At long last spring is finally here gingivitis

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					 Vol. 22#1 • Spring 2010 •                                            For all people interested in the health of preschoolers

At long last spring is finally here!
With warmer temperatures and bright sunny
skies, it is hard to sit still. Use the energizing
effects of nature to get active. Have fun with
the children. Be playful. The positive feeling
you get with having fun and moving, pays off
in your own health. It is called, “active living.”
Active living is for you and for every one. It
means doing all the activities you find useful,
pleasurable and satisfying.

Have a safe fun-filled spring!

  Inside this Issue
  Shingles ...................................................... 2
  Pertussis (Whooping Cough) .......................... 3
  Gingivitis. What is That? ............................... 4
  Interests + Opportunities =
  Fun & Learning (BOOKS) ................................ 5
  Celebrate Food ............................................. 6             Contact is a publication of Public Health – Edmonton Zone, Alberta Health
                                                                             Services. Information in this newsletter can be freely reproduced for
  Toy Safety ................................................... 7           educational non-profit purposes by any childcare centre in the Edmonton
  Cleaning and Disinfecting Toys ....................... 7                   area.
  Sleep: Time Well Spent .................................. 8                Contact is edited by Pam Todd. Phone: 780-408-5912 · Fax: 780-408-5895

  ARCQE Re-vamps Website .............................. 8                    The information provided in this resource is not to be used for consultation
                                                                             during an emergency, to make or confirm a diagnosis or to treat people, as
  Modeling to Improve Speech & Language Skills . 9                           a substitute for obtaining medical advice or for seeking treatment from a
  Take Care of Your Voice ............................... 10                 qualified doctor.

                   Letters to and from the Health Centre

Dear Health Centre,
One of the children in our preschool was diagnosed with
shingles. Isn’t that a disease of old people?

Dear Brenda,                                               •	 Individuals	who	are	not-immune	to	chickenpox	and	
Shingles has no preference for age. Fifteen to twenty         are in direct contact with the fluid from skin lesions
percent of people who had chickenpox disease will             or by respiratory droplets may develop chickenpox.
develop shingles later in their lives. Shingles begins     •	 Individuals	 with	 shingles	 regardless	 of	 age,	 do	 not	
when the virus that caused chickenpox disease becomes         need to be excluded from the childcare centre as long
active again.                                                 as the lesions can be covered. If the lesions can not
•	 The	initial	symptom	is	mild	to	severe	pain	caused	by	      be covered, exclude the individual until the lesions
   acute nerve irritation. Within a few days, swelling        have crusted over.
   and redness of the skin appears along with groups       •	 Shingles	is	a	notifiable*	disease.	The	communicable	
   of fluid-filled blistered bumps (lesions).                 disease nurse specialist at your public health centre
•	 Shingles	is	communicable	for	about	one	week	after	         needs to know:
   the appearance of lesions. It is much less contagious      ° Name of the individual
   than chickenpox. Shingles is not directly transmitted      ° History of past chickenpox disease
                                                           *Notifiable	 disease.	 The	 Public	 Health	 Act	 compels	
                                                           community health nurses to investigate and follow-up
                                                           highly infectious and/or potentially serious diseases
                                                           (notifiable) including shingles in order to protect the
                                                           health of Albertans. Call your Public Health Centre to
                                                           report cases of shingles.

                                         Communicable Disease

Pertussis (Whooping Cough)
Pertussis is a disease that can be very severe in infants
and young children but can be prevented by timely and
complete vaccination. Pertussis is caused by bacteria.

