Nemours Blog - Powered by Nemours Children's Health System

The pandemic has put many children behind on swim lessons. The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) is alerting parents that swim lessons for children over 1 year are an important part of the layers of protection that can help prevent drownings. So, schedule those swim lessons for your kids and use all these layers of protection to help prevent drownings: Water Watcher There should always be an adult water watcher while children are in and around a pool. For young children and beginner swimmers, the water watcher should be within arm’s length. For older children who can swim, the water watcher should have their eyes on the children at all times. The water watcher should not be using a cellphone, socializing, drinking alcohol, or doing anything else that might be distracting. At a party, have adults take turns as water watcher. Even if a lifeguard is on duty, a water […]

Wait No More: Nearly All Kids Can Now Get the COVID-19 Vaccine

Many parents are breathing a sigh of relief that they can finally get their babies, toddlers, and preschoolers vaccinated against COVID-19. Two brands of the vaccine have now been authorized for children as young as 6 months old, so the little ones can now join the ranks of people ages 5 and up who have helped protect themselves. So does your young child really need a COVID-19 vaccine? After all, younger children often have milder illness when they get infected. The answer is a resounding “yes,” since many young children have had serious symptoms requiring hospitalization, and some have even died. Small children can even develop long COVID, with symptoms that bother them for a long time. Parents might also wonder why it took so long for the vaccines to be authorized for this age group. It took a long time to get the vaccines authorized for young children because […]

Overcoming Scoliosis- Alexis’ Spine Story

Contributed by Alexis. At the age of twelve when I hit puberty, my back started bothering me a lot. I made an appointment with my pediatrician, where I learned I was developing scoliosis. She referred me to Nemours Children’s Hospital, Delaware, where I met with pediatric orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Suken Shah for further examination. After an x-ray, we found that I had two curves measuring 22 and 23 degrees. A few months later, I received a brace to prevent my spine from getting worse. My scoliosis made my hips so off-balance that it affected my legs. I was also given a lift to wear in my shoe because my left leg was about an inch shorter than my right leg. I was supposed to wear the brace at least 18 hours a day, but I usually wore it for about 23 hours a day. I ended up wearing the brace […]

Speak Now for Kids- Family Advocacy Day

Nemours Children’s Health is proud to participate in the 2022 Children’s Hospital Association’s (CHA) Speak Now for Kids’ Family Advocacy Day. This annual event brings together pediatric patients, their families and the children’s hospitals that care for them to speak with our Congressional leaders about the unique needs of children and how children’s hospitals play a critical role in providing coordinated, specialized care for our youngest generation. This year, we are excited to bring two young champions and their families to meet virtually with our Delaware and Florida Congressional delegation members to share their inspiring stories.   David Smith*, 12 years old, Wilmington DE David started exhibiting challenging behavior at age 5. These behavioral issues became more intense over time. While he was excelling academically, he experienced strong emotional outbursts at school, which led to many trips to the principal’s office. In the beginning, school administrators believed he would outgrow […]

A Fighting Spirit- Emilee’s Story of Heart and Spine

If resilience had a name, it would be that of 12-year-old Emilee. She was born with a complex heart defect called single ventricle that required heart surgery when she was just 2 days old. Her fighting spirit endured through three more heart surgeries and several heart catheterizations. Her heart surgeon, Dr. Christian Pizarro, assisted by cardiac anesthesiologist, Dr. Ellen Spurrier, and their highly specialized team—cared for her–watching over Emilee day and night. It was a scary and unsettling time for her family, who stayed right by her side. Through it all, Emilee thrived. But her health challenges continued.  Emilee was diagnosed with scoliosis that progressed to the point that surgery was needed.  In January 2022, she underwent a spinal fusion, a major surgery for anyone, but especially risky for someone with a single ventricle heart defect. Pediatric spine surgeon, Dr. Peter Gabos, performed the complicated operation with Dr. Spurrier again […]

teenage girl refusing sandwich

Gluten could be at the root of your teen’s gastrointestinal problems. Here’s what to look for.

