November 14 is World Diabetes Day

Ruchi Kaushik, MD, MPH, FAAP
Assistant Professor, Pediatrics
Medical Director, ComP-CaN (Comprehensive Peds for Complex Needs)
Medical Director, Children’s Hospital of San Antonio Blog (CHofSAblog.org)
Baylor College of Medicine
Children’s Hospital of San Antonio

Diabetes mellitus is a chronic disease caused by a lack of insulin.  Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas, is essential to life, and lowers blood sugar levels by allowing it to be taken up by our cells so we can use it for energy.  One analogy describes insulin as the “key” to opening the door to cells for sugar to come in.  An absence or deficiency of insulin leads to high blood sugar levels; conversely, an excess of insulin results in hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar levels.  Importantly, in diabetes, even though blood sugar levels are high, the sugar cannot enter cells and cannot be used for energy because the “key,” insulin, is missing.  This is dangerous because sugar is the most important source of energy for our body.  There are two types of diabetes–type 1 and type 2

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Is your child at risk for pneumonia?

By Alberto Carranza, MD
Assistant Professor, Pediatrics
Baylor College of Medicine
Walk-In Clinic Physician
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio

Co-Authored by
Ruchi Kaushik, MD, MPH
Assistant Professor, Pediatrics
Baylor College of Medicine
Medical Director, The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio Blog

Winter (and the holidays!) are upon us, a time when families come together to eat, laugh, love, and, unfortunately, share germs. Most illnesses resolve quickly and easily on their own. Some children, however, will develop pneumonia this season. World Pneumonia Day is November 12 and below are a few tips for parents to recognize the signs of pneumonia and know when to seek medical care right away.

What is pneumonia?
Pneumonia is an infection of one or both lungs.  The infection causes the lungs to fill with fluid or pus and results in cough with phlegm, fever, and changes in breathing.  These changes can be fast breathing, having to work harder to breathe, or shortness of breath.  Other symptoms include chest pain, abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting, decreased appetite or intake of fluids, and fatigue.  If your child is experiencing any of these symptoms, you should seek medical care immediately.

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Let’s get smart about antibiotics

By Luis Castagnini, MD
Section Chief, Department of Infectious Diseases
Baylor College of Medicine
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio

Co-Authored by
Ruchi Kaushik, MD, MPH
Assistant Professor, Pediatrics
Baylor College of Medicine
Medical Director, The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio Blog

The discovery of antibiotics almost a century ago is considered one of the greatest medical advancements in human history. An infection considered minor today (i.e. infected wound or ear infection) was devastating or even fatal before 1928, when Sir Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin. This discovery allowed health care providers to treat and cure bacterial infections like pneumonia or skin infections in a relatively safe manner. These marvelous chemicals are now used routinely in medical practices all over the world and have changed the way we live our lives.

Unfortunately, during the last few decades, we have seen the rise of antibiotic resistance. The ability of bacteria to escape unharmed from the effects of these medications designed to kill them is now pervasive and a public health threat. Sir Alexander Fleming said it himself in 1945, shortly after he received the Nobel Prize in Medicine,

The thoughtless person playing with penicillin treatment is morally responsible for the death of the man who succumbs to infection with the penicillin-resistant organism.

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Playing it safe

Playgrounds are great places for children to exercise, but you want to be sure your children are safe while they’re having fun.

More than 200,000 children visit the emergency room every year after being injured on playgrounds. While the swing set can seem terrifying in the face of that statistic, rest assured that you can keep your children safe on the playground by following these guidelines from the National Safety Council and the American Academy of Pediatrics:

Anchors away — All playground equipment should be anchored in the ground and have no sharp edges.

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Superfoods build super children

By Dr. Ruchi Kaushik
General Pediatrics
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio

Autumn is my absolute favorite season. The cool, crisp air, warmer-colored foliage, and quickly-approaching holidays energize me to decorate my home and fill the house with scents of baked goods. What mom doesn’t love to fill their little ones’ tummies with apple crisp and pecan pie? So, how do we ensure that our children still get all the nutrients they need through the winter holidays? Recently, several well-reputed physicians in media and health-related websites have compiled a list of “superfoods” that have been known for ages to have health benefits: beans, blueberries, broccoli, oranges, oats, pumpkin, salmon, soy, spinach, tea (green and black), tomatoes, turkey, walnuts, yogurt.

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Trick-or-treating with food allergies

by Lindsay Lambarth, DO
Baylor College of Medicine, PGY-2
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio

Did you know that almost 40 percent of children with food allergies have experienced severe reactions? And that in the United States, 170 different foods and ingredients have been identified as the cause of allergic reactions?

