Upstate Parent gets answers to those health and wellness questions you’ve always wanted to ask. You ask us, and we ask local experts to weigh in with some answers.

Have a burning question? Let us know! This month’s questions are answered by several local experts. Remember that these answers are the opinions of these specific experts and not intended as medical advice. Always consult your personal doctor about your health.

Q: I cook with sea salt. Do I need to worry about a lack of iodine in my family’s diet?

A: This is a great question, as sea salt does not contain significant amounts of iodine. For reference, the recommended amounts (RDAs) of iodine per day are 90 micrograms for ages 1 – 8, 120 micrograms for ages 9 – 13 and 150 micrograms for ages 14 and older. Additional iodine is recommended for pregnant women and breast-feeding mothers. Iodized salt contains about 70 micrograms per quarter teaspoon. Fortunately, other foods can be consumed to obtain this key nutrient. Examples of iodine rich foods include milk (1 cup, 50 – 100 micrograms), shrimp (3 ounces, 35 micrograms), enriched white bread (about 20 micrograms per slice) and seaweed (varying amounts). Many multivitamins contain iodine as well (be sure to check the label). For further information and other sources of iodine, check out the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements at

— Katie Stogsdill, inpatient dietitian for pediatrics, Greenville Health System Children’s Hospital

Q: At what age should I give up trying to get my child to take a nap?

A: Childhood sleep patterns are very fluid, with newborn sleep evenly divided between daytime and nighttime to all nighttime sleep by age 4 years. Daytime sleep starts as multiple short naps which move to two longer naps in the second half of the first year. Most children move to a single nap (generally in the afternoon) after 15 months and continue with this pattern until preschool. By 3 to 4 years of age, a child may not want to have an afternoon nap. How much do you fight this? First, how many hours of sleep does he get at night (11½ hours is average)? Second, does he appear rested through the day? And third, does a nap interfere with age appropriate activities such as school? If your child is happy and well rested, then it is time to let it go!

— Dr. Stephen E. Lookadoo Jr., Greenville Health System’s Christie Pediatric Group

Q: What can I do to relieve the back pain I am experiencing from lifting my toddler? 

A: As a toddler mom myself, I know firsthand how heavy toddlers are and how often they want to be held. What you are experiencing is quite common. I would encourage you to start a core strengthening routine daily. These exercises include bridges and planks and can easily be found online. Regarding medications, I recommend over-the-counter anti-inflammatories like Aleve taken as instructed for two weeks. If symptoms persist, you should see a physician who specializes in back pain. Once your pain improves, it’s important to prevent recurrence by practicing proper lifting techniques. Bring your toddler in close to your body and avoid lifting with outstretched arms. Squat down, keep your back straight, tighten your abdominal muscles and lift with your legs.

— Dr. Sara Baird, Greenville Health System’s Steadman Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas

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