Chronic or Serious Conditions Archives - Nemours Blog

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Chronic or Serious Conditions

A Local Partnership With Global Impact

How did two children’s healthcare organizations in Jacksonville, Florida care for kids 7,000 miles away? Jonathan Soud was a 12-year-old patient at Wolfson Children’s Hospital and Nemours Children’s Health, Jacksonville, being treated for leukemia. During his treatments, his doctors and family spent a lot of time talking to him about his interests in travel and other cultures, especially the country of Mongolia. Eric Sandler, MD, is a pediatric hematologist/oncologist at Wolfson Children’s Hospital and chair of the department of pediatrics at Nemours Children’s Health, Jacksonville. He developed a special bond with Jonathan during treatments, sharing his own fascination with distant lands. Dr. Sandler also discovered that Jonathan had an interest in serving others. “After he passed away, his parents came to me and said they wanted to figure out a way to honor Jonathan’s memory,” said Dr. Sandler. “Since we had had all those conversations regarding Mongolia, his family decided to […]

Nut Allergies: What Friends and Family Need to Know | Promise: Powered by Nemours Children's Health System

Nut Allergies: What Friends and Family Need to Know

For parents whose children live with an allergy to peanuts or tree nuts, avoiding the ingredients can become a matter of cautious routine. It’s never easy, but parents grow accustomed to avoiding certain foods and contaminants, watching for symptoms, and carrying the necessary supplies in case of an accidental exposure. But what about friends, friends’ parents, or other family members? It can be hard to give a simple overview of the dangers and limitations that come with a peanut or tree nut allergy – especially when you’re trying to allow your child to live a life that’s as close to normal as possible. Here’s what friends and family members should know about caring for or spending time with a child who has a nut allergy – whether it’s a sleepover, family vacation, or a babysitting gig. It’s a real thing. No matter what your own experiences with peanut or tree nut […]

When Your Child Complains of Chest Pain by Thomas Craig Edwards, MD | Promise, powered by Nemours Children's Health

When Your Child Has Chest Pain

When your child complains of chest pain, it’s natural to jump to heart-related conclusions. But most cases of chest pain in children aren’t caused by cardiac conditions. It can sometimes be hard to get a clear description of your child’s chest pain, but symptoms usually include: Tightness. Discomfort. Burning sensation. Pain when taking deep breaths. Coughing. Wheezing. So what should you do? Make an appointment with your child’s primary care physician, and keep in mind that chest pain in children is usually not heart-related. Chest pain can often be attributed to one or more of the following: Gastroesophogeal reflux disease, or ongoing heartburn Pain or inflammation in the chest wall Asthma Pneumonia Stress or anxiety Injury Viral illness Heading to the hospital is absolutely necessary in some situations. Seek emergency care if: Exercise brings about chest pain, or makes it worse. Chest pain occurs with rapid or irregular heartbeat. Fainting or […]

Celebrating Each Moment with Cancer in the Rearview

This blog post is written by Larry, the father of Maddie, a medulloblastoma patient who survived a brain tumor at the age of 2. Larry inspires us by sharing his daughter’s story. “Heroism is endurance for one moment more.”      George F. Kennan In the fall of 2008, at the age of two, our daughter Maddie was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, a brain tumor that arises at the base of the brain and often spreads down through the spine via the spinal fluid. Over the course of the next ten months, Maddie underwent multiple brain and spine surgeries and intense chemotherapy protocols at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children. After six cycles of chemo treatment, she had made amazing progress, knocking out 90% of her original disease. Because her scans were not completely cancer-free, she then went through an additional six weeks of radiation therapy. Conquering Cancer The effects of radiation on a 3-year-old can […]

The bridge to a brighter future

The bridge to a brighter future

When Erin Pitts faced spinal surgery as a teen, she never imagined it would impact her life in other ways. Diagnosed with scoliosis at a young age, initially the care plan for the Jacksonville, Fla., resident was to pursue a non-surgical approach to correct the curves in her spine using a back brace. When her complex scoliosis proved resistant to treatment, however, surgery became the best option for long-term results. The experience ended up changing not only her health, but also her career trajectory. Pitts first learned of her condition in the sixth grade, when she began experiencing intense lower back pain. As her condition gradually began limiting her daily activities, her mom made an appointment with her pediatrician. He referred her to Nemours for an orthopedic assessment, where she became a patient of Eric Loveless, MD, department chair of orthopedics at Nemours and a board-certified pediatric surgeon who performs […]

