kids swimming in the pool

Pool Dangers and Drowning Prevention―When It’s Not Swimming Time by Colleen Kraft M.D.

Swimming pools can have a powerful pull on little children―even when it's not swimming time. Those glistening turquoise-blue ripples may look especially inviting to an active toddler or an overly confident preschooler.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends several ways parents can help keep children safe around home swimming pools and hot tubs―all year long―in your own backyard, your neighbor's, or on vacation.

Fact: Most drownings in kids 4 and under happen in home swimming pools.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) studied drownings among children age 4 and under in Arizona, California, and Florida, where pools are especially common. It found that nearly 70% of the children were not expected to be at or in the pool, yet they were found in the water. In fact, 46% of the children were last seen in the house.

kids swimming in the poolPool fences are for above-ground pools that are portable as well as those that are permanent, inground pools, and hot tubs.

Between 2013 and 2015, most (58%) drownings among children age 4 and under took place in a pool or spa at their own home. Most children drowned when they wander out of the house and fell into a swimming pool that was not fenced off from the house. They slipped out a door, climbed out a window, or even crawled through a doggy door to access the pool.

But, a family swimming pool isn't the only one a child can get into unnoticed. More than a quarter (27%) of drownings among children age 4 and under took place at the home of a friend, relative or neighbor. Only some individual states and municipalities have laws requiring pool safety fences; there is no national pool fence law. Whenever your child will be in someone else's home, always check for ways your child could access pools and other potential hazards.

Pool fencing recommendations:

  • 4 feet, 4 sides. The pool fence should be at least 4 feet high and completely surround the pool, separating it from the house and the rest of the yard.

  • Climb-proof. The fence shouldn't have any footholds, handholds, or objects such as lawn furniture or play equipment the child could use to climb over the fence. Chain-link fences are very easy to climb and are not recommended as pool fences. (If they are used, make sure openings are 1¾ inches or smaller in size).

  • Slat space. To ensure a small child can't squeeze through the fence, make sure vertical slats have no more than 4 inches of space between them. This will also help keep small pets safe, too.

  • Latch height. The fence should have a self-closing and self-latching gate that only opens out, away from the pool area. The latch should be out of a child's reach—at least 54 inches from the ground.

  • Gate locked, toy-free. When the pool is not in use, make sure the gate is locked. Keep toys out of the pool area when it is not in use.


Drowning is silent. Alarms break that silence.

  • Pool alarms. Children can drown within seconds, with barely a splash. Swimming pool alarms can detect waves on the water's surface and sound off to attract attention when someone has fallen into the pool.

  • Consider alarms on the pool fence gate and house doors. Door and gate alarms can be equipped with touchpads to let adults pass through without setting them off. House doors should be locked if a child could get to the pool through them.

  • Window guards. These can be especially helpful for windows on the house that face the pool.


What Else Can Parents Do?

Even with safety measures in place, parents should be prepared in case that their child gets into a swimming pool unseen. Some precautions that may help:

  • Life jackets: Put your child in a properly fitted US Coast Guard approved life jacket when around or near water, such as when visiting a home with a pool.

  • Swim lessons. The AAP recommends swim lessons as a layer of protection against drowning that can begin for many children starting at age 1. Learn more here.

  • CPR training. Parents, caregivers, and pool owners should know CPR and how to get emergency help. Keep equipment approved by the U.S. Coast Guard, such as life preservers and life jackets at poolside.

  • Check the water first. If a child is missing, look for him or her in the pool or spa first. This is especially important if your child is prone to wandering.

  • Spread the word. Share this article on social media and with family, friends, and neighbors


The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.

 

 

Skin Exams and Early Detection of Melanoma by Alison Sims M.D.

A common question asked during any routine office visit at our urgent care is “by the way, doctor, could you also look at this spot on my skin and tell me if it is something to worry about?” I am happy that so many people are checking their skin for unusual spots. Early detection of skin cancer increases survival rates for those patients who are diagnosed with melanoma. I encourage prevention with sunscreen and clothing, and promote early detection by educating my patients on regular skin self-examinations.

Melanoma is the most feared and deadliest of the skin cancers. The incidence of melanoma has been rising worldwide for the past two decades and now it is the sixth most common cancer in North America. Living in Southern California our sun exposure is much higher, and the risk of melanoma is higher in geographical areas with strong sun. Other risk factors include a history of sunburns in childhood and teenage years, a tendency to freckle, a high number of moles, phototypes with lighter skin, hair and eye color, and a personal or family history in first-degree relatives of melanoma.

