed to change their nappy – when you have the dirty nappy off and area wiped clean I would hold their legs back gently towards them with their knees bent and insert the suppository then and continue with the nappy change as normal.

cropped-websitefeetlogo.pngSome Useful Hints

  • If the suppository is warm before you open it you can run the wrapper under a cold tap or place it in a fridge for a few minutes to cool it as it can not be inserted when melted.
  • Being calm and confident will help your child to feel calm and confident in your actions.
  • If your child will take oral medicine and finds the use of suppositories distressing then do not persist – just offer oral medicine when necessary.
  • If you would like some tips on how to give your child oral medication then just click here!
  • Having a book ready so that you can scoop your child into your arms and settle them on your knee to read a story which will help them sit still to allow the suppository to absorb.
  • You should always consider the psychological welfare of your child and explain everything that you are doing – I even do it with babies even though they may have no idea what I’m talking about so that they get used to you respecting their personal space from an early age.
  • Sometimes the advice I have to give can make the process sound scarier than it really is – I assure you – babies in nappies most often are quite happy for you to administer a suppository and it can be such a great means to reduce a temperature that you may otherwise struggle to.

 

doctor-logo-red-white-mdWho should not use suppositories?

  • Children who have had bowel surgery unless prescribed by a doctor
  • Children who have an oncological condition or are otherwise immunocompromised.
  • Children who have irritable bowel disease.

 

websitefeetlogoI hope you found this information helpful and as always don’t hesitate to contact me on the WonderBaba Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/wonderbabacare) with any questions or for one to one advice for your little one! You can also consult with me in person at Milltown totalhealth Pharmacy in Dublin 6 or over the phone on 012600262.

 

References: