Fall Edition - October 2019
Keeping a Healthy Body and Mind During the Holidays
Over the next three months, the holiday season will be in full swing. Parents and kids alike enjoy decorating, gift-giving and get-togethers with family and friends and celebrating the family traditions that mean so much. While it is a happy time of year for most, it can mean extra demands of time and stress for parents and children. The Academy of Pediatrics offers the following holiday mental health tips to help families treasure the best of this holiday season:

  • During the busy holiday time, try to keep household routines the same. Stick to your child's usual sleep and mealtime schedules when you can, which may reduce stress.

  • Take care of yourself, both mentally and physically. Children and adolescents are affected by the emotional well-being of their parents and caregivers. Successfully coping with stress can help children learn how to cope with stress better, too.

  • Give to others by making it an annual holiday tradition to share your time and talents with people who have less than you do. For example, if your child is old enough, encourage him or her to join you in volunteering to serve a holiday meal at your local food bank or shelter.

  • Remember that many children and adults experience a sense of loss, sadness or isolation during the holidays. It is important to be sensitive to these feelings and ask for help for you, your children, family members or friends if needed. Florida KidCare covers mental health services for children. Parents can contact their child's health plan using the phone number on the back of their child's member ID card for more information about available providers.

Is Your Family Flu-Ready?

According the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), flu season peaks between December-February of every year, but cases of the flu come up as early as October! Every flu season is different and an annual flu vaccine for children six months or older is the best way to protect them from getting the flu. Parents should get one too! Flu vaccines have been shown to have many benefits, including reducing the risk of flu illnesses, hospitalizations and even the risk of flu-related death in children.

The flu is different from a cold. The flu usually comes on suddenly and with fever or feeling feverish/chills (not everyone with flu will have a fever), cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, and fatigue (tiredness).

It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies that protect against the flu to develop in the body, so the CDC recommends getting the flu vaccine by the end of October. Getting vaccinated later, however, can still be beneficial. Even once a child is vaccinated, it's important to maintain good hand-washing habits to prevent picking up germs from other family members or classmates who might be sick!

Flu vaccines are offered in many doctor's offices, clinics, health departments and pharmacies, etc. Starting now through January or even later, you can call your child's primary care physician to make an appointment for a flu shot or use the " Flu Vaccine Finder " to locate a flu clinic near you . V isit the CDC's website to learn more about the flu here .

Why should your child get the flu vaccine? Learn the facts in 15 seconds by watching this short video!
Florida KidCare 101

Did you know that Florida KidCare is designed specifically with kids in mind? We provide your child with access to the services they need at each stage of growth and development. Are you taking advantage of all of your child's benefits each year? If not, make your appointments today! Benefits include, but are not limited to:
 Start Your Child's Dental Care the Right Way
Brought to you by Argus

Baby teeth help your child speak, chew and smile. Start your child off to a healthy, happy smile by:

  • Wiping your newborn’s gums with moist gauze or a clean washcloth every day.

  • Brushing with a soft, child-sized toothbrush and tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste as soon as teeth start to come in for children under three years old.

  • Brushing your child’s teeth twice a day with a soft toothbrush and pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste until he/she can brush well without your supervision.

Permanent teeth have a greater chance of being healthy if baby teeth remain healthy. Baby teeth hold space in your child’s mouth until their permanent teeth come in. When baby teeth are lost too early, other teeth can start shifting and permanent teeth can become crowded.  

Baby teeth start to fall out when your child is about six years old to make way for the permanent teeth to come in. All permanent teeth won’t be in until they’re 17-25 years old, and they need to last a lifetime. 

The American Dental Association recommends that every child has their first dental visit when the first tooth appears or by their first birthday! Remember, you are the start of your child’s dental care and can set the stage for good oral health that will protect your child’s teeth for life.
Healthy Choices = Healthy You
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Eat Smart
Experts recommend a varied diet with lots of fruits and veggies. Aim for whole grains and lean proteins, and limit salt and sugar when you can. Need some ideas? Try these healthy swaps:

  • Instead of white pasta or white rice, try whole-wheat pasta or brown rice
  • Instead of sugary cereal, try oatmeal

  • Instead of regular yogurt, try low-fat yogurt
  • Instead of whole milk, try skim milk

Fruits and Vegetables:
  • Instead of canned fruit in syrup, try fresh fruit or canned fruit in water
  • Instead of regular canned vegetables, try fresh veggies or low-sodium canned vegetables
  • Instead of full-fat ground beef, try lean beef (90% or higher)
  • Instead of canned or fried meat, try grilled or baked chicken, fish or pork

Get Moving:
Eating healthy is a great start, but exercise is also important. Kids should get at least one hour a day of exercise. Check with your child's doctor before making changes to their diet or exercise program.

Protect Yourself and Your Child from
“Hepatitis A” Infection
Brought to you by Simply Healthcare

The liver is an important body part and should function correctly. The Hepatitis A germ makes the liver unhealthy. You can get the disease from a person who has the germ. The germ is found in feces and blood of a diseased person and it spreads through body contact or by eating and drinking infected food. Symptoms of the disease show up 2-7 weeks after infection and include yellow skin or eyes, fever, not wanting to eat, dark urine, light colored feces, upset stomach and feeling tired. A doctor can diagnose the disease by checking symptoms and by a blood test. No medicines can cure it once symptoms appear. People with symptoms should see the doctor right away.