Most melanomas are detected by patients themselves, and the more you know about what to look for, the better off you are at protecting you and your loved ones. In the last 10 years the two most common checklists used for identifying suspicious lesions that should be further evaluated have been revised. These simple criteria will help you to distinguish between an ordinary harmless mole, and a potentially cancerous skin lesion.

Read these checklists carefully and maybe even post them somewhere in your bathroom as a reminder to check yourself head to toe when you are undressed.

ABCDE Rules

A = Asymmetry (if a lesion is bisected, one half is not identical to the other half)

B = Border irregularities

C  = Color variegation (a combination of brown, red, black, blue/gray, or white)

D  = Diameter greater than or equal to 6 mm (about the size of a pencil eraser)

E  = Evolving: a lesion that is changing in size, shape, color, or a brand new lesion

(Source JAMA. 2004;292(22):2771)

Glasgow Seven-Point Checklist

MAJOR FEATURES (indications for referral to dermatologist):  

  • Change in size/new lesion

  • Change in shape

  • Change in color


MINOR FEATURES (reinforces that a referral is needed):

  • Diameter greater than or equal to 7mm

  • Inflammation

  • Crusting or bleeding


(Source Br J Dermatology. 2010;163(2):238)

If you are middle-aged and have a light complexion then it is recommended that you have a baseline skin exam by a physician and annual rechecks. In addition, skin self-examinations at home should be monthly, and ideally with a friend or family member so that the back of the body is examined. Use a bright light source and a magnifying lens if necessary, and be sure to check areas that are not sun exposed as well. Your exam should include the entire head, neck and scalp, all surfaces of the arms, legs, hands, feet, webs of fingers and toes, palms and soles, nail beds, back, buttocks, and even private parts. You should also know that suspicious lesions may not be dark in color as there are some rare melanomas that are called “amelanotic” and can be nonpigmented. Happy hunting and spread the word, melanoma can be detected early!

The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.

 

Protecting Your Baby from a Measles Outbreak by Colleen Kraft, M.D.

Measles is wildly contagious. How worried should parents be if their baby is too young for the vaccine? Nearly 1 out of every 3 children under the age of 5 who catches measles ends up in the hospital. Are some babies at a greater risk? What, if anything, can parents do to protect their little ones?

Here are some answers from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

How soon can my baby get the measles vaccine?

The recommended age for the first dose of measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine is 12 to 15 months of age. If you live in a community experiencing an outbreak, or if you travel internationally, your baby may be vaccinated as early as 6 months of age. Talk with your pediatrician if this applies to you.

Babies who get one dose of MMR vaccine before their first birthday should get two more doses (one dose at 12 through 15 months of age and another dose at least 28 days later).

My baby is too young for the vaccine. Is there anything I can do to protect her?

Wash your hands! Just as you would to prevent germs at any time, use soap and water and scrub for at least 20 seconds. Remind others in your home or anyone who is near your baby to do the same.

Other things that can help:

  • Limit your baby's exposure to crowds, other children, and anyone with colds.

  • Go germ-free. Disinfect objects and surfaces in your home regularly.

  • Feed your baby breastmilk. It has unique antibodiesto prevent and fight infections.


Remember, the measles virus can live for two hours on a surface or suspended in the air.

Babies at a greater risk for catching measles include:

  • Ones under 12 months who have not received the measles vaccine.

  • Ones in a child care setting or living in crowded living conditions.

  • Ones with older siblings.

  • Ones who are not breastfed


If you are planning an international trip, consider your baby's age.

  • Babies less than 6 months old who are too young to be vaccinated may still have some protection from the antibodies from their mother. However, if you are traveling with an infant under 6 months of age to a place with a significant number of measles cases reported, it is worth considering delaying travel as measles can still be very severe in these young infants.

  • Babies 6 to 11 months old should receive the MMR vaccine (and the hepatitis A vaccine), but still require two doses of vaccine at age 12 months or older.

  • Babies 12 months and older should receive their first dose of MMR vaccine in addition to the other vaccines recommended at that age. Infants 12 months and older may also receive a second dose of the MMR vaccine as soon as 28 days after the first dose.