Symptoms of Pertussis                                       Treatment
The disease usually begins with a runny nose and cough      Pertussis is treated with an antibiotic prescribed by a
in the first couple of weeks. Then, the coughing becomes    doctor. Treatment helps prevent the spread of infection
more and more frequent and severe. Cough can last one       to others and may speed the child’s recovery.
to two months. The disease is called whooping cough
because after each attack of coughing, a loud whoop may     If you suspect Pertussis in your centre
be heard as the child takes in a breath. In some young      •	 Notify	the	Community	Health	Nurse	at	the	local	Health	
infants, the whoop may be absent.                              Centre in your community as soon as possible. The
                                                               nurse will verify the diagnosis.
During the coughing spells, the child may get blue in the   •	 If	the	diagnosis	is	confirmed,	the	Community	Health	
face, be unable to breath and may even vomit afterward.        Nurse, under direction from the Medical Officer of
Children with whooping cough are sick for a long time,         Health, will advise you on the management and
usually for six to ten weeks. The disease is most severe       notification of exposed children and staff.
in infants less than one year of age. Many infants become   •	 The	 Medical	 Officer	 of	 Health	 will	 advise	 the	
so ill that they will need to be hospitalized.                 Community Health Nurse if the infected individual
                                                               is to be excluded from your center. If Public Health
Spread of Disease                                              recommends that the individual stay home, then they
Pertussis spreads very easily from person to person in         must not attend childcare for at least five days after
households and child care centres. Germs are spread by         starting antibiotic treatment. If no treatment is given,
direct contact with droplets from the nose and throat and      the child must be excluded for three weeks.
by touch. Germs can be spread by the infected person
from the time the symptoms start or for three weeks from    Outbreak Management
the start of the coughing spells or until the coughing      •	 Call	the	Public	Health	Division,	Outbreak	Notification,	
stops. Six to twenty-one days after contact with a sick        (780-342-0218), whenever two or more children have
person, someone else may develop the disease.                  similar rash and/or new illness symptoms within 48
                                                               hours of each other.
Pertussis (P) can be prevented by vaccination with a
vaccine which also prevents diphtheria (D) and tetanus
(T). The vaccine prevents disease in most children
who have had three or more doses. Those who get the
disease despite receiving the vaccine will likely have
much milder symptoms than those who were never
vaccinated. Outbreaks of pertussis may occur in child
care centres, especially if immunization of the children
is not adequate.

                      Dental Health

Gingivitis … What’s That?
Are you confused by some of the words that are used            •	   Periodontal (Gum) Disease.         This is a group of
to describe the condition of your teeth and mouth? In               diseases affecting the gums, bones and ligaments
the advertising and sale of oral health products to the             that hold the teeth into the jaw. Plaque, bacteria and
consumer, words and descriptions may be used that may               tartar are the main causes of these diseases. Smoking
be unclear. Here are some explanations of the words                 doubles the risk of this disease. Gum disease will have
that you may read or hear in connection with dental                 an impact on your overall health.
                                                               •	   Molars, incisors, canine and wisdom teeth. These
•	   Plaque. It is white, sticky and builds up on everyone’s        words are the “common names” for the different teeth
     teeth daily. It holds germs against the teeth and gums.        in the mouth.
     These germs are the ones that can cause cavities and
     gum disease. Plaque can harden into tartar if not         •	   Fluoride. Flourdie is a mineral that occurs naturally
     cleaned off the teeth regularly. The good news is              in water. It is added to drinking water, toothpaste
     that plaque comes off easily with daily brushing and           and mouth rinses. Fluoride helps harden the tooth
     flossing.                                                      enamel. It does not whiten or help clean the teeth.
                                                                    Fluoride reduces the risk of tooth decay especially
•	   Tartar (calculus). It is a rough and hard deposit on           for children.
     the teeth sort of like scale in the bottom of a kettle.
     It irritates the gums. Tartar cannot be removed easily    If you need to know more about oral health, products or
     and needs to be scrapped off by your dental hygienist     information, talk to your dental health professional.
     or dentist.
                                                               Pam St.Onge
•	   Gingivitis.  This is an infection of the gums where       Registered Dental Hygienist
     they attach to the teeth. It is the beginning of gum      Alberta Health Services
     disease. There usually is no pain but your gums may be
     puffy and bleed easily. In the early stages, gingivitis
     is reversible and is easy to prevent.

                                                            Nature of Children

Interests and Opportunities
Equals Fun and Learning.
Let’s Look at Books!
What is the child’s interest? My child likes books!
What opportunities can support this interest?
What can we do with books that will be fun and
promote learning?

