5 steps to getting you and your medically fragile child home from the hospital

Complex Corner: This is the first in a series of blogs specifically written for parents of children who have complex conditions that require a variety of medical specialists.

By Ruchi Kaushik, MD, MPH
Assistant Professor, Pediatrics
Director, ComP-CaN (Comprehensive Peds for Complex Needs)
Baylor College of Medicine

Taking a newborn home from the hospital can be anxiety-provoking for most families, so taking a medically fragile infant or child home after being in the hospital for several weeks is obviously daunting.

Families meet a variety of doctors, nurses, physical/occupational/speech therapists, respiratory staff, case managers, and social workers – it is impossible to remember everyone’s names, much less what they just advised you to do before leaving the room.  That said, I often tell caregivers that hospital staff have done a superb job of saving a child’s life; our next task, as a team, is to prepare a child for school.  In simple terms, going home is one transition to a new normal, until the next transition.

Continue reading “5 steps to getting you and your medically fragile child home from the hospital”

3 reasons why only 2 hours of screen time is best for your 1 child

By Dr. Allison Wells
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio
Baylor College of Medicine – Residency Program

Have you ever found yourself at your child’s check up wondering if your child has too much screen time? Have you ever wondered why your pediatrician recommends only two hours of screen time per day for your child? And what exactly does “screen time” mean anyway?

Screen time is defined as the amount of time someone spends in front of any electronic viewing device – this means TV, smart phone, tablet, computer, laptop, and video games. Most children in our society grow up with these devices. In fact, many are tiny experts at using smart phones before they are even potty trained. But is screen time good for them? A lot of research has been done to look for the answer to this question.

Continue reading “3 reasons why only 2 hours of screen time is best for your 1 child”

Organic? Hormone-Free? Non-GMO? Get the Facts

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

For us parents, nourishing your child is one of the most innately primitive experiences. From the wide open baby-bird like mouths of your infant to the look of belly-filled satisfaction on the face of your ever-growing teen, nothing is more rewarding than feeding your child.  But with all of the “healthy” options at the grocery store, how are you to know which choices are truly healthy and worth the extra cost?

Continue reading “Organic? Hormone-Free? Non-GMO? Get the Facts”

Is your child at risk for lead poisoning?

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

Affecting almost 1 million children in the United States, lead poisoning remains the most preventable environmental health problem. Any child may be at risk for lead toxicity. If you are the parent of a child six years and younger, read on to learn about the risks, prevention, screening, and treatment of lead poisoning.

Continue reading “Is your child at risk for lead poisoning?”

Just say no … to the latte?

By Dr. Ruchi Kaushik, MD, MPH
Pediatric Primary Care Physician
Director, ComP-CaN (Comprehensive Peds for Complex Needs)
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio

Today’s teens are on the go. In my own home, we juggle piano, Tae Kwon Do, violin, dance, and running 5Ks with schoolwork, eating healthy family dinners, sleeping, and, of course, having fun and being a kid!  Of those activities, sleep is most likely the first to be neglected, and teens often turn to caffeine and energy drinks to stay alert and in action.  But how much caffeine is too much and what’s in energy drinks anyway?

What is caffeine and what does it do?
Caffeine is a stimulant found in coffee, tea, colas, and energy drinks and is known to enhance performance in adults; however, it has not been studied in children and teens. It raises heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature; helps improve attention and wakefulness; and prevents fatigue.

Continue reading “Just say no … to the latte?”

What is the difference between a sports physical and a wellness checkup?

By Dr. Sky Izaddoost
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio Primary Care
Alon Town Centre

Summer camp time. Sports physical time. Every year, parents flood medical offices for a last minute sports physical so their child can participate in team sports at school or go to summer camp. Most walk-in clinics charge about $50 for a sports physical.  Parents gladly pay the money, not realizing that their insurance covers an annual well-child checkup, which would include the sports physical– without a co-pay in most cases.

What is the difference between the two?  A sports physical is an abbreviated well-child checkup.  The physician or practitioner is only looking for reasons that your child would not be able to participate in sports or go away to summer camp. They check old injuries like previously broken bones to make sure they have healed, determine if chronic medical conditions like asthma should limit play, and screen for conditions that could potentially cause death with exercise like heart conditions.  There is no further management.  The physical exam is also shortened, looking only for conditions that would affect play.

Continue reading “What is the difference between a sports physical and a wellness checkup?”

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.

Continue reading “Tips for treating and preventing diaper rash”

Help your teen cope with stress

Elena Mikalsen, Ph.D.
Pediatric Psychologist
Section Chief of Psychology Department

Is your teen spending too much time on social media and not enough time sleeping? It’s one reason your teen may feel stressed and anxious. According to recent American Psychological Association’s (APA) Stress in America Survey, our younger generation is increasingly more stressed. More than one in four teens and young adults say they do not feel they are doing enough to manage their stress, compared with about one in ten older adults.

The APA’s survey also indicated that teens are more likely to report using passive rather than active coping strategies, which are not always as helpful. Teens rely mainly on taking a nap, listening to music, going online, eating and playing video games to cope with stress and depression. Below are some more active ways of coping which parents can easily discuss and teach to their children.

Physical activity
One in five teens and young adults reports exercising less than once a week or not at all. Exercise is one of the most effective stress and anxiety relievers. Any of these activities are helpful: yoga, hiking, biking, walking, dancing, running, rock climbing, and skateboarding. The best activity is one which involves a social component. It doesn’t need to be a team sport.

Continue reading “Help your teen cope with stress”

Oral health: the gateway to total health

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

Oral health is the most common chronic disease of childhood. Additionally, gum disease has been linked to future heart and lung disease, diabetes, premature and low-birth weight babies, and a number of other conditions.  The 2000 Surgeon General’s report, Oral Health in America, states that, if left untreated, poor oral health is a “silent X-factor promoting the onset of life-threatening diseases which are responsible for the deaths of millions of Americans each year.”

As a result, teaching your child about good oral hygiene from the start can prevent tooth decay and gum disease and their complications. Continue reading “Oral health: the gateway to total health”

Today’s tobacco not a safe alternative

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

Did you know that nine out of ten smokers start smoking before the age of 18? Consequently, tobacco prevention is a pediatrician’s problem to tackle.  Fortunately, over the past several decades, tobacco use has declined, primarily because of regulations put in place to bar the industry from marketing to children and youth.

Enter vaping – the tobacco industry’s latest attempt to hook your child. Overall, tobacco use among teens has declined since the 1970s; however, a recent study published in Pediatrics revealed that 13.7 percent of 12th grade students in Southern California currently smoke cigarettes or e-cigarettes compared to 9.9 percent in 2004 (before e-cigarettes were available).  E-cigarettes are a type of electronic smoking device available in a variety of colors, sizes, and flavors (eg. vanilla, chocolate) and are advertised to be a “safer” form of tobacco.

Continue reading “Today’s tobacco not a safe alternative”