What are the signs and symptoms of measles in babies?

Infants and children can be contagious four days before they even show any symptoms!

Measles typically starts like a bad cold with symptoms such as fever, cough, runny nose, and conjunctivitis (pink eye). A rash then starts to develop on the head and spreads down to the rest of the body. Many children also get ear infections.

While the main symptoms of measles are bad enough, the reason we vaccinate against measles are to prevent the complications associated with it―such as pneumonia and encephalitis (an infection of the brain).

What is the outlook for a child who gets measles?

Not good. In the US, 1-2 out of every 1,000 children who get measles die from it. A similar number of children suffer from encephalitis and many go on to have long-term brain damage. The disease is even more severe in developing countries, where as many as 1 out of 3 children who get measles die from it.

Why don't babies get the MMR shot sooner?

The MMR vaccine is a live vaccine, which means it contains weakened forms of the viruses. In order to work, those weakened forms of the virus need to multiply to create an immune response. Since the natural protection newborns get from their moms wears off gradually over a period of months, the viruses may not be able to multiply the way they would when the baby is a little older. That's why we recommend the first dose of the MMR starting at 12 months of age. Not because it's too dangerous but because that's the age at which the vaccine works best.

What about pregnant moms?

Most women of child-bearing age have been vaccinated against measles, mumps, and rubella―and therefore are protected against these diseases.

If for some reason a pregnant woman was not previously vaccinated against measles, she cannot receive the MMR vaccine until after delivery. This is because the MMR vaccine is prepared with weakened live viruses (in contrast to many vaccines that are prepared with killed viruses), so doctors usually advise avoiding pregnancy for at least one month after receiving the vaccine to reduce the risk of becoming infected.

Do parents and grandparents need a booster MMR shot?

Anyone born before 1957 is generally considered immune to measles. This means they are fully protected from measles for life and no additional vaccination is necessary.

If you're unsure whether you're immune to measles, you should first try to find your vaccination records or documentation of measles immunity. If you do not have written documentation of measles immunity, you should get the MMR vaccine. There is no harm in getting another dose of MMR vaccine if you may already be immune to measles (or mumps or rubella).

The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.

 

 

Constantly Connected: The Effects of Media on Children & Teens by Colleen Kraft, M.D.

Today's children and teens are growing up immersed in digital media. They are exposed to media in all forms, including TV, computers, smartphones, and other screens.

Media can influence how children and teens feel, learn, think, and behave.

What We Know:

Here are facts about digital media use.

  • Almost 75% of teens own a smartphone. They can access the Internet, watch TV and videos, and download interactive applications (apps). Mobile apps allow photo-sharing, gaming, and video-chatting.

  • 25% of teens describe themselves as "constantly connected" to the Internet.

  • 76% of teens use at least one social media site. More than 70% of teens visit multiple social media sites, such as Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram.

  • 4 of 5 households (families) own a device used to play video games.


Why It's Good to Unplug:

Overuse of digital media and screens may place your child or teen at risk of

  • Obesity. Excessive screen use, as well as having a TV in the bedroom, can increase the risk of obesity. Teens who watch more than 5 hours of TV per day are 5 times more likely to be overweight than teens who watch 0 to 2 hours.

  • Sleep problems. Media use can interfere with sleep. Children and teens who spend more time with social media or who sleep with mobile devices in their rooms are at greater risk for sleep problems. Exposure to light (particularly blue light) and stimulating content from screens can delay or disrupt sleep, and have a negative effect on school.

  • Problematic internet use. Children who overuse online media can be at risk for problematic Internet use. There may be increased risks for depression at the high end of Internet use.

  • Negative effect on school performance. Children and teens often use entertainment media at the same time that they're doing other things, such as homework. Such multi-tasking can have a negative effect on school.

  • Risky behaviors. Teens' displays on social media often show risky behaviors, such as substance use, sexual behaviors, self-injury, or eating disorders. Exposure of teens through media to alcohol, tobacco use, or sexual behaviors is associated with earlier initiation of these behaviors.

  • Sexting and privacy and predators. Sexting is sending nude or semi-nude images as well as sexually explicit text messages using a cell phone. About 12% of youth age 10 to 19 years of age have sent a sexual photo to someone else. Teens need to know that once content is shared with others they may not be able to delete or remove it completely. They may also not know about or choose not to use privacy settings.

