Author: Meaghan O'Keeffe

Make Halloween healthy: If you dare!

Meaghan O’Keeffe, RN, BSN, is a mother, writer and nurse. She worked at Boston Children’s Hospital for nearly a decade, in both the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit and the Pre-op Clinic.  She is a regular contributor to Thriving.

Meaghan_OKeeffe_1Happy Halloween! This is a festive time of year when kids get excited to dress up in fantastical costumes and enjoy some light-hearted scares. But let’s be honest. Most kids dream about one thing and one thing only: the enormous bounty of candy that awaits them. Didn’t you?

Besides tasting great, sugar intake heightens the pleasure and reward centers of the brain. Feel-good hormones like dopamine and serotonin are released when we eat certain groups of foods. The more sugar we eat, the more dependent we become on sugar to elicit those pleasurable feelings. Sustained sugar intake may even alter the neural pathways in the brain, increasing the likelihood of overeating. Understanding this process takes the blame away from each of us and explains why willpower often goes out the window when you’re surrounded by countless numbers of wrapped up chocolates and candy corn.

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8 common child health myths busted

Meaghan O’Keeffe, RN, BSN, is a mother, writer and nurse. She worked at Boston Children’s Hospital for nearly a decade, in both the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit and the Pre-op Clinic.  She is a regular contributor to Thriving.

Meaghan_OKeeffe_1From fever to flu to vaccines and enterovirus, there’s so much health information out there. It’s difficult to separate fact from fiction. Some commonly circulating health myths might confuse even the most well-intentioned parent. Sort out the truth from the myth, and you’re on your way to making the best, informed health care decisions for your child.

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The Nurse’s Throw-Up Guide

Meaghan O’Keeffe, RN, BSN, is a mother, writer and nurse. She worked at Boston Children’s Hospital for nearly a decade, in both the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit and the Pre-op Clinic.  She is a regular contributor to Thriving.

Meaghan_OKeeffe_1When it comes to common childhood illnesses, few wreak havoc on the entire household like the dreaded stomach bug (or viral gastroenteritis).

No parent likes it. Most siblings can’t take even the slightest thought of it. And often, the last person to get sick is the poor caretaker.

But there’s some hope. With these nurse-approved throw-up tips, you might get through this unscathed. Even if you don’t, it can be less disastrous than you might have initially imagined.

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Not into team sports? Self-esteem boosting physical activities for kids

Meaghan O’Keeffe, RN, BSN, is a mother, writer and nurse. She worked at Boston Children’s Hospital for nearly a decade, in both the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit and the Pre-op Clinic.  She is a regular contributor to Thriving.

Meaghan_OKeeffe_1We all know that physical activity is an important aspect of our family’s health. An active lifestyle is linked with a number of benefits including:

  • increased bone strength
  • increased lean muscle mass
  • healthy weight
  • reduced anxiety and depression
  • improved mood
  • improved sleep
  • decreased risk of illness, such as cardiac disease and diabetes

But not every child is cut out for team or competitive sports. And that’s okay!

Your child can have fun, develop greater confidence and enjoy socialization without throwing a ball or running the 500-meter dash. Focus on variety and enjoyment to keep your child motivated to stay active long-term.

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