Nemours Blog - Page 5 of 22 - Powered by Nemours Children's Health System
Trouble Breathing During Exercise -- It’s Not Always Asthma, Powered by Nemours Children's Health System

Trouble Breathing During Exercise — It’s Not Always Asthma

What Is Vocal Cord Dysfunction? When a pre-teen or teenager experiences trouble breathing while exercising or playing a sport, many doctors and parents are quick to diagnose the child with asthma. But in some cases, it’s not asthma at all — it’s vocal cord dysfunction, a condition that occurs when the vocal cords do not open correctly. The symptoms of the condition are very similar to asthma, with a child experiencing difficulty breathing or coughing and wheezing. The difference, however, is that vocal cord dysfunction doesn’t improve with a rescue inhaler or a prescription steroid. And for some children, the condition is never diagnosed because, frustrated and distressed, the child quits the activity. But the good news is that vocal cord dysfunction can be diagnosed and treated with the correct therapy. Understanding the Symptoms “Children with vocal cord dysfunction often describe tightness as you’d find in asthma, but opposed to […]

Body Dysmorphic Disorder and Your Teen Boys, Powered by Nemours Children's Health System

Body Dysmorphic Disorder and Your Teen Boys

For several decades, much of the focus on body image disorders has focused on females. In American society, the feminine ideal is to appear thin. Males, however, are encouraged to be muscular. Lately, we are witnessing a shift in how males perceive their bodies. Boys Feel the Pressure Too Many of today’s young males want a strong body; specifically, they want more muscles. With action figures such as Batman, Captain America, and Superman to magazine covers boasting “Double your muscle!” and “Bigger arms now!” it’s no wonder that teens view being chiseled and ripped as the ideal male body image. It’s one thing to play with an action figure or peruse a magazine, but it’s quite another to think obsessively about becoming muscle-bound and to diet and exercise compulsively to look this way. Sound like obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)? Yes. Sound like an eating disorder? Yes. What Is Muscle Dysmorphic […]

Vegetarian and Vegan Diets: Are They Safe for Kids?, Powered by Nemours Children's Health System

Vegetarian and Vegan Diets: Are They Safe for Kids?

What is the difference between vegetarian and vegan diets? Vegan and vegetarian diets are primarily plant-based, meaning all meals consist mostly of plant foods including fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, with little to no animal products. A person following a vegetarian diet may consume limited types of animal products. There are many types of vegetarian diets: Lacto-vegetarian: consumes dairy; does not eat meat, poultry, eggs or fish Ovo-vegetarian: consumes eggs; does not eat meat, poultry, dairy or fish Lacto-ovo vegetarian: consumes dairy and eggs; does not eat meat, poultry or fish Pescatarian: consumes fish; does not eat meat, poultry, dairy, or eggs A person following a vegan diet does not consume any animal products including meats, dairy, eggs, and seafood. This diet sometimes excludes honey and gelatin as well, depending on the individual’s decision. Why do people choose to follow plant-based diets? There are several reasons why someone may […]

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 […]

Teens and Distracted Driving

Teens and Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of car accidents in teenagers and young drivers. According to NHTSA, each day in the United States, approximately nine people are killed and more than 1,000 injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver. In 2017, 3,166 people were killed in a crash involving a distracted driver. These statistics are frightening. Parents should talk to the young drivers in their family about distracted driving and methods to avoid tragedy. Taking Your Mind Off the Road Most of us are guilty of distracted driving at one time or another. It happens maybe more than we’d like to admit — we drive while letting another activity take our attention away from focusing on the road. When your brain is thinking about anything other than what is happening on the road, it makes it difficult to react during a potential crash. This […]

7 Flu Myths, Debunked

7 Common Flu Myths, Debunked

When flu season hits, what usually follows is a barrage of flu myths and misinformation. The flu, which is often accompanied by a fever, a cough, a sore throat and congestion, is a severe illness that kills between 20,000 and 30,000 Americans each year — including children. “Some people feel that it’s not a big deal and they can tough it out, but some kids are hospitalized due to pneumonia because of the flu, and others die every year because of it,” said Dr. Jonathan Miller, general pediatrician and Medical Director of Value-Based Care at Nemours Children’s Health System. “It’s a very serious disease.” The flu can lead to pneumonia, inflammation of the heart or brain, organ failure, or sepsis, all of which can result in death. That’s why it’s so important to take proper precautions against catching or spreading the flu, including getting the influenza vaccine and staying home […]