  • Cyberbullying. Children and teens online can be victims of cyberbullying. Cyberbullying can lead to short- and long-term negative social, academic, and health issues for both the bully and the target. Fortunately, programs to help prevent bullying may reduce cyberbullying.


Your Family Plan?

Children today are growing up in a time of highly personalized media use experiences, so parents must develop personalized media use plans for their children. Media plans should take into account each child's age, health, personality, and developmental stage. All children and teens need adequate sleep (8-12 hours, depending on age), physical activity (1 hour), and time away from media.

The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.

 

 

Kids & Diet: Fat, Salt, and Sugar by Colleen Kraft, M.D.

Getting children to eat healthy, nutritious food can sometimes present challenges. It’s important for both children and adults to be sensible and enjoy all foods and beverages, but not to overdo it on any one type of food. Sweets and higher-fat snack foods in appropriate portions are OK in moderation.

Childhood is the best time to start heart healthy eating habits, but adult goals for cutting back on total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol are not meant generally for children younger than 2 years.

Fat is an Essential Nutrient for Children

Fat supplies the energy, or calories, children need for growth and active play and should not be severely restricted.

Dangers of High Fat Intake

However, high fat intake—particularly a diet high in saturated fats—can cause health problems, including heart disease later in life. Saturated fats are usually solid at room temperatures and are found in fatty meats (such as beef, pork, ham, veal, and lamb) and many dairy products (whole milk, cheese, and ice cream). For that reason, after age 2 children should be served foods that are lower in fat and saturated fats.

Healthier, More Low-Fat, Low-Cholesterol Foods for Children Over Age 2:

  • Poultry

  • Fish

  • Lean meat (broiled, baked, or roasted; not fried)

  • Low-fat dairy products

  • Low-saturated fat oils from vegetables


 

The General Rule on Fats

As a general guideline, fats should make up less than 30% of the calories in your child’s diet, with no more than about one-third or fewer of those fat calories coming from saturated fat and the remainder from unsaturated (polyunsaturated or monounsaturated) fats. These include vegetable oils like corn, safflower, sunflower, soybean, and olive. Parents often find the information about various types of fat confusing. In general, oils and fats derived from animal origin are saturated. The simplest place to start is merely to reduce the amount of fatty foods of all types in your family’s diet.

Serve Children Foods Low in Salt

Table salt, or sodium chloride, may improve the taste of certain foods. However, researchers have found a relationship between dietary salt and high blood pressure in some individuals and population groups. High blood pressure afflicts about 25% of adult Americans and contributes to heart attacks and strokes.

Check Sodium Levels in Processed Foods

Processed foods often contain higher amounts of sodium. Check food labels for levels of sodium in:

  • Processed cheese

  • Instant puddings

  • Canned vegetables

  • Canned soups

  • Hot dogs

  • Salad dressings

  • Pickles

  • Certain breakfast cereals

  • Potato chips and other snacks


 

Sugar in Your Child's Diet: Go for Natural!

Caloric sweeteners range from simple sugars, like fructose and glucose, to common table sugar, molasses, honey, and high fructose corn syrup. Although the main use of sugar is as a sweetener, sugar has other uses. Sugars in foods, whether natural or added, provide calories—the fuel that supplies energy necessary for daily activities. And if given the choice, many children would probably request sugary foods and beverages for breakfast, lunch, and dinner—research shows that humans are naturally drawn to sweet tastes. Whole fruit is a great choice because it combines fiber and other nutrients along with a delicious snack!

The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.

 

 

Healthy Sleep Habits: How Many Hours Does Your Child Need? By Colleen Kraft, M.D.

From infants and toddlers to school-aged kids and teens, parents want to know how many hours of sleep are recommended. While it's true that sleep needs vary from one person to another, there are some very reasonable, science-based guidelines to help you determine whether your child is getting the sleep he or she needs to grow, learn, and play.

Childhood Sleep Guidelines

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) provides some helpful guidelines regarding just how much sleep children need at different stages in their development. Keep in mind that these numbers reflect total sleep hours in a 24-hour period. So if your son or daughter still naps, you'll need to take that into account when you add up his or her typical sleep hours.

Do those numbers surprise you?

