Nemours Blog - Powered by Nemours Children's Health System
When COVID-19 Hits Home

Well, it happened. After almost two years of the pandemic, COVID-19 has found its way into our house. As an emergency room pediatrician turned medical writer and editor for Nemours KidsHealth, I thought I was as prepared as anyone can be. I read and write about COVID-19 every day. But even with all that experience I still learned more than I ever wanted to know in the last four weeks, which felt like four months. As mom to two boys ages 10 and 6 years, I learned that having a child with COVID-19 is hard (and a little bit scary), but planning, patience and creativity can help you come out on the other side. Here is what I learned. Don’t Play the Blame Game We spent the pandemic having a healthy respect for the virus. We followed all the guidelines. We didn’t eat at restaurants, we had outdoors Thanksgiving and […]

Gathering Safely for the 2021 Holidays

Gathering Safely for the 2021 Holidays

As the holidays approach, you might have mixed feelings. On the one hand, who isn’t excited about gathering with family and friends for traditional holiday meals and celebrations? On the other, the COVID-19 pandemic is not over, and you might be worried the coronavirus will spread even more as people gather for festivities. Fortunately, you and your family members can reduce the risk of getting infected with coronavirus. Virtual gatherings are still the safest way to get together. But if your family will be meeting other families in person this year, the CDC has provided tips for keeping safe as we celebrate: Get vaccinated. The best way to protect people both young and old from getting very sick or even dying from COVID-19 is to vaccinate everyone who is eligible. This includes everyone ages 5 and up. And for people over 18 who are already fully vaccinated, a booster shot […]

Ashley's Epilepsy Story -- From Fear to Fearless

Ashley’s Epilepsy Story — From Fear to Fearless

It was like any other ordinary day for 13-year-old Ashley. In eighth grade at the time, Ashley, from Washington Township, New Jersey, came home after a long day at school, hoping for a quick nap before heading to youth group that night. She headed to her fridge to grab a drink, and the next thing she remembers is waking up with paramedics surrounding her. “I was placed on oxygen and had an IV in my arm,” says Ashley, now 24. “The only thing that came to my mind was fear.” Ashley learned from doctors at her local hospital that 1 in 26 people may have a seizure within their lifespan, epilepsy related or not. After her electroencephalographs (EEGs) and an electrocardiography (EKG) results came back normal, Ashley and her family waited to see if she had any more seizures to determine if it might be epilepsy. “I had so much […]

Mindful Snacking

Mindful Snacking

When selecting a snack, it is important to think about a few key factors including timing, hunger level, portion size and nutritional value. Timing As a rule of thumb, it is helpful not to go more than about 4 hours without eating, even if it is something small. Long periods of time without eating can increase hunger later in the day, making it challenging to practice portion control when you finally get a chance to eat. It is also very challenging to make healthy choices when you are feeling extremely hungry. Snacks help to bridge the gap between meals and can help lessen hunger to an appropriate level prior to the next meal. Be cautious of grazing! Grazing is a term used to describe constant snacking. It is important to allow time (approximately 2-4 hours) between meals and snacks to give the digestive system a break. Most children should aim […]

Tips for Needle Anxiety

Tips for Needle Anxiety

With the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine approved for ages 5-11, there are going to be a lot more young and brave individuals stepping up to receive their shots. But what about those who have trouble with the thought of coming face to face with a needle? Even though it may seem scary, the more people that receive the vaccine, the closer we get to herd immunity. Here are some tips and tricks to ease the fear of needles. Distract yourself while you’re waiting. Bring along a game, book, music, or movie — something you’ll get completely caught up in so you’re not sitting in the waiting room thinking about the shot. Some doctors’ offices schedule “shot clinics” where they do nothing but give shots so the wait time is shorter. Concentrate on taking slow, deep breaths. Breathe all the way down into your belly. Deep breathing can help people relax — and concentrating on […]

Smoothie 101: Nutritious & Delicious!

Smoothie 101: Nutritious & Delicious!