This article first appeared on Philly.com Diarrhea. Abdominal pain. Bloating. Ugh!!! These annoying symptoms can occur in many gastrointestinal problems that teenagers experience. On social media, on the bleachers a school sports events, at doctors’ appointments, it seems like everywhere people are talking about gluten. So what exactly is gluten? Gluten is a group of proteins commonly found in wheat, barley, oats, and rye. It affects the dough quality of breads and is added to processed foods to improve texture, moisture, and flavor. When should a teenager go gluten-free?  When they are diagnosed with a problem caused by gluten. Celiac disease, wheat allergy, and gluten intolerance involve gluten, but are not one and the same. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease where gluten triggers the body’s immune system, which normally makes antibodies to fight off harmful invaders like viruses or bacteria, to make antibodies against itself. These “autoantibodies” damage villi, […]

What to Do During the Baby Formula Shortage

You may have noticed a shortage of baby formula on store shelves these days. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused supply chain and staffing issues, and a recent recall of baby formula due to contaminated products from one factory has added to the problem. If you are formula feeding your baby, you may worry about how you will continue to feed your little one. Here are some tips on how to navigate the baby formula shortage. What to do: Talk to your baby’s doctor, who may have some sample cans of formula available. You can also call a local hospital, breast milk bank, or office of WIC (the federal Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children). Women’s shelters, food banks, and faith-based organizations might also be able to help. Shop around. Try other stores that you may not have visited in the past, especially smaller independent grocery stores, pharmacies, […]

The Star Wars Cardiac Jedi- Vincent’s Story

Contributed by Vincent’s mom Tamara. When my father died of a heart attack at the age of 39, I was only 4 years old. It was very hard on me and I always feared that I would have a heart problem or my kids would have one. Our pediatrician recommended that both my son and daughter be seen by a cardiologist to be sure that their hearts were healthy. She asked that I get my children cleared by the cardiologist, so of course; I called Nemours Children’s Health, since we’ve had previous appointments there. My daughter and son both had an EKG;  Dr. Steven Ritz, our Nemours pediatric cardiologist, said that something showed up on Vincent’s EKG and that he would need to have an ultrasound. Dr. Ritz went over his findings in detail with us. Vincent was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) Syndrome, a condition in which he has an extra electrical […]

Patient surrounded by her care team

The Beat Goes On: Grace, a Heart Patient, Shares Her Story

Back in February of 2016, I started experiencing horrible palpitations, and decided one day to go get it to check out. I was immediately diagnosed with (WPW) -Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. After my first heart ablation, everything went smoothly. I was back to doing all the sports I loved like track and cheer! I was living life to the fullest. However, a couple of months later, I started to have the same palpitations, along with being super tired and getting dizzy. The doctor I originally went to had moved away, so my mom who is a nurse, did her research, and we decided to switch over to Nemours Children’s Health.  Seeing a cardiologist there, I had my second heart ablation in December 2016. I was 14 years old and have had two heart ablations! The surgery was quick, and I was told that everything looked good, they said. I recovered perfectly and […]

A Damaged Liver that Led to a Liver Transplant- Jeylainie’s Story

Jeylainie’s life as a normal 9-year-old changed abruptly in September 2021. Her mother, Keyla, noticed that Jeylainie’s skin was turning yellow and becoming jaundiced. Soon after, Jeylainie started complaining of a stomachache that would not stop. Her mother took her to a local children’s hospital, where she was admitted. Her doctors initially thought she had kidney stones, then did a biopsy to determine what was wrong. But Jeylainie’s health continued to deteriorate rapidly. After her doctors spoke with Nemours Children’s Solid Organ Transplant team, Jeylainie was transferred to Nemours Children’s Hospital, Delaware for more specialized care. Jeylainie’s diagnosis was hepatitis, an acute inflammation that causes damage like scarring to the liver. Since her liver was so damaged, she needed a liver transplant quickly. Keyla says, “It was crazy – Jeylainie is a healthy eater who loves her veggies, it was surprising to see her health go downhill so quickly.” While […]

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