Keep MyPlate in Mind for the Holidays

Keep MyPlate in Mind for the Holidays

The holiday season is a wonderful time to celebrate traditions with family and friends. But it can also be a tricky time, when we veer off track from our health goals at various social events with all of the delicious food and beverages. Keeping Myplate in mind around the holidays is a helpful way to control portions while still enjoying your family traditions. MyPlate reminds us to make: half of the plate fruits and vegetables a quarter of the plate include protein and the other quarter to include grains or a starchy vegetable. How to Stay on Track During the Holidays Snacks: Consider having a healthy snack before you leave for that holiday gathering. Your snack should include a fiber and protein source so it is guaranteed to help you feel fuller, longer. This will also help with portion control and ensure you are still satisfying your holiday cravings and […]

Healthy Snacking

Healthy Snacking

Snacks can be a part of a healthy diet. Think of snacks as a little bridge from meal to meal, especially if meals are consumed longer than four hours apart. Snacks may not always be necessary every day, or between every meal. Aim to limit no more than 2-3 snacks per day, and be sure that healthy snacking is only offered/consumed at appropriate times.  Pair Protein and Fiber Pairing protein and fiber-rich foods can help fill your child up. The term “satiated” is used to define the feeling of fullness or no longer feeling hungry. To improve satiety, be sure to offer one protein item or one fiber item. Or consider offering a combination of the two.  Protein sources include: dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt nuts and seeds beans eggs meat fish Fiber sources include: fruits vegetables whole grains such as whole grain crackers, granola or a […]

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), […]

Talking to Kids About Death and Grief

Talking to Kids About Death and Grief

Almost every child will experience the death of a loved one at some point during their childhood. Whether it’s an immediate family member, a friend or a classmate, it’s important for parents to know how to talk to their kids about death and grief. Be Honest The key is to be honest and use age-appropriate language to make the concept as easy as possible to grasp. “Depending on your child’s age, you want to give them the right amount of information and be straightforward,” said Dr. Meghan Walls, a pediatric psychologist Nemours duPont Hospital for Children. “Some parents will say, ‘Grandma is in a better place,’ but that’s confusing to kids. What does that mean? Instead, they should say, ‘I have to tell you something. Grandma died last night.’ It’s better than saying she passed away. You want to be very clear.” Most elementary-age children don’t understand what death means. […]

Seasonal Eating: Fall and Winter Produce

Seasonal Eating: Fall and Winter Produce

Typically the idea of eating fresh fruits and vegetables seems easiest in the spring and summer when farm stands and markets are more accessible. Thankfully the fall and winter months provide a bountiful amount of fresh fruits and vegetables with many nutritional benefits. Examples of fall and winter produce: Fruit apples cranberries grapes pears pumpkin clementines grapefruit kiwi pomegranate oranges Vegetables beets broccoli brussel sprouts cabbage carrots cauliflower celery collard greens kale mushrooms onions parsnips potatoes radishes sweet potatoes and yams winter squash Benefits Fruits and vegetables provide ample amounts of dietary fiber along with specific vitamins and minerals our bodies need. Notably Vitamin A rich fruits and vegetables really shine in the cooler months. Pumpkin, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, and carrots all contain this essential vitamin. Vitamin A plays a critical role for our eye health & immune system. When choosing seasonal produce, you are making not only a […]

Helping Kids Avoid a College Campus Outbreak

Helping Kids Avoid a College Campus Outbreak

This time of year always reminds me of American humorist Erma Bombeck, who once wrote: “I take a very practical view of raising children. I put a sign in each of their rooms: ‘Checkout time is 18 years.’” When our teenagers go to college, we want them to acquire many things: new friends with diverse backgrounds, expanded interests, more independence, and, if they have time, an education. What we don’t want them to get? Sick. In a college campus outbreak. What’s an Outbreak? An outbreak is the occurrence of cases of disease in excess of what would normally be expected in a defined community, geographical area or season. A recent example of a college campus outbreak–last year’s mumps outbreak at Temple University. Here are some other real examples: Case 1: Meningitis  A student was rushed to the hospital after presenting to the student health center with a headache, stiff neck, and fever. Diagnosis: […]

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