What does a child learn from books?
Books can be a sensory experience. Allow your child to            •	 Record	your	voice	reading	a	story.	Play	the	recording	for	
explore books in many different ways. Your child can                 your child at a time when you can not be there to read
look at and examine books, read them, chew on them,                  the story yourself. During a car ride is a good opportunity
play with them, touch them, smell them and listen to                 to try this.
them.                                                             •	 Make	a	book	out	of	a	photo	album.	Fill	the	album	with	
•	 If	 your	 child	 is	 into	 “ripping”	 pages,	 provide	 your	      pictures of favorite things, toys, objects and people. Print
   child with magazines, flyers and board books.                     a word under each picture. Magazines and flyers are a
•	 If	 your	 child	 is	 into	 “sucking	 or	 chewing”	 books,	        good place to find pictures.
   provide your child with board books or plastic bathtub         •	 Stack	board	books	to	make	towers	or	open	them	up	to	
   books.                                                            make a tent. Use them as play objects.
•	 When	 reading	 a	 book,	 replace	 a	 name	 in	 the	 book	      •	 Read	a	book	using	a	puppet.	Pretend	the	puppet	is	reading	
   with your child’s name.                                           the book.
                                                                  •	 Find	 books	 that	 are	 also	 songs	 and	 sing	 the	 book.	 For	
Your child learns from playing with books in many                    example, Wheels on the Bus™ or the Itsy Bitsy Spider™.
different ways. Allow books to be all over your house or          •	 Have	books	with	only	pictures	and	make	up	your	own	
childcare centre. A low shelf where children can reach               stories to go along with the pictures.
the books independently is a great idea.                          •	 Make	a	book	with	lift-up	flaps	so	that	some	pictures	have	
                                                                     a hidden surprise. Sticky note paper works really well for
Do not worry if your child does not want to read a book              this project.
from start to finish. Follow your child’s lead. Play with         •	 Picture	dictionaries	can	have	pictures	or	scenes.	They	can	
the book in the way that the child is interested in                  help children start telling you a story.
playing with it.
                                                                  Do Not Miss a Local Opportunity
How Can I Expand My                                               Take your child to the library. Children get free library cards.
Child’s Interest in Books?                                        Let your child lead when they read. Your child may not
•	 Provide	a	variety	of	books.	Board	books,	texture	books,	       “read” in the way or order you that you would like but they
   books that make sounds, books with only pictures,              will learn best if they “read” in their own way.
   small chunky books or big books.
•	 Pair	objects/toys	with	the	pictures	in	a	storybook.	           Nathalie Maurice Burgess,
   For example, pair books about animals with plastic             Early Intervention Program, Edmonton Area
   or stuffed animals to match the story.

Celebrate Food…from Field to Table!
Registered Dietitians/Nutritionists from
Alberta Health Services encourage you to                                 Every March is
join in by planning healthy meals using                                 Nutrition Month!
local foods, planting your own indoor                                 This year, Dietitians of
or outdoor garden, purchasing healthy                               Canada invite Canadians to
foods that are grown in Canada, and                                    “Celebrate food…
preparing and enjoying meals with vegetables                          from field to table!”
and fruits every day.

Planning Menus
Making and using weekly menus at your childcare
facility can make eating well easy and it helps save
time and money. Meal planning sounds like a time
consuming task but it can take as little as ten minutes           Shop Canadian
each week. Here are some easy tips:                               If you aren’t growing your own foods, choose great
                                                                  Canadian foods at the grocery store! Support our economy
•	 Follow	 Canada’s	 Food	 Guide	 to	 include	 all	 four	 food	   and enjoy a variety of Canada’s delicious vegetables and
   groups. Vegetables and Fruit; Grain Products; Milk and         fruits, grains, and milk and meat products. Foods that are
   Alternatives; and Meats and Alternatives.                      grown or made in Canada will have “Product of Canada”
•	 Have	three	meals	and	two	or	three	snacks	each	day.             written on the label.
   ° Enjoy three to four food groups with each meal.
   ° Each snack should have two to three of the food              Local Opportunities
      groups.                                                     Every day, include vegetables and fruits from your local
•	 Choose	high-fiber	foods	often,	including	vegetables	and	       grocery store, farmer’s market or garden in all of your
   fruits and whole grains.                                       menu’s meals and snacks. You can enjoy your fresh
•	 Limit	foods	that	are	high	in	fat,	sugar	and	sodium	(salt).     produce throughout the year if you store them frozen,
•	 Make	a	grocery	list	based	on	your	menu	and	stick	to	it.        canned or dried. When produce grown close to home is
•	 Save	your	menus	in	a	binder	so	that	you	can	reuse	them	        not an option, imported vegetables and fruits can be
   later.                                                         used to increase the variety in our diets.

Have Fun Gardening with Preschoolers                              Get to know your food… from field to table. Learn
Plant a garden, small or large, and include the grown             about where our food comes from, and teach preschoolers
foods in your weekly menu. You don’t need a lot of space.         about it. Celebrate food together, and start eating for a
A few pots on a windowsill at your childcare centre will do.      healthier you!
You can also join a local community or school garden to
grow fresh and tasty foods while meeting your neighbors.          More information    on menu planning with helpful
Contact your local garden centre, borrow a book from the          guides, lists and menus is in your centre’s Healthy
library or visit a gardening web site for tips.                   Children in Preschool Settings handbook. All childcare
                                                                  Centres should have a copy.

                                                                  Registered Dietitians/Nutritionists
                                                                  from Alberta Health Services
                                                                Injury Prevention

Toy Safety
Toys provide opportunities for children to use their
imagination, develop motor skills and to learn how to
share with others. It is important that the toys we provide
the children to play with are not a cause of injury. Here
are some tips to keep your kids safe at play.

