Is The Flu Shot Right For Your Child?

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Many people are skeptical about getting the flu shot themselves, let alone taking their child to get one. While there is a remote chance of your child having a negative reaction to the flu shot, the pros far outweigh the cons when it comes to the vaccine. In order to know whether or not the flu shot is right for your child, it’s important to know why the shot is recommended in the first place.

Why Your Child Should Get Vaccinated

The flu is a highly contagious disease that peaks between October and May each year. Typically, the flu is spread by coughing, sneezing and close contact. Symptoms of the flu include fever, sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue, cough, headache and runny nose. If your child gets the flu shot, it can:

  • Prevent your child from getting the flu
  • Lessen the severity of the flu if your child gets it
  • Keep your child from spreading the flu to others if he or she gets it

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Who Should Not Get The Vaccine?

While the flu shot is beneficial to most people, there are some people who should not get this vaccine. If your child has a severe, life-threatening allergy, he or she should not get vaccinated. Also, if your child is not feeling well, the shot should be delayed temporarily. While this affects very few people, those who have suffered Guillain-Barré Syndrome before should avoid the vaccine all together.

What Are Potential Reactions Of The Vaccine?

While most people will not experience any complications from the shot, some people may have:

  • soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given
  • hoarseness
  • sore, red or itchy eyes
  • cough
  • fever
  • aches
  • headache
  • itching
  • fatigue

Typically these problems only last a day or two after the shot is given. Severe complications, even more rare, include a small increased risk of GBS or seizure (for those who also get pneumococcal vaccine and/or DTaP vaccine).

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

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5 Kid-Friendly Side Dishes for BBQs

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Summer BBQs can be a great family activity. But if you have picky eaters, it can be difficult to find side dishes that everyone will enjoy. These five kid-friendly side dishes will have the kids begging for more at your next cookout.

Macaroni & Cheese

You’d be hard pressed to find a kid that doesn’t like macaroni and cheese. Homemade macaroni and cheese doesn’t have to be difficult to make either. The main ingredients are simple: macaroni, butter, whole milk, cheddar cheese and flour are all it takes to make a delicious side dish. See the full mac and cheese recipe here.

Fruit Kabobs

This is a great side dish to have the kids help make. Cut up your children’s favorite fruits and simply have them stick the fruit onto a kabob stick (these can be bought in most grocery stores). Good fruit choices for kabobs include: cantaloupe, grapes, strawberries, honeydew melon and watermelon.

Sweet Potato Fries

A healthier take on traditional fries, sweet potato fries can be made by simply slicing sweet potatoes, tossing them in olive oil, sprinkling with seasoning and baking for 20 minutes.

Baked Beans

There are a number of great canned baked beans that make this a great easy side dish that the whole family will love. Beans are a great source of fiber too, so this dish is both nutritious and delicious. For added taste, cut up cooked bacon and add to beans before cooking.

Watermelon

No recipe needed for this side! Simply cut up fresh watermelon and serve. At only 40 calories per cup, watermelon is full of vitamins A, B and C. Make sure kids know that watermelon has seeds before eating.

For more healthy summer tips, 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 You Need To Know About Pediatric Dehydration

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Dehydration in children can be a very scary thing. Because infants and small children can lose fluid more quickly than older children and adults, they are much more likely to suffer from dehydration. Knowing the symptoms of pediatric dehydration is key to seeking the proper medical attention quickly.

Causes Of Dehydration

Most often, fever, diarrhea, vomiting and difficulty drinking or eating (this may be caused by serious bacterial infections) are the cause of dehydration. If your child is participating in activities that are outdoors during the summer, they may become dehydrated due to increased sweating. Excessive urination, usually caused by diabetes, can also cause dehydration.

Symptoms Of Dehydration

If your child is suffering from dehydration, he or she may begin urinating less frequently. You may also noticed they become more irritable and lethargic. For infants, dehydration is often identified by a lack of tears when crying. Sunken eyes, a sunken soft spot on the front of the infant’s head and dry or sticky mucous membranes are also signs your child may be dehydrated.

Diagnosing Dehydration

If your child is suffering from dehydration symptoms, it’s important that you seek medical care immediately. A doctor will likely complete a blood culture, blood count and urinalysis to determine what’s wrong.

Treating Dehydration

In less serious instances, dehydration can be treated at home with Pedialyte and similar products that will provide your child with sugar and electrolytes. In more serious cases, your child may require professional medical treatment using an IV.

If your child is suffering from symptoms of dehydration, you should seek medical care as soon as possible. At Medical City Children’s Urgent Care, our technicians are highly qualified in pediatrics and will treat your child with the utmost 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.

Foreign Body Removal Services

iStock-471774748.jpgWhile you’d like to keep an eye on your child at all times, it’s just not possible. There will be times they sneak out of sight. If your child has managed to place a foreign body in his or her ear, nose or airway, don’t panic.

It should be noted that if your child has a battery in their ear, nose or throat, they should be taken to an emergency room immediately. It’s important that a medical professional removes the battery as soon as possible.

Foreign bodies in the ear: If your child has managed to force an object in the ear canal, it’s possible there may be pain in the ear accompanied by redness or drainage. Your child may also experience difficulty hearing. Unless the object is very easily removable, a medical professional should be the one to remove it. If the object in the ear is metal, a magnet may be used to remove it. Your child’s ear may be doused with water to fully clean it.  A machine may also be used to suction the object out.