Smoothies can be an easy and fun way to incorporate various foods into your child’s diet. Understanding the potential benefits of smoothies, how to prepare them, and when and how to incorporate them can make an enjoyable and healthy option for the whole family!      Benefits of Smoothies There are several reasons you may choose to incorporate smoothies into their child’s daily or weekly routine. A few nutritional benefits to smoothies can include: Increased variety of fruits and vegetables: Sometimes children will accept a wider variety of fruits and vegetables in a blended form more than they will in the whole food form. It is still important to continue to expose your child to the whole food form on a consistent basis even if they are consuming the fruit/vegetable in the smoothie. Boost of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants: Smoothies often combine several fruits and vegetables in one recipe giving a […]

Squid Game: 10 Things Parents Need to Know

Squid Game: 10 Things Parents Need to Know

Squid Game. The latest Netflix/internet obsession. After admittedly watching the series myself (spurred by patients asking about it), there are a few things parents should know. There is enough violence, ethical dilemmas, and other mature content to draw a hard line: your young children should absolutely not watch this show. Still, teachers and schools are reporting kids emulating Squid Game at recess and in the classroom. The show itself is rated mature (17+). Teens of all ages, however, are likely to watch it or hear about it. Keep these things in mind as you navigate their viewing:  Watch Squid Game, or at least one episode, before you allow your teens to view it. You should be prepared, minimally, to have conversations about the difficult topics and those are easier to navigate when you have seen the content as well. If you are a parent of younger kids, keep them in […]

5 Myths about Epilepsy

5 Myths About Epilepsy

Being diagnosed with epilepsy (a nervous system condition that causes seizures) can be alarming and frightening for parents and caretakers. Part of this worry is likely due to some misconceptions about this disease. Let’s talk about 5 myths surrounding epilepsy that should be debunked.  1. We’re alone. You’re not alone. Epilepsy is not rare. In fact, it’s one of the most common diseases we see in neurology. More people live with epilepsy than people with autism spectrum disorders, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and cerebral palsy – combined! A study published in 2011 found 1 in 26 people will develop epilepsy during their lifetime. That’s like one child in each classroom at a typical school! So it’s not as rare as you may think. Because of this, there are several support groups to help people who are newly diagnosed become familiar with epilepsy and help them navigate their life with this new disease.  2. I cannot be successful […]

Depression Screening in Primary Care, Powered by Nemours Children's Health System

Depression Screening in Primary Care – Why It’s Essential

Rates of mental health concerns among adolescents, including depression and suicidal thoughts, have risen substantially in recent years. Studies have also shown that the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. has disproportionately affected people with low socioeconomic status, as well as Black, Indigenous, and Latino people, all of whom have experienced higher rates of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. According to suicide.org, about 20 percent of all teens experience depression before they reach adulthood, but only about 30 percent of teens are being treated for their symptoms. Pediatric primary care is an important setting for routine mental health screening among adolescents. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends universal screening by primary care providers for all patients 12 years of age and older at their annual well visits. Depression screenings are important because signs can often be missed if they are not obvious to untrained individuals.  Kids who are in distress often […]

A Healthy Spin on Comfort Food

A Healthy Spin on Comfort Food

As the fall and winter seasons are upon us, so are the celebrations and comfort food that follows. How can we add to our favorite comfort foods for a fun and balanced holiday season? Check out these helpful tips on how to get the most out of your favorite dishes. Include proteins into your favorite dishes. Try adding a protein source like pulled chicken or ground turkey to macaroni and cheese for added satisfaction and strong muscles. In substitution of sour cream, try Greek yogurt for added protein and calcium. Hidden veggies can keep our favorite foods enjoyable AND provide the micronutrients our bodies need to be strong. Try these recipes for your next holiday meal: Mix pureed cauliflower into mashed potatoes for a light and creamy side dish. Add shredded zucchini to a meatloaf mixture for a moist, flavorful slice. Incorporate whole grains into your favorite treats. Here are […]

Nathan's Story

Nathan’s Story of Determination

This post was written by Nathan’s mom Kim Silpath “It’s not about me anymore, it’s about the other kids”- Nathan Every day, 43 parents have to hear the same words we heard a few years ago, “your child has cancer.” I still remember that moment, and the reaction from my son, Nathan. He was ready to fight it. Not just for himself, but fight and help other children with cancer too. I could not have been more proud. Nathan was an incredible child that had a passion for school, sports, and most importantly helping others.  He loved meteorology, biology, hiking, soccer, sled hockey, and football! Nathan’s cancer battle started in 2010 when he was at soccer practice and started mentioning how his leg was bothering him. Nathan noticed a bump on his leg, but like most kids, didn’t think much of it and continued playing soccer. As his pain increased, […]

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