If those numbers are surprising to you, you're not alone. Working and single parents, especially, are often forced to get by on 5, 6, or even fewer hours of sleep each night. This is likely impacting your own social and mental functioning, as well as increasing your risk for other health problems. It might be tempting to think that your children can also get by with less sleep than they need, or that they should be able to cope fairly well with a few skipped hours here and there. However, all children thrive on a regular bedtime routine. Regular sleep deprivation often leads to some pretty difficult behaviors and health problems—irritability, difficulty concentrating, hypertension, obesity, headaches, and depression. Children who get enough sleep have a healthier immune system, and better school performance, behavior, memory, and mental health.

Healthy Sleep Habits - Tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics



The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) supports the AASM guidelines and encourages parents to make sure their children develop good sleep habits right from the start.

  • Make sufficient sleep a family priority. Understand the importance of getting enough sleep and how sleep affects the overall health of you and your children. Remember that you are a role model to your child; set a good example. Staying up all night with your teen to edit his or her paper or pulling an all-nighter for work yourself isn't really sending the right message. Making sleep a priority for yourself shows your children that it's part of living a healthy lifestyle—like eating right and exercising regularly.

  • Keep to a regular daily routine. The same waking time, meal times, nap time, and play times will help your child feel secure and comfortable. Make sure the sleep routines you use can be used anywhere, so you can help your child get to sleep wherever you may be.

  • Be active during the day. Make sure your kids have interesting and varied activities during the day, including physical activity and fresh air.

  • Monitor screen time. Keep all screens—TVs, computers, laptops, tablets, and phones out of children's bedrooms, especially at night. To prevent sleep disruption, turn off all screens at least 1 hour before bedtime

  • Create a sleep-supportive and safe bedroom and home environment. Dim the lights prior to bedtime and control the temperature in the home. Don't fill up your child's bed with toys. Keep your child's bed a place to sleep, rather than a place to play.

  • Realize that teens require more sleep, not less. sleep-wake cycles begin to shift up to two hours later at the start of puberty. At the same time, most high schools require students to get to school earlier and earlier.

  • Avoid overscheduling. In addition to homework, many children today have scheduled evening activities (i.e., sports games, lessons, appointments, etc.) that pose challenges to getting a good night's sleep. Take time to wind down and give your children the downtime that they need.

  • Learn to recognize sleep problems. The most common sleep problems in children include difficulty falling asleep, nighttime awakenings, snoring, stalling and resisting going to bed, sleep apnea, and loud or heavy breathing while sleeping.


The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.

 

 

Does My Child Need an Antibiotic? By Colleen Kraft, M.D.

Parents need to know that using antibiotics when they are not the right medicine will not help and may even cause harm to children.

Antibiotics are medicines used to treat infections and they target bacteria, not viruses. Before prescribing an antibiotic, your child's doctor will find out if it is the right medicine to treat your child's infection.

  1.  My child has a really bad cold. Why won't the doctor prescribe an antibiotic?  


Colds are caused by viruses. Antibiotics are used specifically for infections caused by bacteria. In general, most common cold symptoms—such as runny nose, cough, and congestion—are mild and your child will get better without using any medicines.

  1.  Don't some colds turn into bacterial infections? So why wait to start an antibiotic?  




In most cases, bacterial infections do not follow viral infections. Using antibiotics to treat viral infections may instead lead to an infection caused by resistant bacteria. Also, your child may develop diarrhea or other side effects. If your child develops watery diarrhea, diarrhea with blood in it, or other side effects while taking an antibiotic, call your child's doctor.

  1.  Isn't a nose draining yellow or green mucus a sign of a bacterial infection?  


During a common cold, it is normal for mucus from the nose to get thick and to change from clear to yellow or green. Symptoms often last for 10 days.

Sinusitis is a term that means inflammation of the lining of the nose and sinuses. A virus or allergy can cause sinusitis and in some cases, bacteria can be the cause.

There are certain signs that bacteria may be involved in your child's respiratory illness. If your child has a common cold with cough and green mucus that lasts longer than 10 days, or if your child has thick yellow or green mucus and a fever higher than 102°F (39°C) for at least 3 or 4 days, this may be a sign of bacterial sinusitis.