Tips for caregivers to
prevent toy-related injuries
•	 Follow	the	manufacturer’s	age	recommendations	and	
   instructions that come with the toy.
•	 Ensure	the	toy	and	the	age	of	the	child	is	a	good	“fit.”	
   Children should not use toys not recommended for their         Cleaning and Disinfecting
   age group as there may be safety considerations.               Recommendations for cleaning toys are included
•	 Keep	toys	with	small	parts	away	from	children	younger	         in the Child Care Facility Environmental Public
   than age three or from children are who still putting          Health Information Manual (Alberta Health Services,
   things in their mouths.                                        Edmonton Zone, January 2009). Your child care centre
•	 Remind	older	children	to	keep	small	toy	parts	away	            has a copy. For more information check your manual.
   from younger children.                                         Call 780-427-3429 to get a copy.
•	 Children	using	ride-on	toys	need	to	stay	safely	away	
   from stairs, porches, and driveways and vehicles.              •	 Wash	stuffed	toys	at	least	once	a	week.
•	 Throw	away	any	toys	with	sharp,	jagged	edges.	                 •	 Clean	 and	 disinfect	 toys	 (other	 than	 stuffed	
•	 Examine	 all	 new	 toys.	 All	 stringed	 toys	 must	 have	        toys) using a diluted household chlorine bleach
   strings no longer than twelve inches. Cut strings to              solution (100 parts-per-million) or other appropriate
   shorten before the child plays with the new toy.                  disinfectant. See “disinfectants (for surfaces)”
•	 Avoid	toys	that	shoot	small	objects.	They	could	cause	            section.
   eye injuries.                                                     ° Clean toys when dirty.
•	 Keep	latex	balloons	away	from	small	children	as	they	             ° Clean toys everyday if used by children who wear
   can choke on deflated balloons and balloon pieces.                   diapers.
   Many children are becoming latex-sensitive, avoiding              ° Clean toys weekly, if used by children who do not
   balloons may be best.                                                wear diapers.
•	 Keep	 a	 watchful	 eye	 on	 children	 while	 they	 play	
   with battery-operated toys. Many batteries are small           Lacey Hoyland
   enough to be swallowed which can cause choking or              Injury Prevention Consultant
   internal burns.                                                Alberta Health Services, Edmonton
•	 If	 purchasing	 second	 hand	 toys,	 inspect	 them	 for	
   damage or missing parts. Ensure the toy is age                 Your best on-line source of safety
   appropriate for the child.                                     information,

                     For Parents, Staff & Directors

Sleep: Time Well Spent
Skipping sleep to get more work done may not be saving
you any time. A lack of sleep can affect your health. Sleep
helps your body repair itself. It allows your mind the time
to absorb the day’s learning. When we deprive ourselves
of sleep, we will notice the effects both mentally and

Short-term effects can include difficulty concentrating,
making careless mistakes and increased levels of stress.          Tips for Restful Sleep
These effects can affect our relationships, our performance       •	 Develop	a	relaxing	sleep	ritual	that	could	include	
at work or school and our ability to enjoy life. The risk            a warm bath, soothing music or reading.
of injury and accidents at work or on the road also               •	 Avoid	 caffeinated	 drinks	 in	 the	 late	 afternoon	
increases.                                                           and evening.
                                                                  •	 Avoid	 alcohol	 and	 nicotine	 in	 the	 evening.	
If sleep deprivation persists,     effects can be life-              Both are stimulants.
threatening and include obesity, diabetes, heart attack           •	 Make	your	room	sleep-friendly.	It	should	be	cool,	
or stroke. After less than one week of sleep deprivation,            dark and quiet.
memory and hormonal functions will be affected.                   •	 Exercise	regularly.
                                                                  •	 Do	not	feel	guilty	about	going	to	bed.	Sleep	is	a	
Recognizing the early signs of sleep deprivation and                 necessity not a luxury.
increasing the amount of sleep you are getting, can prevent       •	 Take	the	TV	and	other	media	devices	out	of	the	
or reverse the damage. In general, most adults need                  bedroom.
about seven hours of sleep per night. It is important to
find out how much sleep you need to stay healthy and              These strategies work for children too!
alert. You can do this by setting a regular bedtime routine
and following it for a week. If you feel tired, adjust your
bedtime accordingly until you feel rested and alert.    

