Bend Pediatrician: Q & A with Dr. Booker
You asked. Local Bend pediatrician Brooks Booker, Bend Memorial Pediatrics, answers!
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Dear Dr. Booker: My 5-year-old son is obsessed with ninjas. At first, I was okay with it, but it’s taken over all conversations and play time and I don’t like the constant aggression and focus on good guys and bad guys. I rarely let him watch the shows but his school mates want to play ninja games and he has been given a ridiculous amount of ninja related toys. Is this an age-appropriate hobby? If not, how can I go back or at least tone it down at this point?
Dr. Booker: A 5-year-old boy wanting to be a ninja is totally age-appropriate behavior. Children at that age are very concrete. They like good and bad, right and wrong, black and white, so they’re drawn to imaginative play of this nature. That’s one of the main reasons that little kids play army, pirates, Star Wars, etc. The aggression is where you may run into some problems, but that can usually be remedied by limit setting and firm correction when he steps over the line. For example, “It’s ok to play ninjas outside with your friend Jenny, but only with your Nerf swords, no sticks.” Or, “You can’t play ninja with your brother. He’s a baby and he could get hurt.” Also control the things you can, but accept what you can’t. I’m with you on limiting the shows, especially if they cause him to get a little worked up. However, he’s still going to get exposure through his friends talking about it and playing at recess.
Dear Dr. Booker: My child has seasonal allergies that get worse in the spring and occasionally we have to give him Benadryl when he has a bad outbreak. Initially, he is very sleepy, but later in the day, he seems like he is wired. Is there a correlation? Is this a safe and effective way of dealing on occasion?
Dr. Booker: Seasonal allergies are no fun. You get a stuffy, runny nose, headaches, itchy, watery eyes, and they make you feel like you’re in a fog. There are a number of over the counter
medications that can help you with these symptoms. Benadryl is one of them, but as you noticed, it can definitely make you sleepy. Some kids then bounce back a little wired and some
even get a reverse reaction and are wacky right away. Zyrtec, Claritin, and Allegra generally are less sedating and all three are available in pediatric doses down to two years old. Some people still report a small amount of sedation with these (especially Zyrtec), but nowhere near as much as Benadryl. These also have the benefit of lasting significantly longer than Benadryl.
Now, if your child is having the itchy, watery, burning eyes that some people get with seasonal allergies, you may want ,to try some eye drops. Some people just need relief of the
dryness, so a simple saline drop can help them. Others need stronger relief, so I usually recommend Zaditor or Alaway. Both of these work well and have the same active ingredient, so I would just choose whichever one is cheaper.
Dear Dr. Booker: My teenage son’s feet smell horrible. I constantly remind him to wash them, but as much as he does, they still have an off putting stench about them. Help!
Dr. Booker: Teenage boys are dirty, stinky creatures by nature, so you may be out of luck. However, there are a few things to do. The feet have a tremendous number of sweat glands. The damp and dark environment inside his shoes creates the perfect environment for microorganisms to thrive. So besides making sure he’s washing his feet frequently, you should also make sure he’s wearing thick, natural fiber socks that can help absorb the sweat. Wearing a different pair of shoes everyday will allow them to dry out completely before he wears them again. In addition, check the bottoms of his feet for dry, slightly red, peeling areas. This may be especially prominent between the toes. If he has this rash, and it’s very itchy, he likely has Athlete’s Foot. You can find a number of creams, sprays, and powders over the counter that can help get rid of this condition. If those don’t work, come see your pediatrician and we can check him out further.