How Dangerous is RSV for Children?

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Respiratory syncytial virus, more commonly known as RSV, can very easily be confused for a cold. If a child wakes up in the night with a cough, fever, stuffy nose and crankiness, it’s not unusual for a parent to diagnose this as just another cold. However, an estimated 57,000 children under the age of five are hospitalized annually due to an RSV infection, making it imperative you know the difference between RSV and the common cold.

WHO’S AT RISK?

For most infants and children, RSV will do no more than produce symptoms of the common cold. But for very young infants, children with chronic lung or heart disease, children with a weakened immune system and children with neuromuscular disorders, RSV can turn into bronchiolitis or even pneumonia.

EARLY SYMPTOMS

It’s crucial to catch RSV symptoms as early as possible in an effort to minimize effects. Early symptoms of RSV include runny nose, decrease in appetite and a cough that could lead to wheezing.

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TREATING RSV

If your child has contracted RSV, there are a few things you can do to help him or her recover quickly. Make sure your child is staying hydrated first and foremost. Have your child blow their nose regularly and give him or her pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen when needed. (It’s important you don’t give your child aspirin as it’s been linked to several different diseases.) If your child is unable to blow his or her nose, the most effective treatment is a nasal saline irrigation and suction. Finally, a cool-mist vaporizer can help your child breathe better during the dry winter months.

PREVENTING RSV

If your child is at a heightened risk for RSV, there are a few things you can do to keep him or healthy, especially during the fall, winter and early spring when RSV is most common.

  • Have your child wash his or her hands regularly. Proper hand washing lasts 20 seconds and includes warm water and soap.
  • Avoid being in close contact with sick people. RSV is extremely contagious, so telling your child to not share utensils or eat after other children is very important.
  • Clean all surfaces in your home regularly. This includes objects that are touched regularly such as toys, doorknobs, etc.

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If you believe your child is suffering from RSV, consider visiting Medical City Children’s Urgent Care. We have pediatricians that are board certified, offer convenient access to the expert care you need right when you need it and are even open after hours or on the weekend.

Disclaimer: Patients’ health can vary. Always consult with a medical professional before taking medication, making health-related decisions or deciding if medical advice is right for you or your child.

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Promoting Healthy Digestion in Your Little One

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If your child seems to have an unhappy belly, look more closely at the balance of fiber, fluid and exercise in his/her daily regimen. Children need these three essentials in their diet in order to promote a healthy digestive system. It may not be simple to find something they like in all categories, but there are some great options to persuade them in the nutritious direction.

The average child, depending on age, needs between 19-38 grams of fiber per day. This can be found in whole wheat bread or English muffins, baked potatoes (with skin), apples and pear (with peels) or berries with seeds, especially raspberries. If your child is constipated, then avoid white bread, cheeses and rice cereal.

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This fiber intake needs to be matched with healthy amounts of water, plus a daily allotment of milk. Without fluid, fiber becomes clogged inside the body. The majority of liquid consumed by your little one each day should be water. Four ounces of juice is recommended for toddlers and six to eight ounces of juice for school-age children.

Exercise is the final key factor in ensuring a healthy digestive track for young children. Encouraging 60-90 minutes of play each day will help keep their digestive systems running smoothly. Just remember to keep up with how often they use the restroom while active. Children “holding it in” can lead to extra constipation issues.

For a reference scale on how much fiber your child should be eating each day, check out Super Kids Nutrition.

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For more health tips for children, continue to check in on the Medical City Children’s Urgent Care blog. Medical City Children’s Urgent Care is a kid-friendly medical facility dedicated to providing children the best possible care. We have pediatricians that are board certified, offer convenient access to the expert care you need right when you need it and are even open after hours or on the weekend.

Disclaimer: Patients’ health can vary. Always consult with a medical professional before taking medication, making health-related decisions or deciding if medical advice is right for you or your child.

Identifying Type 2 Diabetes In Children

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According to the CDC, more than 208,000 under the age of 20 have been diagnosed with diabetes. Doctors used to be under the impression that children could only get type 1 diabetes—also known as juvenile diabetes. However, type 2 diabetes, which is linked to those who are overweight, have a family history of diabetes or have a problem called insulin resistance, has become a growing issue among children. Before you can identify type 2 diabetes in children, it’s important to know what it is.

WHAT IS TYPE 2 DIABETES

When you eat a carbohydrate, it is broken down by your body and turned into a type of sugar called glucose. In order to keep the glucose moving from your blood into your cells (where it can be used for fuel), your pancreas creates a hormone called insulin.