ARCQE Re-vamps Website
ARCQE (Alberta Resource Centre for Quality Enhancement)         up for ARCQE’s newsletter. In addition to the newsletter,
is an agency dedicated to providing technical assistance        you will receive ARCQE News feed alerts each time new
to the Early Learning and Care Service sector through           information is posted to the site.
provision of supporting quality and building capacity to
those it serves. As a provincial organization, ARCQE is         Special new highlights featured on the new
unique in designing support and resources specific to the       site include:
needs of the Alberta child care community.                      •	 Meet	our	Board,	ARCQE	Newsletter,	ARCQE	news	alerts,	
                                                                interactive program photo gallery (A window to other
Visit ARCQE,, to read up on new information        programs.), new workshops, new services, new regional
and services available on-line. ARCQE invites readers to sign   activity partnerships and initiatives and much more.

                                          Speech and Language

Modeling to Improve Speech and Language Skills
Did you know that modeling is one of the best ways to      Did you Know…?
help a child improve their speech and language skills?     A child is more likely to try to say things correctly when
                                                           he has a good model.
What is modeling?
                                                           How Can I Model?
Modeling is either…                                        Here are some examples of what modeling can look like:
•	 Saying	something	that	a	child	does	not	usually	say	     •	 When	a	child	asks	for	water	by	just	pointing	to	it,	give	
   so that they learn a new sound, word or idea.              him a correct model by saying “water?”
•	 Repeating	what	a	child	says	when	they	say	something	    •	 When	 a	 child	 says	 something	 such	 as	 “uh”	 when	 he	
   incorrectly but saying it correctly. AND not telling       wants you to pick him up, pick him up and say, “Up.”
   the child that “they said it wrong”.                    •	 If	a	child	says	“Want	tootie,”	give	him	a	cookie	and	say,	
                                                              “Want cookie.”
Why is modeling important?                                 •	 If	a	child	says,	“him	ride	bike”	you	can	say,	“He	rides	
•	 Modeling	lets	you	teach	a	child	the	right	way	to	say	      the bike”.
   something without putting pressure on the child.
   (For example when we ask the child to “say ------”      For more information on modeling, contact a
   or “what’s this?”)                                      Speech-Language Pathologist at the Health Centre
•	 Modeling	is	a	nice	way	of	correcting	a	child	without	
                                                           nearest to you.
   saying that he or she is wrong.
                                                           Lisa Johnson
                                                           Preschool Speech-Language Pathologist
                                                           Alberta Health Services, Edmonton Zone

                     Care for the Caregiver

Take Care of Your Voice
We have two vocal cords in our voice box (larynx). When      •	   Talk in a quiet voice. Give it a name such as your
we talk, the vocal cords vibrate together. When we cry,           “soft voice” or your “easy voice” so everyone can
scream or make harsh noises, the cords can develop                easily remind you and others to use it.
swelling at the points where the vocal cords touch.          •	   Eliminate background noise. If the child needs to
                                                                  speak in an increasingly loud voice to be heard, turn
Over time, this swelling can become nodules (growths)             down the sound. Wait until the noise is over before
on the vocal cords. When the vocal cords are swollen or           you speak, position yourself as close as possible to
if nodules are forming, the voice can become hoarse and           the person you are talking with and if possible turn
breathy. If children are abusing their vocal cords, their         down the volume.
voice quality can become weaker and hoarse later in the      •	   Avoid harsh sound effects. Motor noises, animal
day. Adults who are used to talking in a loud voice for           growls and monster voices are hard on the voice
prolonged periods of time, may also suffer from vocal             especially for long periods of time.
nodules and a change in voice quality.                       •	   Do not talk to people who are far away. Get close.
                                                                  A good rule of thumb is you should be able to touch
If your child experiences a consistently hoarse voice, you        the person that you are talking to.
may want to talk with a speech and language pathologist      •	   Go ahead and sing. Singing is okay if it is not too
at your public health centre.                                     loud and you are not straining to hit the very high
                                                                  or very low notes.
Here is a list of suggestions for maintaining a              •	   A soft voice is better than a whisper. Whispering
healthy voice.                                                    can strain the vocal cords because of the energy it
•	   No yelling or screaming. Instead of yelling, think           takes to whisper loud enough to be heard.
     of another way to express anger, such as kicking a      •	   Avoid vocal irritants. Avoid caffeinated drinks or
     soccer ball or punching a pillow.                            foods, smoke, fumes and pollen. These substances can
     ° Adults can develop hand signals that the children          irritate the vocal cords. Stress and emotional extremes
        will recognize and respond to instead of shouting         may cause muscle tension in the neck, throat, chest,
        across a play ground.                                     face and jaw.
     ° Use non-vocal sounds such as whistling, clapping,     •	   Maintain body hydration. Drinking water throughout
        blowing a horn or foot stomping for cheering.             the day lubricates the vocal folds.

                                                             Your voice is your instrument, take care of it.


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