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'pediatric' posts

What you need to know about Enterovirus D68

Recently, there has been a lot of discussion in the media about a severe type of respiratory illness affecting many children, mainly in the Midwest.  (As of today, we have no confirmed cases in Washington. Although there are some patients in local area hospitals suspected to be infected, their test results are still being processed and nothing has been verified so far.)  The respiratory illness, caused by an infection with Enterovirus D68, is scary to parents, because it’s hard to differentiate whether their child is ill from this particular virus or just has one of the many other viruses that cause cold- and flu-like symptoms around this time of year.
 
Sometimes media reports leave families with more questions than answers, which is why Dr. Dianne Glover, one of Swedish’s pediatric infectious disease specialists, wanted to share this information with you:

  • Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) is an unusual form of an otherwise common group of viruses referred to as Enteroviruses.  These are hardy viruses that usually spread by the respiratory route, but can also spread by fecal-oral route.  It is even possible to become infected by touching a surface contaminated with these viruses.

  • EV-D68 causes a respiratory illness which can quickly progress from a child behaving like they have a simple runny nose and mild cough to then having serious difficulty breathing.  Children ....

How to treat babies with forceful vomiting (pyloric stenosis)

Pyloric Stenosis (or infantile hypertrophic pyloric stenosis) is a condition characterized by forceful vomiting in an infant due to hypertrophy of the pylorus muscle leading to gastric outlet obstruction. This means the muscle where the stomach empties into the small intestine becomes too thick and prevents emptying. As a result, after eating, the baby vomits. The reason for this happening is not known but is likely caused by many things and family history can play a role. Pyloric stenosis is rare, occurring in about 3 of  every 1,000 live births, and most often occurs between the ages of 3-6 weeks, is more common in males, and 1/3 of the time occurs in a first-born child.
 
Vomit from pyloric stenosis usually consists of just milk or formula. Any vomit with color should raise suspicion for other diagnoses. Parents report vomiting from pyloric stenosis as forceful and projectile. Infants are often hungry after vomiting, wanting to continue eating, however eating usually continues the cycle of vomiting.
 
How to treat pyloric stenosis
 
To ...

How to prevent food poisoning

Many of us are aware of the recent nationwide recall of peaches and other fruit due to the potential of bacterial contamination.  Although thankfully, no illnesses have been reported so far, I’d like to take this opportunity to refresh our knowledge about ways to avoid food borne illness or food poisoning.

 
According to The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), food poisoning affects approximately 1 in 6 Americans every year. Often it results in relatively mild symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea and vomiting that resolve within a day or so. However, food poisoning can also lead to more dangerous and even deadly outcomes, which is why food safety is so important! 
 
So how should we protect our family from food borne illness?   It’s pretty easy!  Just remember 4 basic steps:  clean, separate, cook and chill!

Bellyaches in Kids (and the “Und Here” Syndrome)

Bellyaches, stomachaches, or belly pain in school-age children are a common occurrence.  At least half of the children that get referred to pediatric gastroenterologists like me come for treatment of their chronic, recurrent abdominal pain.  Parents often feel frustrated because despite multiple visits to physicians, even emergency rooms, they are left with more questions than answers all whilst their child continues to suffer.

A typical scenario is a child whose pain seems worst in the mornings after awakening and towards the evening, especially after dinner or before bedtime.  Often the child doesn’t want to eat breakfast and if forced, tells his parents he feels nauseated.   When asked where the pain is, the child most often points to the area around his belly button.

More often than not, depending on a few other factors, the diagnosis ends up being ...

Pet therapy for kids in the hospital at Swedish

During most hospital stays, a patient can expect to be visited and cared for by doctors, nurses, therapists and even social workers.  But did you know that at Swedish, we not only have a wonderful team of caregivers to provide the most optimal health care and we also have additional beneficial services like pet therapy?

Pet therapy is a wonderful service that Swedish provides to all pediatric patients and families who are not on isolation precautions.  A trained handler escorts a certified pet therapy dog room to room, visiting patients and their families at the bedside, taking the time to provide therapeutic services to all who would like it. 

Spending time with an animal has been proven to improve patient’s emotional status and ability to cope with their hospital stay.  Each pet therapy partner ...

Reducing fear for kids who need blood tests or shots

Imagine the following scenario:  for several weeks, your daughter has been complaining of a tummy ache.  You find yourself sitting in her doctor’s office hoping to uncover what’s wrong.  Your daughter is nervous, but you’re doing your best to assure her that the doctor will come in soon, ask a few questions and make the pain go away. 
 
Just as the visit comes to a close, the doctor mentions that he’d like to “run some tests”.  Immediately, the looks on your daughter’s face changes, and you know she’s scared.   Tears well-up in her eyes as she whispers in your ear, “What tests, mommy?  What does he mean….Are they going to poke me?”  Whispers soon escalate into screams, “How big is the needle?  Does this mean I’m getting shots? NO!  No shots! Please mommy, no shots!”
 
Being a phlebotomist, this is a common scenario that I know all too well.  Since I came to work at the Swedish Pediatric Specialty Care clinic almost 2 years ago, I’ve made it my personal challenge to make a child’s phlebotomy experience as smooth and pleasant as possible.  The entire team here is committed to show children that doctor visits can be fun.  Even though part of the medical experience may include having blood drawn, it doesn’t have to be painful or scary. 
 
Some of the tools I use to make children feel less nervous include ...

Kids and lactose intolerance

Do you wonder if your child might have “lactose intolerance”?    Have you ever thought of removing dairy from your child’s diet?  If the answer to either of these questions is yes, here are a few things to remember when it comes to lactose intolerance in kids:

  • Lactose is broken down by lactase.

While lactose is the carbohydrate (sugar) found in milk, lactase is the enzyme that digests the sugar. This enzyme is found in the lining of the small intestine, breaks down lactose into simpler molecules that are easier to absorb.  When there isn’t enough lactase, the sugar isn’t properly absorbed, which leads to the symptoms of “intolerance”, which include gas, bloating, pain and diarrhea.

  • True lactose intolerance is rare in young children.

Although children as young as infants can “transiently” have less lactase in their digestive tracts (most often, this happens for a week or two after an infection), lactase production remains ...

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