Get Immunized
A single shot can help stop the disease. It should be given within 2 weeks of contact with the germ. Your child may be able to get a free or low-cost shot. Check with your child's health care provider for more information.

Wash hands
Good hand cleanliness stops the spread of the disease. You and your family should wash hands often with soap and warm running water for 20 seconds mainly after:
  • Using the toilet
  • touching people or public surfaces
  • changing diapers
  • before making or eating food

Common hand sanitizers DO NOT kill the Hepatitis A germ.

Asthma & Allergy Awareness
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Did you know more than 26 million people in the U.S. have asthma? CMS Plan wants to work with you to help you take control of your child’s asthma.

Asthma Control Tips

  • Know your child’s triggers
  1. Certain things can make asthma symptoms worse, such as exercise, dust and pollen
  • Know your child’s inhalers
  1. Use rescue inhalers, such as albuterol, only when your child is short of breath
  2. Use maintenance controller inhalers every day, even if your child is not having any symptoms

Talk to your child’s doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure how to use your child’s inhalers or if your child has any side effects.

Watch this video to learn about the dangers of teen vaping. For additional information, parents can visit the Tobacco Free Florida website at: tobaccofreeflorida.com
Eye Care
Brought to you by DentaQuest

Dr. John R. Davis, Clinical Vision Director, shares a few reminders on preventive habits your child can take to protect their eyes and maintain good vision for a lifetime.

UV Protection in Sunglasses and Eyeglasses
Do you know why ultraviolet (UV) protection in eyeglass lenses is so essential for maintaining healthy eyes? We already know that skin should be protected to prevent damage that might lead to cancer. Eyes, too, require protection to prevent UV-related damage. Look for sunglasses specifically designed for UV eye protection that are UV400 or higher which means they will block 99.9% of UV rays.

Eat Green, Leafy Vegetables and Foods Rich in Antioxidants
Yes, it’s true, vegetables do help your vision. Findings from the scientific study, “Age-Related Eye Disease,” strongly suggest that a diet rich in green, leafy vegetables like kale and spinach, and fruits containing antioxidants such as oranges, can help maintain eye health and even slow or prevent development of potentially blinding eye diseases.

Practice Good Visual Habits
In this day and age of constant exposure to smartphones and computers, an effective way to reduce eye fatigue is to look away from your screen for 20-30 seconds every 20 to 30 minutes. Some studies suggest this practice can help reduce your child’s likelihood of developing nearsightedness.

*John R. Davis is a Doctor of Optometry and serves as DentaQuest's Clinical Vision Director. He has more than 28 years of managed care program experience.
5 Tips for Buying Safe Toys
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It's magical when a child holds a treasured toy for the first time. That precious look in the child's eyes says it all. For grownups, that's the joy of giving toys for birthdays, holidays -- or just because. But while kids want fun stuff, they need safe playthings too. Thousands of toy-related injuries happen every year. So keep these safety tips in mind on your next trip down the toy aisle:

1. Read labels carefully. Labels on toy packages can help you decide if the toy is safe for a child's age and matches his or her interests and abilities. Make sure the label says the toy is nontoxic--meaning it doesn't contain materials that could poison a child.

2. Look for potential hazards. For instance, loud toys can harm a child's hearing. Strings or ribbons on stuffed animals can cause strangulation--remove them if the gift is for a young child. And small game pieces are OK for older kids, but they may choke a younger child if swallowed.

3. Think twice about flying toys. Toys that shoot things into the air can be a blast. But some parts may injure eyes or be choking hazards.

4. For young kids, avoid toys that need to be plugged in. Children under 10 are safer with battery-powered toys instead. Just remember to keep any button batteries--which might be swallowed -- away from younger siblings.

5. Hand them a helmet too. Buying a riding toy? Remember to include this safety gear for your skateboarding teen or tricycling tyke.

Celebrate Good Dental Hygiene Every Day!
Brought to you by MCNA Dental Plans

October is National Dental Hygiene Month when we promote healthy mouths through regular dental care and good habits at home. It’s also a time to thank our dental hygienists for the hard work they do to keep our teeth squeaky clean!
You and your child can celebrate good dental hygiene every day of the year by taking care of your teeth at home. Remember to brush for two minutes at least two times a day, and floss at least once a day.

MCNA’s own dental hygienists also offer these healthy tooth tips for you to follow:
  • If you can’t brush your teeth after a meal, rinse your mouth out with water. It helps to wash away sugar and acids from foods and protect your teeth.
  • Change your child’s toothbrush every 2-3 months. Choose a brush with soft bristles to keep from brushing too hard.
  • Use the right tool for the right job. Teeth are for chewing. Don’t use them to open things. This can cause chips and other severe damage to your teeth.
  • Let your child’s toothbrush air dry after each use. Avoid using a toothbrush cover, which makes it easier for bacteria to grow on the brush.
Ask your dental hygienist for more great tips at your child’s next regular dental checkup!
Florida Healthy Kids Plan Changes
-- Effective 1/1/2020 --

Parents of Florida Healthy Kids members should have started receiving information from Florida KidCare about upcoming health plan changes and new free benefits scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2020. For more information and frequently asked questions, members can visit healthykids.org.
Contact Florida KidCare
1-888-540-KIDS (5437)
Monday – Friday
7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. (ET)
FloridaKidCare.org | connect@healthykids.org
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