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: When should my child see her doctor for an earache?

A: Earache is a common pediatric complaint. Kids under 5 are more at risk but it can present in all age groups. It can be very uncomfortable in children. A number of things can cause ear pain, including ear infections, perforated eardrum, excess wax, foreign body and dental problems. Acetaminophen and ibuprofen should be used initially to relieve the pain. Children 2 and older who are not seriously ill and have no fever can be monitored at home for 24 to 48 hours. Kids 6 months or younger usually present with crying and screaming.

A child who seems to be in severe pain even after pain relievers, acts very sick and has a fever of 101 or higher, an ear discharge of pus or blood, hearing loss, inconsolable crying, redness, swelling or pain behind the ear should be evaluated by their physician.

— Dr. Hina Anjum, Mary Black Physicians Group, Foothills Family Medicine – Boiling Springs

Q: Our family dog is in declining health. What can I do to prepare my children for her loss?

A: Children are concrete in their thinking. Well-intentioned phrases like “they are in a better place, they went to sleep” can bring them short-term comfort, but at the expense of proper development in understanding death and dying. More appropriate words might be, “Our pet is sick and can’t get well, so we want to make him comfortable and give him all the love and attention we can while he is with us.” Ask things like, “What things can you think of that will let him know he is loved and matters to us?” This allows the child to understand what is happening and be a participant in the decision process and care of the pet.

— The Rev. Richard Burton, Mary Black Health System, Spartanburg volunteer chaplain

Q: What can I do to stop my pre-diabetes from progressing?

A: That is a wonderful question. We promote lifestyle changes — healthy diet and regular exercise — to all of our patients. Clinical trials have demonstrated the beneficial effect of lifestyle modification — predominantly exercise and weight loss — for the prevention of diabetes. In some cases, adding medications such as metformin have shown some to prevent or delay diabetes. In studies, either weight training or aerobic exercise for at least 150 minutes per week was associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Also, losing weight with a goal of reducing weight by 7 percent — in some cases as little as 5 – 10 pounds — have been shown to improve glucose tolerance and prevent progression to type 2 diabetes. Diet, exercise and in some cases, medications, can go a long way to prevent progression to type 2 diabetes.

— Dr. Kimberly Clay, Mary Black Physicians Group, endocrinology and diabetes medicine

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