When someone has type 2 diabetes, the cells in their body don’t respond to insulin, causing the glucose to build up in their bloodstream. This is also known as insulin resistance. Eventually, the sugar levels become too high for the body to handle.

WHAT CAUSES TYPE 2 DIABETES

When someone is overweight, their risk of type 2 diabetes increases by double. In the United States, nearly 1 out of every 3 children is overweight, which has caused the number of type 2 diabetes cases to increase as well. Unhealthy eating, lack of physical activity and family history of obesity are all factors that contribute to diabetes.

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SYMPTOMS OF TYPE 2 DIABETES

While symptoms may not be noticeable at first, eventually, someone with type 2 diabetes will experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Hungry or thirsty a lot, even after eating
  • Dry mouth
  • Peeing a lot
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Heavy breathing
  • Slow healing of sores or cuts
  • Itchy skin
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet

TREATING TYPE 2 DIABETES

If you believe your child has type 2 diabetes, it’s important to get him or her to the doctor immediately. A doctor will test your child’s blood sugar for diabetes. If the results come back positive, they may also test to see if it’s type 1 or type 2.

If your child is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, the doctor will likely suggest lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise. A medication called metformin may also be recommended. Regular doctor visits will be necessary to ensure your child’s numbers stay consistent.

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If you believe your child is suffering from diabetes symptoms, consider visiting Medical City Children’s Urgent Care. We have pediatricians that are board certified, offer convenient access to the expert care you need right when you need it and are even open after hours or on the weekend.

Disclaimer: Patients’ health can vary. Always consult with a medical professional before taking medication, making health-related decisions or deciding if medical advice is right for you or your child.

Why is hand-washing so important?

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Kids don’t always listen when parents tell them to wash their hands before eating, after using the bathroom or when they come inside from playing. But it’s a message worth repeating: Hand-washing is by far the best way to keep kids from getting sick and prevent the spread of germs.

How do germs spread?

Germs can spread many ways, including:

  • touching dirty hands
  • changing dirty diapers
  • through contaminated water and food
  • through droplets in the air released during a cough or sneeze
  • on contaminated surfaces
  • through contact with a sick person’s body fluids

When kids come into contact with germs, they can become infected just by touching their eyes, nose or mouth. Once they’re infected, it’s usually just a matter of time before the whole family comes down with the same illness.

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How do clean hands help health?

Good hand-washing is the first line of defense against the spread of many illnesses – from the common cold to more serious infections, such as meningitis, bronchiolitis, the flu, hepatitis A and many types of diarrhea.

What’s the best way to wash hands?

Here’s how to scrub those germs away. Teach this to your kids, or wash your hands together often so they learn how important this good habit is:

  1. Wash your hands in warm water. Make sure the water isn’t too hot for little hands.
  2. Use soap and lather up for about 20 seconds. Antibacterial soap isn’t necessary – any soap will do.
  3. Make sure you get in between the fingers and under the nails where germs like to hang out. And don’t forget the wrists!
  4. Rinse and dry well with a clean towel.

When should kids wash their hands?

To stop the spread of germs in your family, make regular hand washing a rule for everyone, especially:

  • Before eating and cooking
  • After using the bathroom
  • After cleaning around the house
  • After touching animals, including family pets
  • Before and after visiting or taking care of any sick friends or relatives
  • After blowing one’s nose, coughing or sneezing
  • After being outside (playing, gardening, walking the dog, etc.)

Don’t underestimate the power of hand-washing! The few seconds you spend at the sink could save you trips to the doctor’s office.

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For more health tips for children, continue to check in on the Medical City Children’s Urgent Care blog. Medical City Children’s Urgent Care is a kid-friendly medical facility dedicated to providing children the best possible care.

Disclaimer: Patients’ health can vary. Always consult with a medical professional before taking medication, making health-related decisions or deciding if medical advice is right for you or your child.

What To Do If Your Child Swallows A Foreign Object

DocChildThroat.jpgWhile most moms like to think they have eyes in the back of their head, it can be difficult to keep track of your child every second of every day. Because infants and toddlers are naturally curious, they tend to put various items in their mouths, putting them at high risk for swallowing a foreign object. In some instances, your child may be able to pass the object; however, some cases may require surgery.

THE RISK

The majority of people that swallow foreign objects are under the age of 3. Infants and toddlers left unsupervised are at an increased risk. It’s important to keep the following objects out of the reach of children under the age of 3:

  • Coins
  • Small batteries
  • Buttons
  • Marbles
  • Rocks
  • Nails
  • Screws
  • Pins
  • Small magnets

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IDENTIFYING THE PROBLEM

The most common symptoms that can help you know if your child has swallowed a foreign object are choking, difficulty breathing, coughing and wheezing. If the object has already passed onto the digestive tract, there may be no immediate symptoms. If the item has become lodged in the esophagus or bowel, your child may experience vomiting, drooling, gagging, chest or throat pain, refusal to eat, abdominal pain and fever.

