Last updated 7 months ago
Approximately seven million children in the United States have asthma. As this video shows, childhood asthma is treatable with the right pediatric care and education.
Children with allergies, a family history of asthma, or other health predispositions are more likely to develop asthma. Though a common illness, asthma attacks and their risks can be minimized if parents implement a few changes in their children’s lives. An asthma trigger can be virtually any respiratory irritant, including cigarette smoke, dust, dust mites, and pet dander. If you can identify an asthma trigger, try to remove it from your child’s environment. Along with having the right asthma medication, eliminating asthma triggers can significantly improve your child’s health and ability to participate in everyday physical activities.
Dr. Nan Nuessle provides comprehensive pediatric care to families in Independence, Kansas. If your child suffers from asthma, please call our general pediatrics facility at (913) 948-3323.
Last updated 7 months ago
Halloween is a time of festivity and fun for millions of American children. However, it also brings many thousands of those children to their family pediatricians every year for injuries big and small. To ensure that your children have a memorable Halloween filled with tricks and treats instead of bumps and bruises, consider the following safety guidelines.
Monitor your children during pumpkin carving.
For many families, the celebration of Halloween begins with carving pumpkins. While pumpkin carving may be a wonderful way for your family to enjoy a Halloween tradition together, children should not be allowed to use knives when creating their pumpkin masterpieces. No matter how attentive you may be to their efforts, all it takes is one slip of the knife to cause a deep laceration or puncture wound. Instead, invest in a child-friendly pumpkin carving kit that lets kids use carving tools too blunt to break skin.
Inspect your children’s masks and costumes for pointy edges or confining parts.
In theory, children’s Halloween costumes should be safe to use. However, they are frequently made on a massive scale with quick and cost-cutting techniques, which often translates into subpar construction. Therefore, be sure to thoroughly check your children’s costumes to ensure that they have no detailing that could potentially poke an eye, scratch skin, or restrict movement and breathing.
Discuss your trick-or-treating rules before heading out on Halloween night.
Because Halloween is an exciting time for children, they may rush ahead of their parents when trick-or-treating and cross streets without looking for cars. To ensure that your children stay safely by your side on Halloween, have a conversation with them beforehand regarding your rules for the night. The more clearly you communicate your wishes to your children, the more likely you all will have a happy and safe holiday.
Dr. Nan Nuessle offers quality pediatrician care for a wide range of pediatric injuries, including lacerations and broken bones. To schedule an appointment at our Independence, Kansas office, or to speak with a pediatric physician, please call us today at (913) 948-3323.
Last updated 7 months ago
Your child wakes up with a sore throat. You know that strep is going around at school. What do you do? How do you know if it's strep throat or just a cold?
As a parent, it is difficult to tell strep throat from the common cold. Both colds and strep can be associated with headaches, body aches, nasal congestion, post nasal discharge, sore throat and fever. In strep throat, the sore throat is often the dominating feature. Children often get headaches and stomach aches. Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea are less common. However, the key feature is how the throat appears on examination. Typically, in strep throat, the throat is not just red. There are often pearly white plaques on the tonsils. These plaques are colonies of the strep bacteria. There may also be a red rash on the soft palate, or a strawberry tongue. However, strep throat isn't the only infection that can cause white plaques on the tonsils or a rash inside the mouth. This is why the diagnosis of strep throat can only be confirmed by testing.
If your child has a severe sore throat, of if they have a sore throat that lasts 3 or more days, see your physician. He or she will order a strep test if strep throat is suspected. This is a rapid test that can be run in just a few minutes. (Though your doctor may not get the results for a couple of hours). If the rapid strep test is negative, a culture will be done. Antibiotics should not be started if the rapid test is negative. I know it is hard to be patient, but please wait for the culture results. Unnecessary antibiotics will not help your child, and can be harmful. If either the rapid test or the culture are positive for strep bacteria, antibiotics should be started. Penicillin and amoxicillin are the antibiotics of choice for strep bacteria (http://buff.ly/SqQK0G). Your child should not be placed on a different antibiotic unless they are allergic to penicillin and amoxicillin. This is incredibly important. If your doctor suggests a different antibiotic, ask why. Antibiotics should be started within 7 days of the onset of the sore throat, and the entire course of antibiotics should be taken as directed.
Strep throat will actually get better without antibiotics. However, the strep bacteria in your child's body can lead to other diseases if antibiotics are not given or are not completed. These diseases include rheumatic fever and Goodpasture disease. Rheumatic fever can lead to heart disease and arthritis. Goodpasture disease attacks the kidneys and the lungs. These disease are much more difficult to treat than strep throat.
