Health Notes

4 Ways to Keep Kids Calm in the Storm

by Dr. Elizabeth Walenz on September 9, 2014

We have had our share of big rains, big booms of thunder and flashes of lightning in Omaha the last few weeks. Thunder and lightning storms often occur between 3-9 p.m., which often coincides with bedtime.

Fears and anxiety related to storms are among the top 20 fears kids worry about.

A few weeks ago we had dark skies and a storm during the day. When I came home from seeing patients at our Methodist Physicians Clinic – Regency, there was a basement stairway full of toys, blankets and pillows. My daughter was concerned there was going to be a tornado and prepared the house by saving her most precious items. While I agreed, it is good to have a plan in place of what we should take if the sirens go off, every stuffed animal in the house may not make the cut.

September is National Preparedness Month, and FEMA has a nice website ( focused on discussing storms with your kids and creating a plan and a disaster preparedness kit.

What should you do if your child is anxious and the sirens begin to go off?

[click to continue…]


Vaping and the Dangers of E-Cigarettes

by Dr. Elizabeth Walenz on August 26, 2014

As a pediatrician, one of my jobs is to keep up to date on what is out there. What kinds of drugs or alcohol are being exposed to my young patients? What are kids experimenting with in the community?

Routinely in my middle school physicals, we address the pressures that can ensue in middle school.  Kids will be pressured to try marijuana, alcohol or tobacco.  Tobacco now is marketed in a trendier, “hip” form accessible to our teen population.  Electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes or e-cigs, are easily found at gas stations, vending machines and strip malls.

In 2012, 1.78 million U.S. students reported using an e-cigarette.  From 2011-2012, the percentage of students who have used or are currently using e-cigarettes jumped from 4.7 to 10 percent. To what can we attribute the rise in popularity and use? Advertising.

[click to continue…]


14 Tips to SolveYour Picky Eater Problems

Thumbnail image for 14 Tips to SolveYour Picky Eater Problems August 19, 2014

As parents we have all felt the “wrath” of a picky eater. I myself have spent many precious hours on busy evenings proudly preparing balanced, healthy and attractive meals for my family… only to hear the dreaded, “Yuck! I’m not going to eat that!” Or “That’s stinky.” It’s crushing to hear those words and listen […]

Read the full article →

Bedtime Stories Boost School Success

Thumbnail image for Bedtime Stories Boost School Success August 12, 2014

It’s August and time to return to school. Are your kids ready? A new policy statement issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics is aimed at making sure kids are ready for school when the first kindergarten bell rings. It promotes the importance of reading in childhood from infancy onward as an important factor in […]

Read the full article →

Packing School Lunch Success

Thumbnail image for Packing School Lunch Success August 5, 2014

Last year this time I was getting ready for my oldest son to go to kindergarten. I was so excited about buying school supplies and packing his backpack and lunch box. Boy, did I have grand plans of sandwiches cut into cute shapes and packing edemame and fruit kabobs. I was surprised and a little […]

Read the full article →

Are Your Kids Safe Online? It’s Up to You…

Thumbnail image for Are Your Kids Safe Online? It’s Up to You… July 22, 2014

This year with my junior high and high school physicals, I have some new questions in my arsenal for my preteens and teens. Are you on social media? What are you posting? To parents, do you monitor your child online? This past week, we had a great “Lunch and Learn” with one of the psychologists […]

Read the full article →

When Summer Brings the Heat, Bring the H2O

Thumbnail image for When Summer Brings the Heat, Bring the H2O July 14, 2014

Hydration is a serious issue to consider during these hot summer months. Many children don’t like to drink water and don’t always drink enough fluids when they are thirsty or playing outside. Children’s bodies also do not adapt to hot temperatures as well as adult bodies do which makes keeping their bodies adequately hydrated that much more […]

Read the full article →

Teaching the Two-Wheeled Rules of the Road

Thumbnail image for Teaching the Two-Wheeled Rules of the Road July 8, 2014

Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of riding a bike. Pushing the pedals… breeze in your face… the ground moving quickly beneath your wheels. There is nothing like riding a bike. As a parent, teaching your child to ride a bike truly is a proud moment. You run with them down the street as they […]

Read the full article →

Healthy and Festive Fourth of July Food Fun

July 1, 2014
Thumbnail image for Healthy and Festive Fourth of July Food Fun

Fireworks, fireflies, food and fun, the Fourth of July is a festive day for families! Along with the traditional hot dogs, burgers and corn on the cob, here are some additional ideas for kid-approved snacks, side dishes and suggestions for a nutritious day. The kids will no doubt be awake by 7 a.m., wanting to […]

Read the full article →

To Keep Kids Safe, ASK

Thumbnail image for To Keep Kids Safe, ASK June 21, 2014

It can be an uncomfortable question, but it is an important one for all parents to ASK. ASK stands for Asking Saves Kids. ASK Day is June 21. Nearly 1.7 million children live in a home with a loaded, unlocked gun. Nine children and teens are shot each day in gun accidents. Nearly 90 percent […]

Read the full article →