  1.  Aren't antibiotics needed to treat ear infections?  


Not all ear infections are treated with antibiotics. At least half of all ear infections go away without antibiotics. If your child does not have a high fever or severe ear pain, your child's doctor may recommend observation initially. Pain is often the first and most uncomfortable symptom of ear infection, your child's doctor will suggest pain medicine to ease your child's pain. Acetaminophen and ibuprofen are over-the-counter pain medicines that may help lessen much of the pain. Be sure to use the right dose for your child's age and size. In most cases, pain and fever will improve within the first 1 to 2 days.

There are also ear drops that may help ear pain for a short time. You can ask your child's doctor if your child should use these drops. Over-the-counter cold medicines (decongestants and antihistamines) don't help clear up ear infections and are not recommended for young children. Your child's doctor may prescribe antibiotics if your child has fever that is increasing, more severe ear pain, and infection in both eardrums.

  1.  Aren't antibiotics used to treat all sore throats?  


​​No. More than 80% of sore throats are caused by a virus. If your child has sore throat, runny nose, and a barky cough, a virus is the likely cause and a test for "strep" is not needed and should not be performed. Antibiotics should only be used to treat sore throats caused by group A streptococci. Infection caused by this type of bacteria is called "strep throat." Strep throat generally affects school-aged children and not children younger than 3 years. If your child's doctor suspects strep throat based on your child's symptoms, a strep test should always be performed. If the test is positive, antibiotics will be prescribed.

  1.  Do antibiotics cause any side effects?  


Side effects can occur in 1 out of every 10 children who take an antibiotic. Side effects may include rashes, allergic reactions, nausea, diarrhea, and stomach pain. Make sure you let your child's doctor know if your child has had a reaction to antibiotics.  Sometimes a rash will occur during the time a child is taking an antibiotic. However, not all rashes are considered allergic reactions. Tell your child's doctor if you see a rash that looks like hives (red welts); this may be an allergic reaction. If your child has an allergic reaction that causes an itchy rash, or hives, this will be noted in her medical record.

  1.  How long does it take an antibiotic to work?  


Most bacterial infections improve within 48 to 72 hours of starting an antibiotic. If your child's symptoms get worse or do not improve within 72 hours, call your child's doctor. If your child stops taking the antibiotic too soon, the infection may not be treated completely and the symptoms may start again.

  1.  Can antibiotics lead to resistant bacteria?  


The repeated use and misuse of antibiotics can lead to resistant bacteria. Resistant bacteria are bacteria that are no longer killed by the antibiotics commonly used to treat bacterial infection. These resistant bacteria can also be spread to other children and adults.

It is important that your child use the antibiotic that is most specific for your child's infection rather than an antibiotic that would treat a broader range of infections.  If your child does develop an antibiotic-resistant infection, a special type of antibiotic may be needed. Sometimes, these medicines need to be given by IV (vein) in the hospital.

  1.  How can I use antibiotics safely?



  • Antibiotics aren't always the answer when your child is sick. Ask your child's doctor what the best treatment is for your child.

  • Ask your child's doctor if the antibiotic being prescribed is the best for your child's type of bacterial infection. For instance, certain antibiotics such as azithromycin are no longer effective for the bacteria causing most ear and sinus infections.

  • Antibiotics work against bacterial infections. They don't work on colds and flu.

  • Make sure that you give the medicine exactly as directed.

  • Don't use one child's antibiotic for a sibling or friend; you may give the wrong medicine and cause harm.

  • Throw away unused antibiotics. Do not save antibiotics for later use; some out-of-date medicines can actually be harmful. Call Poison Help at 1-800-222-1222 or check the US Food and Drug Administration Web site for information on the safe disposal of medicines.


The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.

 

 

Q. and A. with Dr. Kiskila- This Month’s Topic: Dandruff

dr. kiskilaQuestion- Dr. Kiskila, what is a dandruff?

Answer- Dandruff is a mild case of seborrheic dermatitis which is a skin condition that causes white flakes or scaly patches on the skin of your head or hair.

Question- How do I get dandruff?

Answer- Dandruff typically affects areas with many oil glands on the head that get hot and sweaty. There are other variables that could contribute to dandruff as well such as:

  • Brushing hair infrequently- When you brush your hair, you help assist the natural shedding of skin.

  • Dry skin

  • Seborrheic dermatitis- irritated skin that is oily.

  • Shampooing too frequently- the scalp could become irritated.

  • Winter cold weather combined with overheated rooms can cause scalp to become flaky and itchy.


 

Question- What are the symptoms of dandruff?