Many parents have heard the term scarlet fever. This term used to be reserved for the rash associated with rheumatic fever. However, now it is used much more often to refer to scarlatina. Scarlatina is simply strep throat with a rash. It is a fine red rash with a sandpapery feeling to it. It often starts on the chest, abdomen or back and quickly spreads to the face and extremities. This rash usually lasts only a few days, but can persist for months. Sometimes it peels like a sunburn before going away.
Now, your child has been diagnosed with strep throat. Amoxicillin has been started. She still feels miserable. You can help her by making sure she drinks plenty of fluids and gets lots of rest. Honey can help alleviate the sore throat. There are many homeopathic remedies available for strep throat, but I wouldn't use them without also having your child on an appropriate antibiotic. She should stay home from school for at least 24 hours. The school doesn't want her back, exposing other children, until she has been on antibiotics for at least 24 hours. If she still has a fever of 100.4 or more, she needs to stay home for another day. Most children feel dramatically better in 2-3 days. Please make sure they complete all of the antibiotic. If she doesn't finish the antibiotic, she may not have adequate protection from rheumatic fever, Goodpasture disease or some of the other diseases associated with strep throat.
As always, if you have questions let us know or contact your primary care physician.
~Dr Nan N~
Last updated 8 months ago
Hey, all my breastfeeding moms! Have you heard of Milkies? These are a great tool. One of my clients told me about these, then brought in a sample. They collect the leaking breast milk from your non-nursing breast. You know, when you are nursing, breast milk naturally leaks from the other breast. Milkies collect that leaking milk so that you can use it later. They also negate the need to wear messy, uncomfortable nursing pads while nursing. They are made of baby-safe materials (all BPA free) and are dishwasher safe.
I tried one on and they are quite comfortable. I’m not lactating, but our breast feeding educator has attested to their effectiveness. They are available at MyMilkies.com and are very affordable.
~Dr Nan N~
Last updated 8 months ago
West Nile virus is an infection carried by mosquitoes. This infection flares up every summer and fall. In the US, 1590 cases of West Nile virus have been reported in 2012 by the end of August. There have been many media reports describing worst case scenarios of meningitis and encephalitis. I'd like to present a more balanced piece on West Nile virus, it's symptoms and it's prevention.
The virus was first discovered in Egypt in the late 1930's. It came to the US around 1999. The great majority of people who contract West Nile virus don't even know they're infected. Their symptoms are that mild. This is called "asymptomatic disease." According to the CDC, this asymptomatic form of the illness makes up 80% of cases. Nearly all of the remaining 20% have "mild disease." Symptoms of mild infection include fever, headache, nausea and vomiting. You can also have swollen lymph nodes and a rash. Symptoms appear 2-14 days after a mosquito bite. They generally last 4-5 days, but can persist for weeks.
It is only 1 in 150 cases that develop meningitis or encephalitis. The CDC lists the following symptoms for these severe cases of West Nile virus: high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. Such severe cases of West Nile virus can last for several weeks, leading to permanent neurologic damage or even death. If you have these symptoms, have someone get you to the nearest emergency department right away. While these cases are clearly the minority (less than 1% of infected individuals) they are important because of the damage they cause. While they are not a reason for widespread panic, they show us that we should not take this infection lightly. Treatment for West Nile virus is supportive. That means there is no specific medication to get rid of the virus. However, physicians and nurses can provide treatment that helps symptoms and support of the respiratory and gastrointestinal symptoms.
The West Nile virus was discovered in Egypt in the late 1930's. It has been here in the US since 1999. It is preventable. As the virus is carried by mosquitoes, prevention revolves around them. At this time, there is no immunization for West Nile virus. Many large communities are spraying for mosquitoes. This has been proven to work. There are also things we can do as individuals. We can get rid of standing water. Such water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Freshen water in pet's bowls frequently. Change the water in bird baths weekly. Most importantly, wear insect repellant. If you want to hunt and fish, that's fine. Make insect repellant part of your gear. It should contain a proven pesticide, such as DEET, Picardin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, or IR3535. Mosquitoes are most prevalent at dusk and dawn. Wear long sleeves and long pants at those times. Do you want to go sit outside and watch the Friday night football game? Fine. Wear long sleeves, long pants and insect repellant. And, enjoy the game.
Hopefully, you now have a good understanding of West Nile virus, it's symptoms and it's prevention. Please understand that most cases don't need treatment. While I don't think it's necessary to hide indoors, I do think it is wise to respect this infection. As always, if you have questions, don't hesitate to contact your healthcare provider.
~Dr Nan N~