Five doctors at Seattle Children’s offer their top tips for keeping kids healthy in the new year. Their suggestions range from protecting kids against the flu and environmental toxins, to helping them get the rest they need to succeed.
Make one of these your family’s 2013 New Year’s resolution:
1. Protect your whole family against the flu
Doug Opel, MD, MPH, general pediatrician at Seattle Children’s Hospital, says “It’s not too late, but don’t wait” to get a flu shot. Opel advises parents to vaccinate their children and themselves against the flu, a contagious virus that infects the nose, throat and lungs, and can cause fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue, vomiting and diarrhea.
Following the tragic shooting in Newtown, Connecticut that has shocked the world, many families may feel uneasy as their children return to school this week. Not only has the tragedy made some parents question their children’s safety at school, but children and teens may also find it difficult to return to their normal routine as they remain concerned about the events that took place.
Seattle Children’s pediatrician and blogger Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson provides helpful advice about how parents can support their children as well as themselves in the next few days and weeks ahead.
Remember your child’s school is safe – Random shootings are an anomaly and it is important to remind yourself that this tragedy was an exception.
Get the information you need – Reach out to your child’s school to ensure there are good safety measures in place.
Step back from media reports – Any overwhelming informational stream can increase anxiety and heartache.
Listen to your children before you speak – Ask what your children have heard and how it makes them feel. If your children don’t speak about it, begin the conversation and ask open-ended questions.
Discuss the safety measures you take in your own home and at school to protect your children from harm.
Check in with your child when they get home from school – Ask open-ended questions to see what they’ve learned or how they’re feeling and continue to check in over the next few weeks. Read full post »
In April 2013, Seattle Children’s will open Building Hope, a new facility that will house a new cancer inpatient unit with 48 single patient rooms. Additionally, Building Hope will include 32 private rooms for critical care treatment and a new Emergency Department.
The cancer care space will span two floors and offer several features that will make a patient and their family’s stay as personalized and comfortable as possible.
A 16-bed teen and young adult cancer space will occupy its own floor, where patients will benefit from the support of their peers in an age-appropriate environment. No other hospital in the United States currently offers a dedicated inpatient unit of this size for the care of teens and young adults with cancer.
If there’s one thing 12-year-old Chloe Schmidt of Pasco, Wash., is thankful for this holiday season, it’s the absence of pain.
For her mom, Erin, it’s the Pain Rehabilitation Program at Seattle Children’s – and the physical and occupational therapists, psychologists, nurses and physicians who helped her daughter move past the pain that derailed her life earlier this year.
Chloe’s downward pain spiral started with a cat bite in January. By February, she had body aches that her pediatrician blamed on growing pains. A week later it morphed into a searing, all-over pain.
That’s when Erin scooped Chloe off the floor and rushed her to a local emergency room.
Kawasaki disease is a condition that can affect many parts of a child’s body, including the mucous membranes (lining of the mouth and breathing passages), skin, eyes, and lymph nodes, which are part of the immune system. The disease is the leading cause of acquired heart disease in children in the U.S, and it can affect the coronary arteries, which supply blood to the heart. This can lead, in rare cases, to heart attack and death.
What causes Kawasaki disease?
There are lots of theories about what causes Kawasaki disease. Researchers have thought that it might be linked to genetics or even the wind, of all things. Patients tend to be diagnosed with the condition more frequently from winter through spring, which suggests a possible environmental trigger. Some investigators have even theorized that carpet mites could be carrying a pathogen that causes the disease. “People had their carpets cleaned and, soon after, their children were diagnosed with Kawasaki disease,” said Michael Portman, MD, of Seattle Children’s Research Institute.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended in 2009 that primary care clinicians should screen adolescents for depression. But a positive result or screen does not mean that every young person needs active treatment—including psychotherapy and medication—for depression, based on a new study led by Laura Richardson, MD, MPH, of Seattle Children’s Research Institute. The study, “Predictors of Persistence Following a Positive Depression Screen among Adolescents,” was published November 19 in Pediatrics.
We’re approaching flu season, a time when you hear a lot about the importance of getting a flu shot, and parents get nervous about children catching the flu. Heck, even parents get nervous about being sick.
Speedy testing for the flu can help ease anxiety for parents – it might be just a common cold, after all. And if it’s not, a fast diagnosis means a child receives the right treatment promptly.
Fastest in the Nation
Seattle Children’s laboratory is the fastest in the nation for producing respiratory virus results. It’s a fact that Mike Astion, MD, PhD, medical director of Lab Medicine, is pretty proud of. He and his team have made a lot of progress to reach that goal in recent years.
In October 2010, Heather Landis received a phone call no expectant mother ever wants to receive. At five months pregnant with their second child, the doctor told Heather and her husband Dale that the baby girl they were expecting would be born with a cleft lip and palate, birth defects that occur early in pregnancy. After the initial shock of the diagnosis, the Landis’s began preparing themselves for the difficult road that awaited them. Struggling with her emotions, Heather put what she was feeling into a candid and personal blog detailing the months before and after the birth of her daughter, Danielle.
Her blog detailed Danielle’s trips to Seattle Children’s Hospital, where Dr. Hitesh Kapadia initiated the repair process using a nasoalveolar molding (NAM) device – a non-surgical method of reshaping the gums, lips, and nostrils of children with large cleft lips and palates prior to surgery. Following months with the NAM, the craniofacial team lead by Dr. Raymond Tse performed multiple surgeries to correct Danielle’s cleft lip and palate. Danielle is currently doing very well and her cleft lip and palate were successfully repaired by Danielle’s care team. The team’s courageous efforts, collaborative spirit, and amazing success also inspired Dale to apply for a job at Seattle Children’s, where he works today.
The Landis’ story is told in a compelling photo slideshow narrated by Heather, using entries from her months of blog posts and photos taken by the family during their difficult – but ultimately successful – journey.
The influenza virus constantly mutates, changing its shape and structure each and every year to survive. Therefore, in order to effectively be protected against the virus, the composition of the vaccine also changes each year. The newly formulated vaccine then adds to the immunity built up from receiving the shot in previous years.
Seattle Children's complies with applicable federal and other civil rights laws and does not discriminate, exclude people or treat them differently based on race, color, religion (creed), sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin (ancestry), age, disability, or any other status protected by applicable federal, state or local law. Financial assistance for medically necessary services is based on family income and hospital resources and is provided to children under age 21 whose primary residence is in Washington, Alaska, Montana or Idaho.