Foreign bodies in the nose: Foreign bodies in the nose are often removed the same way as those in the ear. In some instances, sedation is needed to remove the object successfully. Your child’s doctor may prescribe nose drops or antibiotic ointments to avoid infection.

Foreign bodies in the airway: In most cases, this is a very serious situation, especially if the foreign object is completely blocking the airway. In some instances, surgery is needed to remove the object. If your child is still talking and breathing, but showing other symptoms, he or she should still be seen by a medical professional as soon as possible.

If your child has placed a foreign body in his or her ear, nose or airway, it’s important a medical professional sees them. At Medical City Children’s Urgent Care, our technicians are highly qualified in pediatrics and will treat your child with the utmost 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.

Ear Piercing Care For Children

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Most girls dream about the day they can get their ears pierced. As soon as young girls realize mom wears pretty jewelry, they want to mimic that. However, when your daughter gets her ears pierced is a very personal decision – both for you and her. It’s also important to know there are potential risks associated with ear piercing. Being educated on these risks as well as other common questions is smart before you take your daughter to get her ears pierced.

What is the right age?

Experts advise that children are at least 6 months old before getting their ears pierced. Because the immune systems of infants are still developing, they are more prone to infection. Waiting until a child is at least 6 months old cuts down on the potential greatly. At Medical City Children’s Hospital Urgent Care, we are able to start ear piercing at the age of 5-years-old. However, if you want your child to make their own informed decision on ear piercing, age 10 is recommended.

What metal is best?

When choosing your daughter’s first earrings, it’s essential to pay attention to the metal type. Surgical stainless-steel earrings and posts are the safest as they don’t contain nickel or any alloys that may cause an allergic reaction. Other safe options include platinum, titanium and 14K gold.

Where should you go?

It’s always smart to try your dermatologist or pediatrician first; however, if they don’t do piercings, find out where they recommend. Once you’ve found a place you feel comfortable, you should be sure the technician follows basic safety protocol such as washing their hands, using gloves and cleaning your daughter’s earlobes.

How do I care for the piercings?

It’s crucial to avoid infection after your daughter’s ears are pierced. Clean your own hands before touching your child’s ears. Twice a day, clean the front and back of the earrings with a cotton ball dampened by hydrogen peroxide or cleaning solution. The earrings should be gently rotated a few times a day and should not be removed for six weeks. Your daughter should keep earrings of some sort in for 6 months to avoid the hole closing.

If your daughter is interested in getting her ears pierced, visit Medical City Children’s Hospital Urgent Care. Our technicians are highly qualified and will treat your child with the utmost 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.

When Are IVs Required?

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Most people think of intravenous rehydration (more commonly called an IV) as a scary tool with a sharp needle that is often used at hospitals for severe medical cases; however, an IV can be used for something as minor as moderate dehydration. More commonly used for children than adults, the IV typically consists of water with some salt or sugar added. Knowing what an IV does and when it’s required can be important to calm your child if he or she ever needs one.

When is an IV required?

Dehydration occurs when a person loses fluids from their body. The fluids lost contain water and dissolved salts, also referred to as electrolytes. If your child suffers from a mild case of dehydration, he or she should drink water and fluids that are full of electrolytes (sports drinks are great). However, moderate to severe cases of dehydration will most likely require IV rehydration.

How does an IV work?

A nurse or doctor will normally administer the IV to your child by inserting the IV line into a vein in his or her arm. This line will be attached to a bag of fluids – the contents of which will be determined by your child’s doctor – on the other end. The amount of fluid will be regulated by the doctor or nurse and will enter your child’s bloodstream via an automated pump or adjustable valve.

Are there risks associated with an IV?

The risks associated with an IV are very low for most people and most often the benefits outweigh the risks. There is a minor risk of infection at the injection site any time an IV is administered. While even more minor, there is also a risk of the vein collapsing if the IV remains in it for an extended period of time. However, a knowledgeable nurse or doctor will know to move the needle to a different vein.

If your child is displaying signs of moderate or severe dehydration, he or she should receive medical attention immediately. At Medical City Children’s Urgent Care, our technicians are highly qualified and will treat your child with the utmost 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.

4 Fun After-School Activities

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By the time summer is done, kids (and parents) are often ready for school to return. However, once school is out each day, your child will likely be looking for something to keep busy. While homework needs to be completed, there are also a number of fun after-school activities that your child can enjoy as an alternative to sitting in front of the TV all afternoon and evening.

Get Creative With Snack Art

Most kids get hungry after school. Have your child help out with their after-school snack by creating fun snack art. A few examples are sandwiches cut by cookie cutters, fun creatures made from hard-boiled eggs and healthy dips served with animal crackers.

Build An Art Gallery

Have your child get creative outside with sidewalk chalk. Offer suggestions for an artwork theme, such as family members, favorite animals, etc. and let your child go crazy. Invite neighbors over to check it out and vote on their favorite drawings.

Do Something Nice For A Friend

Decide on a friend or neighbor who is in need and do something nice for him or her. Whether you water the plants of an out-of-town neighbor, bake cookies for a friend who’s been sick or simply go visit an assisted living home for senior citizens, teaching your son or daughter to give of their time is a great activity and life lesson.

Go Exploring

Take a walk to a new park or go on a bike ride to the library on a different path. Wherever you decide to explore, make sure it’s somewhere new and exciting that will get your child wanting to be outdoors.

For more information on family safety, helpful health tips and up-to-date medical information, check back in on the Medical City Children’s Hospital Urgent Care blog regularly. We are also open seven days a week to serve you when medical attention is needed for your child. 

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.