Curve Alert

Curve Alert: Don’t Miss That Scoliosis Screening

Because of the COVID pandemic, you may be putting off visits to your child’s pediatrician. But a missed well visit could mean missing a scoliosis screening. What is scoliosis? Scoliosis is an S-shaped curve in the spine.  It is a condition that occurs equally in boys and girls; however, the curve tends to increase more often in girls. Small curves usually don’t cause problems. But large curves can cause health problems like pain or trouble breathing. What causes scoliosis? The most common form of scoliosis is idiopathic which means “cause unknown.” Kids of any age — even infants — can have idiopathic scoliosis. But it’s usually found when a child begins going through puberty. How do you know your child might have scoliosis? Most often, parents, pediatricians or school nurses may notice one or more of the following signs of scoliosis: One shoulder blade more prominent Ribcage is shifted to one […]

Mother holding smiling baby Jude up

Joy Like Jude

We found hope at Nemours. This is where we learned how to fight. The doctors at Nemours explained the realities of this difficult diagnosis, but they did it in a way that was also filled with hope. They told us that Jude would write his own story. They taught us how to fight for him, care for him and advocate for him. We drive from Charlotte to Wilmington, Delaware for Jude to receive his medical care at Nemours with the incredible team there.

PICU Basics and Preventing Post Intensive Care Syndrome

PICU Basics and Preventing Post Intensive Care Syndrome

If your child is seriously ill and needs a very high level of medical care, they may be sent to the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU). The PICU is different from other parts of the hospital; it is designed for intensive nursing care and helps for constant monitoring of things like your child’s heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure. PICU Basics Your child may be put into the PICU for the following reasons:  Severe breathing problems from asthma Serious infections Certain types of heart conditions Complications of diabetes Post care for major surgery Experienced a serious accident While in the PICU, you and your child will meet many different members of their medical team. This care team includes: Doctors (often called Attending Physicians), Residents, Fellows and Medical students Nurses Respiratory, Occupational, Physical,  and Speech Therapists Pharmacists Nutritionists Social Workers, Child Life Specialists, Psychologists and Psychiatrists Children in the PICU will […]

Chest Pain in Teens: When to Worry

Chest Pain in Teens: When to Worry

Few things can cause a parent’s heart to stand still like having a teenage child complain of chest pain. Unfortunately, it’s a common complaint. According to national data from 2016, people aged 15 to 24 years comprise 14.2% of all emergency room visits and chest pain is one of the top diagnoses. Causes of Chest Pain Many people have experienced chest pain, and a variety of words are used to describe it, ranging from dull to squeezing. There are equally as many causes, the most serious of which usually involve the heart or lungs. Luckily, in teenagers, the most serious are not the most likely. Frequently, the cause of chest pain in teens is chest wall pain. The chest wall includes the skin, fat, muscles, and bones that form a protective structure around the heart, major blood vessels, lungs, and esophagus. The bones in the chest wall include the ribs, sternum (breastbone), […]

Dining out with diabetes

Dining out with Diabetes

Dining out is a fun, cultural and social affair that everyone should be able to take part in, including people with diabetes. It can seem daunting for those who need to count carbohydrates and administer insulin. But with preparation, guidance, and practice, dining out with diabetes can become a smooth process! Below are tips for before, during, and after dining to help ensure an enjoyable experience. Before: There is no need to change the types of restaurants frequented. Continue visiting your favorite ones and do not feel limited to ones that offer “healthier” options. In time, you may develop a list of preferred locations due to the helpfulness of staff and information made available by the restaurant. Search for the restaurant’s website online and see if the menu and nutritional information are available. If there is no restaurant website, try calling the restaurant and asking for the same information. If […]

Measles: What You Need to Know, Powered by Nemours Children's Health System

Measles: What You Need to Know

You’ve probably heard the news lately about measles outbreaks in the U.S. Although the disease was declared eliminated here in 2000, there have been scattered outbreaks across the country in recent years. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have already reported more than 120 cases this year in New York, Texas, and Washington State. It’s important that parents understand the disease and what they need to do to prevent and spot it. Vaccinations: The Best Way to Prevent Measles Measles is caused by a virus, but it is not just a rash and a fever. It can cause serious health complications, especially in children younger than 5. About 1 in 4 people in the U.S. who get measles need to be hospitalized. 1 in 1,000 people with measles develop brain swelling, which can cause brain damage. 1 or 2 in 1,000 people with measles die, even […]

Anthony’s Scoliosis Journey

This post was written by Anthony’s mom, Debbie.  “Something was Different” Anthony was about six months old when I started to notice something was different about his back. He would roll over and try to sit up and there was an obvious bulge/curvature in his spine. I took him to my pediatrician who told me there wasn’t anything to worry about. He informed me that some children take a bit longer to sit up on their own. At this time, I had two-year-old twins at home and was very aware that children progress differently, but there was no overlooking the curve of his spine. Unhappy with that visit, I scheduled an appointment with a specialist at a hospital in Philadelphia, PA. Finally a Diagnosis Anthony was about a year old when he was diagnosed with infantile scoliosis. My family was with me in the room when the doctor put his […]

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