Halloween can be a difficult time for children with food allergies due to the high risk of reaction when ingredients are not monitored closely.  To help keep trick-or-treating safe for children with food allergies, the Teal Pumpkin Project was created.  Teal pumpkins serve as a symbol of safety during Halloween for children with food allergies and indicate that non-food items are available.

How can you participate?

  1. Place a teal pumpkin in front of your home (classroom, office, or wherever treats are provided this season) to show that you have non-food items available.
  2. Provide non-food treats such as pencils or stickers for trick-or-treaters.
  3. Display a flyer or poster to inform others of what the teal pumpkin stands for. Follow the link below for free resources and flyers to print.

https://www.foodallergy.org/education-awareness/teal-pumpkin-project/free-resources

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Walk to school safely with these 10 tips

October is Walk to School Month

By Jacqueline Khalaf, RN
Injury Prevention and Community Outreach Coordinator
Trauma Department, The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio

Walking to and from school can be great exercise for children of all ages. If you’re lucky enough to live only a few blocks from your child’s school, here are a few tips to consider to make sure your child is safe when walking to and from school:

  1. Walk on sidewalks when possible. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic and as far from traffic as possible.
  2. Children under 10 should not cross the street without an adult.
  3. Don’t be distracted by phones and other devices. Eyes up!
  4. Be aware of your surroundings. Be on the lookout for loose animals, strangers, and traffic.
  5. Always cross as crosswalks. Don’t run. You are more likely to fall if you are running.
  6. Look left-right-left and ensure vehicles stop at crosswalks before you cross the street.
  7. Make eye contact and wave to the motorist. If they wave back, this indicates they have seen you.
  8. Consider your second-edge — sometimes crossing happens mid-block instead of at crosswalks, such as between two parked cars. Make sure to stop at the edge of the vehicle (second edge) to look left-right-left again so that you see approaching traffic and drivers see you.
  9. Hold the hands of little ones when crossing the street. Young children may play or run, not understanding the dangers of crossing the street.
  10. Make sure children are visible using reflective equipment, lights, or wearing bright colors when it is darker outside.

Source: Safe Kids Worldwide. (2016). Safety Tips. Retrieved from https:/www.safekids.org/safetytips.

 

Is your child’s car seat the right fit?

By Jacqueline Khalaf, RN
Injury Prevention and Community Outreach Coordinator
Trauma Department, The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio
Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician

Child Passenger Safety Week is acknowledged in September. Here are some tips to keep kids properly restrained in vehicles.

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety:
All children younger than eight years old, unless taller than 4’ 9”, are required to be in the appropriate child safety seat system whenever they ride in a passenger vehicle. The safety seat system MUST be installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

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September is Sepsis Awareness Month

By Dr. David Newby
Emergency Medicine Physician

Sepsis takes the lives of over 18 children each day in the U.S. yet many Americans are unaware of this serious condition that can result in fatal complications.

Sepsis Alliance’s annual sepsis awareness survey reveals awareness of sepsis reached a new high with 65 percent of U.S. adults reporting they have heard the term sepsis, compared to 44 percent four years ago. Unfortunately, the survey results also show that sepsis symptoms are not well known, with only 12 percent of those surveyed knowing the symptoms of sepsis. And there is a lack of urgency in seeking medical attention, despite sepsis taking more than 270,000 lives a year in the U.S.

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Eight reasons you should take your child to a children’s ER

By Maria Perez-Johnson, D.O.
Emergency Physician

As a pediatric emergency physician, I am often asked by family and friends when they should go to the emergency room. As a caveat, I often reply whenever you feel you need to go – whether for reassurance of a minor ailment or for a more major emergency.  That’s why The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio has three emergency centers just for children that are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all weekends and all holidays. We never close!

We understand that children are not just little adults. In an emergency, they need to see a doctor who treats children. We treat newborns all the way up to age 17. Adults and children can experience the same symptoms, but for children they could indicate a different or more serious condition. Here are some major and minor instances where you must go directly to your nearest emergency room:

  1. Any newborn with a fever. This is a special and worrisome time for new babies. Any infant less than 28 days old with a temperature of 100.4 degrees needs medical attention. No matter how you take the baby’s temperature (armpit, forehead, frontal sensors, or rectally), a temperature of 100.4 warrants a complete and emergent assessment by a physician. Continue reading “Eight reasons you should take your child to a children’s ER”