Last updated 8 months ago
A new school year has started, and this is a good time to discuss concussions. A concussion is a brain injury, usually caused by an impact to the head. Symptoms can range from confusion and disorientation to loss of consciousness. The concern with concussions, is that multiple such head injuries lead to memory-related diseases like Alzheimers. Most concussions in teens and youth occur during car accidents. We have a new group of young drivers with this new school year. Also, over 40,000 high school students suffer concussions every year while playing football. Concussions from both of these causes are somewhat preventable. Concussions that occur during football are receiving a lot of attention. That is because the recurrent concussions from repeated injuries are much more preventable. Football is associated with a number of injuries, even death. The two most common are heat stroke and concussion.
Sports related head injuries account for over 20% of all traumatic brain injuries of childhood in the US. Since many of these occur during football, efforts are being made to protect teens. Impact forces on helmets are being studied, and helmets have been re-engineered. Football coaches and trainers are being taught how to administer testing at the time of an injury. There are several programs available, such as ImPACT and REAP that provide guidelines, protocols and baseline testing. If you have teens playing football, you need to make sure that such protocols are being followed at their school. Also, make sure their helmet fits properly, so it won't come off during play.
Baseline testing is key. This testing needs to be done at the beginning of the season, prior to any injuries. A good baseline test examines your teen for attention span, memory, sustained and selective attention time, non-verbal problem solving and reaction time. Such testing should be repeated 2-3 times to establish an accurate baseline. This same testing should be repeated at the sidelines, immediately after any significant impact to the helmet. Please, remember, not all concussions result in loss of consciousness. Do not wait until your teen passes out from an injury to have this testing done. If a sideline assessment indicates a concussion, your teen should be immediately removed from play, AND should follow up with his or her physician in 24-72 hours.
If your child sustains a concussion, they are usually restricted from play for a week, longer if is their second or third concussion in a season. Your physician may choose to let your child return to sports sooner. These decisions are made on an individual basis. At the very least, he or she should be completely symptom free for 24 hours. Symptoms can easily persist for 4-5 days. During this recovery phase, your teen may have additional restrictions. He or she may be put on brain rest. Brain rest means that certain every day activities are off limits so that the brain can actually rest. This may mean no school or physical activity. It also means no computer use or social media, no video games, no text messages, and no reading for school or homework.All of these activities require the brain to do extra work, which uses up the sugar in your blood. Healing of the brain also uses this sugar, called glucose. We don't want different parts of the brain competing for glucose, as this will slow healing. Have your teen see their physician soon after then injury, to see how much brain rest may be indicated.
All of this may seem like overtreatment to some parents. However, the link between multiple head injuries and later memory problems is quite strong. Also, if a teen plays sports while their concentration is decreased, they are at risk for additional injuries. Many parents feel that the newer helmets take care of all this. However, many teens feel that these helmets protect so well that they can take extra chances. We've seen some intentional spearing in practice already this season.
We want our teens to enjoy their youth. Let's help them to do it safely. As always, if you have questions or comments, please let me know.
~Dr Nan N~
Last updated 9 months ago
As a mother or father, the health and safety of your children is sure to be your top priority. Check out these resources from around the web for more information on handling venomous bites and keeping your children safe while playing outdoors. Call pediatrician Dr. Nan Nuessle at (620) 330-8188 for more information on our general pediatrics care and telemedicine services for families of Independence.
Last updated 9 months ago
With summer in full swing, more and more children are spending their time outdoors. While this is a great way for them to stay active and interact with other children, playing outdoors can also lead to a number of injuries. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to keep your children safe while outdoors and avoid the need to visit your pediatrician.
Use Sunscreen and Bug Spray
Your children’s delicate skin is extra-sensitive to the sun’s ultraviolet rays, so make sure they are wearing sunscreen that provides for both UVA and UVB protection. It is important to reapply sunscreen every few hours, especially if your child is playing in the pool or running around in the sprinklers. It is also a good idea to use bug spray on your child to avoid insect bites.
Teach Your Children about Dangerous Items
There are a number of insects, spiders, and snakes in Independence that can pose a potential risk to your child’s health. For this reason, you will want to take the time to educate your child on which hazards to avoid and why. This also includes poisonous plants and wild mushrooms.
Impose Safety Restrictions
It is always a good idea to impose safety restrictions on your child regardless of whether or not they are playing outside under adult supervision. Older children, for example, may be allowed to play in the front or backyard unsupervised, meaning that you will want to create rules for them, such as wearing a helmet when riding a bike, coming inside when the sun goes down , or not crossing the street.
Dr. Nan Nuessle is your number-one resource for high-quality pediatric care in Independence, KS. Dr. Nuessle provides a number of pediatric services including same-day cold and flu visits, sports nutrition and physicals, telemedicine, and treatment for asthma, AHD, and congenital heart disease. For more information on our services, or to set up an appointment, call (620) 330-8188 today!
Last updated 9 months ago
Sugar and artificial sweeteners are common ingredients in a multitude of foods. We all know that we need to avoid them. However, it is hard to avoid something you can't see. The FDA is trying to change food labeling laws to make added sugar more visible. This is a change that would give consumers information to make healthy choices. It includes white sugar, brown sugar, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup and fructose. Almost everything we eat has some form of sugar in it. Many of the foods that we consider to be healthy choices have quite a lot of sugar in them. This includes such things as yogurt with fruit or low fat salad dressings.
I'm not here today to discuss which sweeteners are better for you. I'm not here to condemn white sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Furthermore, I'm not suggesting that we get rid of all sugar. I'm advocating that we give consumers information and allow them to choose. I could have titled this blog "Sugar, sugar where art thou?" but the answer is everywhere. Sugar is needed in bread for the yeast to rise correctly. It is added to ketchup and no one would eat ice cream that didn't have sugar or some other sweetener. However, with the proposed labeling, I can line up 3 loaves of bread and see which one has the least added sugar. I can then choose for myself how much of added sugar I want in my diet. When combined with current labeling, I can also choose which sugars I want added to my food.
The food industry is fighting this proposal. They don't want us to see how many grams of sugar are in ketchup, or yogurt with fruit. They know Americans have a love affair with sweet foods. However, we also have an epidemic of obesity and diabetes. I know that parents want to make the right choices. Give us the tools we need to fight back. Support the FDA in this labeling proposal.
Last updated 9 months ago
If your child suffers a snake bite, it’s important to remain calm and take the appropriate actions.
In this video, a professional snake handler provides tips on treating a child who has suffered a snake bite. You don’t necessarily need to have seen the snake in order to obtain emergency medical care for a possible venomous bite. However, if you do see the animal, be sure to note the color, size, and patterns. It is crucial to seek immediate medical attention for your child regardless of the type of bite. Learn more in this full video.
Let pediatric physician Dr. Nan Nuessle ensure the health and wellness of your child by contacting our Independence-based office at (620) 330-8188. You can also check out our website for more information on our general pediatric services.