Seven child-friendly foods to prevent constipation

By Elissa Gonzalez, MD
Medical Resident
Baylor College of Medicine

What is constipation?
Constipation is when a child does not poop more than a few times a week, has pain when pooping, or passes large or hard poop. Constipation can lead to encopresis, which is leaking of poop in the underwear which can lead to embarrassment and other psycho-social issues. Common times for constipation to occur are introduction of solids, toilet training and school entry.

How do we, as parents, prevent constipation?

  • Sit on the toilet Remind your child to use the restroom after every meal to make room for more food. Sitting up straight can also aid in pooping.
  • Fiber Introduce high fiber foods children will enjoy.
  • Hydration Give them plenty of opportunity throughout the day to drink water.

Seven high fiber child-friendly foods:

  • Popcorn An easy on-the-go snack. Avoid extra butter and sugar.
  • Almonds Another easy snack.
  • Dark Chocolate Look for cocoa content of between 70-95 percent or higher
  • Oats Oatmeal it a quick breakfast. Add fruit such as raspberries.
  • Lentils Cook them like your favorite beans.
  • Avocados Mix into any dish such as eggs, brown rice, or tuna salad.
  • Raspberries Pack these for an on-the-go snack.

 How does constipation happen?
When a child eats food it goes from the mouth to the stomach then to the intestines. The body begins pulling water from stool so it becomes solid and waits in the rectum. Signals in the body tell the child there is poop in the rectum and they can decide to relax the muscle and go or hold on to it. Many children are embarrassed by the urge to poop and will hold it.

When the child decides to hold his poop it will sit in the rectum and the body will continue to pull water. It will become dry and hard and difficult to push out. Poop will continue to collect and stretch out the colon making the child lose the urge to use the restroom. The rectum is like a balloon and will go back to its original shape the first time it is stretched out, but if it continues to stretch, then it will be flabby and weak and the poop will build up.  It may take a year for some children to return to normal after treatment.

Already constipated?
Visit with your pediatrician. They may suggest prune juice, medications or even a bowel clean out depending on the severity of the constipation.

If you need a pediatrician for your child, visit www.chofsa.org/findadoc.

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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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”

Seven facts about the flu

By Danielle Roberts, M.D.
Pediatric Resident, PGY2
Baylor College of Medicine
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio

7 Facts About the Flu

With the holidays just around the corner, many families are looking forward to fun-filled and quality family time. Whether it involves looking for the best deals, organizing elaborate feasts, or festively decorating homes, planning is key for a smooth and enjoyable time for all!

Along with these exciting times, unfortunately, also ‘tis the season for the flu virus. Being sick with this virus can affect precious family time, and you may have questions about how the virus can affect your loved ones. This blog will explain seven facts about the flu.

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Three ways to relieve a stuffy nose

By Dr. Benjamin Moresco
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio
Baylor College of Medicine, Third Year Resident (PGY3)

Please note: the model used below is a specially designed manikin used by medical professionals to practice and demonstrate procedures.

Cold and flu season, fall allergies, and children getting settled back into school (and sharing lots of germs with each other) create the perfect combination for little ones to get stuffy noses. Runny noses are one thing, but even worse is the nasal congestion and sinus pain that can accompany a cold. What can parents and caregivers do at home to relieve a stopped-up nose and painful sinus pressure?

What you may not know is that many children who visit the Emergency Room (ER) during the fall and winter could have been cared for at home. In addition to the handy dandy bulb-syringe, there are some newer options available for families to help clear the nose and mouth of mucus. Be sure to remember two very important things: keep your child well hydrated and always use nasal saline before you suction.

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Tips for treating and preventing diaper rash

By Dr. Theresa Willis
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio Primary Care
Dominion Crossing

At one time or another, your baby will get diaper rash. First, check with your pediatrician and make sure that the rash isn’t something that needs to be treated by a doctor. Babies and toddlers in diapers can get fungal infections due to the frequently damp and warm area inside the diaper. Bacterial infections and other skin conditions such as eczema are also possibilities that your doctor will look for during an office visit.

If there are no other causes for your baby’s diaper rash, your doctor may tell you that he or she has diaper dermatitis. Diaper dermatitis is a general term used to describe an inflamed rash in the diaper area. It is thought to be caused by the mixing of stool and urine that decreases the pH and prolonged contact then leads to skin breakdown.

The rash can be very uncomfortable and lead to fussy babies and battles over diaper changes because it can be painful when the inflamed area is cleaned.

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Test your flu IQ

By Michelle Barajaz, MD, FAAP
Director, Baylor College of Medicine Residency Program

Most parents would do anything to protect their children from harm. We buckle them into their car seats, make them wear helmets, and teach them to look both ways when they cross the street. However, every year many parents fail to take a simple step that could save them from losing their child to a very real and present, but mostly preventable, danger: influenza. See how much you know about how to protect your child by taking our quick true/false quiz.

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When to see your pediatrician

By Dr. Ruchi Kaushik
General Pediatrics

Today’s economy probably has you considering and reconsidering every nickel you spend. Pizza night may become less frequent; you may have skipped swimming lessons this year; you searched and searched for the store with the lowest prices for back-to-school supplies. What about doctor visit copays? Continue reading “When to see your pediatrician”