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Safety & Prevention

What is Powassan virus? | Karen Ravin, MD, Division Chief of Infectious Diseases, Nemours/AIDHC | Promise, powered by Nemours Children's Health

What is Powassan virus?

An unfamiliar tick-borne virus is making headlines this spring. What is Powassan virus and how worried should we be? Powassan virus is an extremely rare infection transmitted by a tick bite. Powassan can cause fever and vomiting, disorientation, seizures and brain inflammation and swelling. How common is Powassan? To say it is rare is an understatement. Since 2006, only 75 cases have been reported in the U.S., mostly in the Great Lakes region and New York State. One case was reported in Pennsylvania, three in New Jersey and none in Delaware or Maryland. The chances of contracting Powassan virus are about one in 50 million. Is it new? Powassan isn’t new. It was first reported in Canada in 1958. Recently, a toddler in Connecticut became ill with Powassan virus (the first case identified in that state). Reports were featured prominently in national media, raising awareness (and fear) of Powassan. In […]

Staying Safe With a Stinging Insect Allergy, Jordan Smallwood, MD | Promise, powered by Nemours Children's Health

Staying Safe With a Stinging Insect Allergy

Honey bees. Wasps. Fire ants. Yellow jackets and hornets. Few people are big fans of these bugs, but for those who have a stinging insect allergy, there’s more at stake than the pain of a simple sting. Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening reaction that occurs in people who are allergic to the venom of stinging insects. It happens when a person’s immune system overreacts to the proteins in an insect’s venom, and the effects are immediate and very dangerous. While most people develop pain, swelling and redness at the site of an insect sting, it’s important to watch out for symptoms of an allergy. These signs include: Hives Tightening of the throat Wheezing and/or difficulty breathing Stomachache Vomiting or diarrhea Itchiness Lightheadedness or loss of consciousness Itchy, watery or swollen eyes If your child starts having serious allergic symptoms, like swelling of the mouth or throat or difficulty breathing, give an epinephrine auto-injector […]

New FDA Warnings against Codeine and Tramadol for Kids | Michelle Karten, MD | Promise: Powered by Nemours Children's Health System

FDA Issues New Warnings against Codeine and Tramadol for Kids

The FDA has updated its guidelines for the use of two ingredients found in cough and pain medicines. These new warnings and contraindications target codeine and tramadol in children and teenagers. What are the ingredients? Codeine and tramadol are a type of narcotic medicine called an opioid. Providers may prescribe codeine to treat mild to moderate pain and to reduce coughing. Tramadol is a prescription medicine approved only for use in adults to treat pain. However, data show it is being used in children and adolescents, even though it is not approved for use in these patients. While these medications are effective, they carry serious health risks children younger than 12 years old. Risks include slowed or difficult breathing, and even death. What’s changing? The FDA will require warning labels on prescription drugs that contain codeine and tramadol, advising that children under 12 not take the drugs. The warning extends to women who […]

A Guide to Objects in Ears, Nostrils and Mouths by Robert Sprecher, MD | Promise: Powered by Nemours Children's Health System

You Got What Stuck Where?! A Guide to Objects in Ears, Nostrils and Mouths

It seems like everyone has a story that involves a child, a small object, and an orifice: a bean in a nostril, a pebble in an ear—maybe even a swallowed Barbie shoe or penny. It’s no wonder these instances are so common. Kids are naturally curious, and their worlds contain so many things that fit just so in the body parts they’re learning to explore. So what do you do when your child becomes one of these stories? It all depends on two things: what’s the object, and which opening is it stuck in? First things first: If you know or suspect that your child has swallowed a button battery, get to the emergency department immediately. Swallowed batteries can cause esophageal perforation (a hole in the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach), and other life-threatening injuries—sometimes within hours. It’s also time to head to the ER […]

Vaccines Are Safe and Effective: One Pediatrician's Plea, by Michelle Karten, MD, Powered by Nemours Children's Health System

Vaccines Are Safe and Effective: One Pediatrician’s Plea

We live in a time of information overload. It’s impossible to open your computer or reach for your phone and not be surrounded by mountains of information. And with so much at our fingertips, it can be hard to know what is true and what is false. I understand the confusion that so many conflicting accounts can cause because I see it every day. But as a mother of two children I cherish, and as a pediatrician and champion of wellness, there is one thing that does not confuse me — the fact that vaccines are safe and save lives. When my first child was born, I cradled her in my arms and vowed to keep her safe. Since that time, I have worked hard to sustain her mind, body, and spirit with healthy habits. I’m fortunate to be a pediatrician who reads avidly, and is able to make sense […]

For an Allergy Safe Halloween, Go Teal | Powered by Nemours Children’s Health System

