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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How To Avoid 3 Common Illnesses This Winter

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Each year as the weather cools down, the number of illness increases. There are certain illnesses that peak during the winter months, including the flu, ear infections and bronchiolitis. To keep from catching these widespread illnesses, there are several things you can do.

  1. Seasonal Flu: Flu season begins as early as the fall and continues through May, with January and February as the worst two months for the sickness. Because the flu is so easily spread from one person to another, it’s one of the hardest illnesses to avoid. In fact, as many as 20% of the population will be affected by the flu annually. The illness, which is spread by coughing, sneezing and even just talking, can be prevented by regular hand washing, avoiding eating after others and constant cleaning of regularly-touched surfaces
  2. Ear Infection: As a result of changes in climate, ear infections are most common during the winter months. Caused by bacteria that are often accompanied by a sore throat, cold or other respiratory infection, an ear infection occurs when fluid builds up behind the eardrum. While an ear infection is difficult to prevent, your child can greatly reduce his or her risk of coming down with one by washing hands frequently, getting vaccinated every year and staying away from second-hand smoke.
  3. Bronchiolitis: Mostly impacting children under the age of two, bronchiolitis is a result of swelling and mucus buildup within the smallest lung air passages. Typically, bronchiolitis is contagious when your child comes in direct contact with fluids of an infected person. Teaching your child to wash his or her hands frequently—along with disinfecting regularly touched items—can make a huge difference in your child’s health this winter.

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If your child has managed to come down with an illness this winter, 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.

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.

Kid-Friendly Thanksgiving Side Dishes

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On Thanksgiving Day, most people think of overeating. However, if you have a picky child, they could do the opposite. Some of the traditional Thanksgiving dishes like green bean casserole, potato salad and stuffing may not be appetizing to a young child. By taking the time to prepare a few kid-friendly dishes, you increase the chance your child will enjoy Thanksgiving dinner.

GET THE KIDS INVOLVED

When thinking through what dishes your child would enjoy this Thanksgiving, get him or her involved in the process. If your child is included in the cooking process, he or she is much more likely to eat the dish. This is also a great way to connect with your child and teach them the value of a healthy (yet tasty) side dish.

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SURVEY YOUR CURRENT DISHES

Some of the dishes you already make on Thanksgiving may be turned into kid-friendly dishes with just a few slight tweaks. For instance, a standard broccoli dish can be morphed into cheesy rice with broccoli with very few additional steps and your child will likely go crazy for it. Brussels sprouts are another example. By themselves, they are not that appetizing to children. However, throw in some cranberries and a balsamic glaze and they take on an entirely different taste.

DON’T OVERTHINK IT

Many parents can get too worried their child won’t eat a single thing on the table. There is so much going on Thanksgiving Day, it shouldn’t be an extra stress on you to find dishes for your child to eat. Sit down before you create your grocery list and learn what your child may want to add to the traditional Thanksgiving dinner. You never know—they may add a dish they becomes a staple for years to come! Here is a list of kid-friendly Thanksgiving side dishes that may be helpful.

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For more fun holiday and 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.

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 Keep Your Kids Flu-Free This Season

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Everyone enjoys the cooling temps, fall foliage and approaching holidays; however, the ensuing flu season is not nearly as welcome. Kids who are in school or daycare are at a much higher risk of catching the flu than those that stay at home. To ensure your child stays healthy this flu season, there are some tips you can keep in mind.

GET YOUR CHILD VACCINATED

Although the vaccine is not 100% successful in preventing the flu (according to the latest numbers, it is actually 62% effective), it can certainly reduce your child’s chance of getting sick. Even if your child does end up with the flu, the vaccine can help shorten the illness and keep symptoms mild.

TEACH THEM GOOD ETIQUETTE

Because the flu can spread as much as 6 feet when a child coughs or sneezes, it’s important that your child covers their mouth and nose with a tissue. Make sure your child knows to throw the tissue away afterward and to then wash their hands.

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KEEP EVERYTHING CLEAN

This probably sounds impossible with a child, but it’s smart to wipe down toys, handles, counter tables, phones and TV remotes regularly. The flu virus can live up to 8 hours on surfaces, so keeping everything in your home as clean as possible will prevent it from spreading. Hot soapy water or a cleaning product works best.

DIET, EXERCISE AND REST

One of the best ways your child can stay flu-free this season is to eat right, exercise daily and get enough rest each night. For school-age children, adequate rest is at least 10 hours, while toddlers need a minimum of 12 hours each night. Your children’s diet should include plenty of fruits, vegetable, milk and water. Also, it’s important your child gets at least an hour of physical activity each day.

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If your child has not had his or her flu shot, 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.

Last-Minute Halloween Costume Ideas for Kids

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Buying your child a costume at a Halloween-specific store any time in October can be chaotic. Not only that, costumes sell out very quickly—especially the popular ones most kids want! If you have yet to buy your child’s Halloween costume, consider making one at home. Not only will you save money, you can avoid the mass chaos of the party stores this time of year.

A Friendly Ghost

There’s a reason classic costume costumes never go out of style—they’re too cute! This old school ghost costume can be made using white fleece, stiff black felt and fabric glue.

A Lumberjack

Using mostly supplies you have at home, this costume is adorable for young boys. A flannel shirt, blue jeans and suspenders can turn your little guy into a tree-chopping lumberjack! Make a beard with felt and create an axe out of cardboard and a wooden stick to complete the costume.

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A Scuba Diver

Your kids will be ready to dive into Halloween with this adorable costume. Black shirts and pants are the base for this simple costume. Two 2-litter bottles, spray paint, rope and a few other supplies you’re likely to have around the house turn closet staples into a costume of the year!

An Army Man

If you’ve got green spray paint, you’ve got a costume. This fun boy’s costume can be created using adorable clothing (which you can find at a thrift store), an army costume (can be found at a toy store), cardboard and tons of green spray paint. Before you now it, you’ll have yourself a little army man!

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For more fun holiday and 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.