TREATING THE PROBLEM

If your child is unable to breath because the foreign object has blocked the airway, emergency treatment is necessary. You may be able to remove the object by using back blows, the Heimlich maneuver, or CPR. If you suspect a battery has been swallowed, your child should be seen immediately. Batteries can cause erosion of the wall of the GI tract and will need to be removed.

If the object appears to be swallowed completely with no choking necessary, you may be able to wait for it to pass naturally. If the foreign object is causing pain or damage to the bowels, surgery may be needed.

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If your child has swallowed a foreign object that needs to be removed immediately, consider visiting Medical City Children’s Urgent Care. We have pediatricians that are board certified, offer convenient access to the expert care you need right when you need it and are even open after hours or on the weekend.

Disclaimer: Patients’ health can vary. Always consult with a medical professional before taking medication, making health-related decisions or deciding if medical advice is right for you or your child.

How to Improve Children’s Allergy Symptoms

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If your child is constantly sneezing or coughing, he or she may be suffering from allergies. Identifying your child’s allergies early can help you find a treatment that works and keep your child from feeling miserable during peak allergy season.  Learning what causes allergies can help you start a treatment plan for your child.

During spring and fall, there are a number of things that can trigger your child’s allergies. Tree pollen and plant pollen are two of the main suspects during these two seasons. Some indoor triggers include pet or animal hair, dust mites and mold.

If your child is suffering from hay fever, also called allergic rhinitis, he or she will likely have a runny nose, constantly be sneezing, and experience postnasal drip and nasal congestion. Coincidentally enough, hay fever isn’t actually triggered by hay.

Typically, allergies are the number one reason behind chronic nasal congestion in children. This can result in your child being forced to breath through their mouth at night, leaving them exhausted the next day.

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To help alleviate your child’s allergy symptoms, be sure to keep windows and doors shut on high-pollen count days. If your child has been playing outdoors, make sure they take a bath that night to remove all allergens. Your child’s diet plays a large part in their allergies. Try to include one fresh fruit and veggie at every meal. Finally, make sure your home is clean. Dust and other particles in your home can trigger your child’s allergy symptoms, making it impossible for them to recover.

YouTube_Cover.jpgIf your child is suffering from chronic sinus infections, consider visiting Medical City Children’s Urgent Care. We have kid-friendly physicians that are board-eligible in pediatric medicine, offer convenient access to the expert care you need right when you need it and are even open after hours or on the weekend.

Disclaimer: Patients’ health can vary. Always consult with a medical professional before taking medication, making health-related decisions or deciding if medical advice is right for you or your child.

What to Do If an Animal Bites Your Child

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When children see a furry animal, like a dog, their first instinct is often to embrace the animal with a hug or aggressive pet. While the intentions are usually pure, the dog may take this physical touch the wrong way and react. If an animal bites your child, there are several actions you need to take immediately.

  • Control the Bleeding: If the bite is bad enough to break skin, you need to control any bleeding as soon as possible. Use a clean washcloth or towel to gently apply pressure to the wound until the bleeding subsides. If the bite is severe enough, you may need to elevate the injured area.
  • Clean the Bite: As soon as the bleeding has stopped, clean the site of the injury with soap and water. If possible, hold the affected area under running water for a bit to rinse the bacteria away.
  • Cover the Area: After drying and gently placing antibiotic ointment on the dog bite, cover the area with a fresh bandage to keep infection from occurring.
  • Seek Information: If you can determine the owner of the animal, it’s important to find out whether the dog is up-to-date on shots and other vetting.
  • Visit a Doctor: If your child’s bite breaks skin, you should seek a doctor immediately. Typically a bite of this nature will require antibiotic therapy to prevent infection.

If you don’t know the animal that bit your child, you should see a doctor immediately as a rabies shot may be necessary. It’s also important to seek medical care if the wound is very deep or if the bite is on your child’s face.

If your child has suffered a dog bite and is need of medical care, consider visiting Medical City Children’s Urgent Care. We have kid-friendly physicians that are board-eligible in family medicine or emergency medicine, offer convenient access to the expert care you need right when you need it and are even open after hours or on the weekend.

Disclaimer: Patients’ health can vary. Always consult with a medical professional before taking medication, making health-related decisions or deciding if medical advice is right for you or your child.