For an Allergy-Friendly Halloween, Go Teal

As Halloween approaches, many families are preparing to have a safe trick-or-treating experience. For families dealing with food allergies, though, trick-or-treating can cause a great deal of anxiety. Until recently, food allergy has not been an issue that many families have experienced personally. Today, however, 1 in 13 families has a child with food allergies. For those children, eating the wrong treat can cause severe reactions, and in some cases a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis. As an allergist and parent of a 4-year-old with a peanut allergy, my wife and I have found ourselves fighting a constant battle to ensure that our son doesn’t come into contact with products that may contain peanuts while he’s at school or eating in public places. Halloween is especially challenging for us. We want our son to have fun and not feel different from his friends just because he can’t enjoy certain types of candy. […]

Mom feeling forehead of daughter with fever

The Top 5 Facts About Fever

As a pediatrician, I know that parents’ panic can set in pretty quickly when it comes to a fever — especially if they have a baby or toddler. Even the calmest of moms and dads can find themselves frantically debating at 1 a.m. whether to give their child medicine and go back to bed, or to call the doctor despite the time. As strange as it may seem, fevers are a good thing. They’re the body’s way of fighting off infections. Often times, a fever left to do its job will go away on its own within a few days. However, it’s still completely normal to be worried when your little one’s temperature starts to climb. To help reduce your worry and prepare you for what to do next time the thermometer reading begins to rise, know these top five facts about fevers. 1. A fever in babies under 3 […]

Girl receiving vaccines

Give Vaccines a Well-Deserved Shot: Immunization FAQs

Vaccines don’t just protect your kids from illnesses — they protect them from passing the germs on to high-risk populations, like the elderly, babies who are too young to get immunized, kids still in need of their booster shots, children whose immune systems aren’t working well (like those with cancer). As a parent, vaccinating your kids is the safest option for them, your family, and your community. How do vaccines work? Getting vaccinated is a way of creating immunity to certain diseases by using small amounts of killed or weakened bacteria (such as pneumococcus) or viruses (like measles) that cause the particular disease. Vaccines cause the immune system to react as if there were a real infection — it fends off the “infection” and remembers the organism so that it can fight it quickly should it enter the body later. What is community immunity? Community immunity, or “herd immunity,” is when […]

Dive Into Water Safety

As summer winds down, there’s still plenty of warm days left to enjoy a cool splash in the water. Whether you have a pool in your backyard, belong to a local swim club, or go to the shore on weekends for a swim in the ocean, water safety is vital to keeping your family safe and happy. Water Safety at Home Having a pool isn’t just fun and games – it’s also a big responsibility. Some safety precautions in your backyard, in the pool, and other places around the house can help prevent water accidents. Install safety features. Put a fence around all four side of a family pool. The fence should be at least four feet tall and have self-closing and self-latching gates. Install and maintain drain covers in a pool or spa to prevent entrapment. Consider installing an alarm to the doors or windows that lead from your house […]

Preventing child from being left in hot cars.

Kids in Hot Cars: Prevention Facts and Tips

As summer temperatures continue to climb, be careful to keep your kids out of hot cars. If a child does get left in a hot car or is accidentally locked in while playing, the consequences can be severe, and even deadly. Never leave your child in a car alone or leave your car unlocked around children, no matter what the temperature outside might be. Cracking the windows will not keep the car cool and even “just a few minutes” is too long. Although it may seem unimaginable for a child to be forgotten in a car, it occurs far too often. So know the facts and try out a few prevention tips to keep this kind of tragedy from affecting your family. The Facts It happens: On average, a child dies every 10 days from heatstroke after being left in a vehicle, according to Safe Kids Worldwide. Year after year, children are left in […]

An ATV with a helmet shows the importance of ATV safety

ATV Safety: 7 Injury Prevention Tips

Summer is full of opportunity and adventure for kids who like the outdoors. All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are exciting and many kids can’t wait to get off-road and try them out. Although these vehicles may seem like a fun summer activity, they can lead to some serious – even fatal – injuries, especially if you don’t follow ATV safety rules and regulations. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children under 16 not ride ATVs at all. They say this age group lacks the necessary physical strength, coordination, and judgment to drive an ATV safely in all situations and conditions. Still, despite the risks, many kids are legally able to ride ATVs. Each state has different guidelines and laws about age requirements, many of which allow children under 16 to ride ATVs. But before you let your kiddos hop onto an ATV, know the risks and follow these […]

Toddler touching eating puppy doesn't know how to prevent dog bites

Dog Bites: Take a Paws for Prevention

For so many, dogs are our best friends and trusted companions. Despite how warm and loving they can be, all breeds of dogs are capable of biting. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every year, more than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs in the United States, and more than half of those bites happen at home with a familiar dog. Of those who endure dog bites, more than half are children under the age of 14 and nearly a million require medical attention. Most dogs won’t bite without a reason. A family dog may bite when a new baby is brought home or a child plays too roughly, teases, or startles the dog. A dog you don’t know may bite when approached without taking the proper precautions. Knowing how to prevent dog bites will help keep your family safer this summer — and beyond. […]

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