Answer- Itching, scaly flakes or patches on skin that can look greasy or oily.

Question- What is the treatment for dandruff?

Answer- Sometimes dandruff will resolve on its own and no treatment is necessary. Using an over-the-counter anti-dandruff shampoo is all that is needed to treat dandruff. Using over the counter hydrocortisone steroid cream to treat itching and redness if often enough to help symptoms resolve. In some cases, a prescription strength antifungal shampoo is needed to treat dandruff. Skin creams and ointments that have antifungal medications and or steroid medicines can stop itching and redness.

Question- How do I prevent getting dandruff?

Answer- Keeping your head dry and clean and less oily.

The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.

 

 

Influenza, Flu vaccines, and Kids by Colleen Kraft, M.D.

According to the CDC, 180 children under 18 years of age died from influenza, or the flu. More than 80% of those children did not receive a flu vaccine. Flu can be deadly, even to healthy children. Families have shared their experiences of their children being victims of influenza at www.familiesfightingflu.org. Immunization against influenza is one of the most effective strategies toward protecting you and your child from this disease. Common questions and answers are below:
Q: Why is it important for all children aged 6 months and up to get vaccinated?
A: Children, particularly those under age 5, are subject to potentially very severe complications from influenza disease; some of those children are hospitalized. Within that group, children under 2 are especially prone to complications. For everyone aged 6 months and up, the annual flu vaccine is the best way that we have available to protect against complications.

Q: Is it really necessary to vaccinate my child this year if she received a flu shot last year?
A: The flu vaccine has three or four different vaccine virus strains in it. In a typical season, at least one of those strains will change. Also, we know from a number of studies that the antibody response to the vaccine tends to decline over time, so that’s why it’s important to get a flu vaccine every year.

Q: How effective is the vaccine at preventing flu?
A: It depends on how well the vaccine matches the flu strains that are circulating. The vaccine strains have to be chosen well in advance of the flu season starting, and in years when there's a good match, it's likely to work better.It also depends upon a person’s age and health status.

Q: Are there any reasons why a child who's old enough should not get the flu vaccine?
A: The main contraindication for the flu vaccine is a severe allergic reaction to anything that is in the flu vaccine.

Q: How can parents protect babies younger than 6 months from the flu?
A: Since babies under 6 months can’t get a flu shot, it’s important to do everything you can to protect your child. The best way to protect those children is getting the flu vaccine yourself. The people who are in close contact with babies and take care of them should do their best not to get sick themselves, so they don’t spread the flu to the baby.

Q: Does a flu shot given to a pregnant woman protect the newborn baby later on?
A: There have been studies showing that newborns do have some protection from mothers' vaccinations.

Q: How many doses of the flu vaccine does my child need, and how long should we wait between doses?
A: Children from 6 months to 8 years getting the flu vaccine for the first time need to get two doses in order to maximize having a good immune response. If it's your child's first time, she still needs two doses. Or if you don't know what your child got before --- if it's not documented anywhere -- get two doses. The doses should be at least four weeks apart.

Q: Which children are eligible for the nasal spray flu vaccine?
A: The nasal spray is an option for healthy children over age 2 who don't have asthma, chronic medical conditions that cause a suppression of the immune response, or other medical problems that might place them at increased risk for influenza complications. Sometimes doctors' practices run out of it, or they're not able to stock it every year.

Q: How can a parent prepare a child for the flu shot, particularly if the child is afraid of injections?
A: For children who are fearful of an injection, the nasal spray flu vaccine is an option. Otherwise, it's just like any other vaccination, and it may help if the pediatrician has good distraction techniques.

Q: What are the typical reactions to the flu shot?
A: Generally, the most common side effects from the flu shot are local symptoms around the site where the shot was given -- things like soreness, redness, or swelling. Children who get the nasal spray vaccine may have a runny nose, congestion, or cough. After either vaccine, some children may have other symptoms, such as fever or aches. These effects are usually mild and last only one to two days. Severe reactions are rare, but parents could look for a high fever, behavior changes, or signs of a severe allergic reaction, like trouble breathing or hives.

Q: Will the flu shot be painful for my child?
A: There is some pain but it usually goes away fast. And it’s one of the best things you can do to help prevent influenza. There are a lot of things that can impact what your experience is, so it's hard to say. For example, there can be a lot of variability depending on the technique of the person giving the shot.

The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.