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Health Bulletin Winter 2012

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders
Did you know that if you drink alcohol when you are pregnant, you can hurt your unborn baby?
If you drink while you are pregnant, you can hurt your baby’s brain, heart, kidneys, and other organs. Your baby could be born with a problem called fetal alcohol spectrum disorder or FASDs.

What are fetal alcohol spectrum disorders?

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) is the name given to a group of conditions that a person can have if his or her mother drank alcohol while she was pregnant.

What causes FASDs and how can they be prevented?

FASDs are caused by drinking alcohol while pregnant. All alcoholic drinks can hurt an unborn baby. To prevent FASDs, a woman should not drink ANY alcohol while she is pregnant.

What are some signs of FASDs? Physicial signs:
  • Small eye openings
  • Smooth philtrum (the space between the upper lip and nose)
  • Thin upper lip
  • Small size head
  • Short stature
  • Low body weight
  • Problems with the heart, kidneys, bones, or hearing
Intellectual and behavioral signs:
  • Problems with:
    • Memory, judgment or impulse control, motor skills (walking, running), school (especially in math) and paying attention.
    • Low IQ
What can I do if I think my child has an FASD?

If you or the doctor thinks there could be a problem, ask to see a specialist who knows about FASDs.

To learn more about FASDs, go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

To find resources about what to do if you are having trouble stopping drinking, contact the Office of Addiction Services at 215-685-5403 or visit their website.
To help your child reach his or her full potential, it is very important to get help for FASDs as early as possible!
Flu Season is Here!

Here is how you can protect yourself and your loved ones from getting the flu:

  1. Take time to get the flu shot. For information on flu clinics, call the Flu Hotline at (215) 685-6458.
  2. Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer.
  3. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then throw the tissue away.
  4. Don't touch your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
  5. Avoid being around sick people.
  6. If you are sick, limit your time with other people and stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone. Your fever should be gone without using a fever-reducing medicine, like Tylenol. You do not want to get them sick!
Learn more

Talking about Sex with Our Kids
Philadelphia has some of the highest rates of STDs in the country, and teenagers are affected the most.
1 out of 3 kids in Philadelphia will get an STD during their teen years. Talk to your kids about safer sex, your kids want to hear from you!

Talking to your teenagers about sex can be hard, but they need to hear from you. Here are some tips: Relax and take a deep breath. Don't get angry and don’t give up. You may save your child from dying from a serious disease.

Start early. Don't wait for your teenager to ask questions. You should start the conversation.

Find teaching moments. If a TV program shows a sex scene or your teen tells you about something that came up at school about sex, use these moments to talk about safer sex (many teens do not know proper use of condoms).

Be honest and give good information. Use www.TakeControlPhilly.org/parents for good information on safer sex, condoms, and STDs, including HIV.

Make this conversation normal. The more often you talk to your teen about safer sex, the easier it is for your teen to talk openly with you about it.

Tell them waiting is best. Let them know that waiting to have sex is best. The longer teenagers wait to have sex, the less likely it is that they will get an STD. If they choose to have sex, teach them that safer sex is important.