Coronavirus

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is closely monitoring an outbreak caused by a novel (new) coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Chinese authorities identified the new coronavirus, which has resulted in hundreds of confirmed cases in China, including cases outside Wuhan, with additional cases being identified in a growing number of countries internationally. The first case in the United States was announced on January 21, 2020. There are ongoing investigations to learn more.

Cotton Swabs

Cotton-tipped swabs are not meant to be placed in ears. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the best thing to do with earwax is leave it alone. Trying to remove earwax can cause problems.

Putting cotton-tipped swabs into the ear canal pushes wax further into the ear. It can cause damages, dizziness, and balance problems. A child whose earwax is blocking the ear may have ringing or fullness, ear pain, itching, discharge, odor, and cough. Swabs also may tear or rupture the eardrum causing pain, bleeding, and permanent hearing loss.

For more information on earwax, please visit the HealthChildren.org.

Fever Medication

Every year hundreds of infants receive more than the recommended dose of  Tylenol for age. Rarely, these overdoses can cause liver failure or death. The overdoses are most likely related to dosing too frequently- that is more than every 6 hours AND from parents using two products that BOTH contain acetaminophen

e American Academy of Pediatrics does NOT recommend cough or cold medications for children under the age of two unless they are ordered by a physician.

When Is a Fever an Emergency?

While for the majority of children fever is not an emergency- there are a certain group of children that fever is considered dangerous. Think of the Three I’s

Think of the Three I’s

  • Immune compromised– children that do not have a well working immune system cannot fight off infection and therefore when they have fever they need to see their healthcare professional immediately
  • Immunization– babies less than two months of age are at higher risk for bacterial infection and if your child has not had his 2-month vaccines and has a temperature over 100 degrees rectally you should consider this a medical emergency and go directly to the emergency department
  • Intake– having a fever WILL make your child uncomfortable- especially if it is over 102.  Often this leads to poor drinking and if your child cannot drink enough they may become dehydrated. If you think your child might be dehydrated due to fever then bring them to see the doctor immediately.

Fever is Good – Most of the Time

For parents, doctors and pharmacy companies, fever has been thought to be “the enemy”. We should be scared of fever and make it go away as fast as possible. This may be a very dangerous idea for the following reasons.

Fever Facts

  • All animals, even single cell organisms, have fever. Therefore it is felt to be important in protecting us in some way.
  • Studies show that increasing the body temperature decreases the ability of bacteria to multiply and spread. That gives antibiotics a chance to work faster.
  • Newer studies also show that the increase in body temperature activates a special kind of white blood cells- aptly named “killer T cells”. The activation of these killers means that your body can fight virus infections better and may be the only “treatment” needed for getting rid of the most common form of infection.

Therefore- not letting your body have a fever when you have an infection may actually make the virus last longer and take the antibiotics longer to work for bacteria infections.

Fever Phobia

In 1980, Pediatrician  Dr. Barton Schmitt created the term “Fever Phobia” to describe the misconceptions that many parents and physicians have regarding fever. Since that initial study, many other researchers have looked at how parents react to a child with fever. Most all studies show that the majority of parents do not understand key concepts related to fever, such as what defines a fever, how dangerous is a fever and how should fever be treated.

Throughout the month of September, The Children’s Clinic will be providing daily information for parents about what defines a fever and how to treat fever in children. It is hoped that this factual information will help alleviate the myths and fears that are associated with fever and guide parents on when to call for an appointment and when to be concerned if their child develops fever.

Hungry or Bored?

Children sometimes use food for reasons other than hunger to satisfy themselves.  These reasons may be in response to their emotions or feelings.  Many things can trigger hunger such as:

  • boredom
  • depression
  • stress
  • frustration
  • insecurity
  • loneliness
  • fatigue

One way to keep your child from eating out of boredom is to steer them towards activities that keep them busy.  Also make sure your child eats three well-balanced meals and one snack each day.

A few things to do instead of eating would be:

  • walk the dog
  • walk around the neighborhood
  • kicking a ball around
  • painting a picture
  • running through sprinklers

Mumps – What You Should Know

Mumps has been in the headlines lately, and for a good reason.  We are in the midst of a significant outbreak in several areas of our state, and cases of mumps have recently shown up in Northeast Arkansas. Here are a few facts about this disease:

  • Mumps is a viral illness spread by coughing and salivary contact.  It is present throughout the world and is uncommon in the USA because we immunize for it.  The virus infects our respiratory tract and salivary glands, lasts for several days, and usually resolves without complications. After a 2-3 week incubation period, children and adults typically develop cough and congestion, sometimes fever and headache, and about two thirds have salivary gland inflammation with tender, firm swelling over one or both cheeks.  When it is suspected, mumps can be tested with a cheek swab – the result may take several days.  
  • Thought the disease is usually relatively mild and self-limited, it can cause occasional severe complications including swollen testicles in adolescent or adult males, viral meningitis, encephalitis, arthritis, or other glandular inflammation.  For women in early pregnancy, there may be a slight increased risk of spontaneous miscarriages.
  • There is no specific treatment for mumps, so the only effective approaches are containment and prevention.  Infected children can pass on the virus well before, and for about 1 week after the symptoms show up, so isolation of sick or highly susceptible individuals is important.  Mumps vaccine is part of every child’s routine immunization regimen and is usually given at 1 and 4 years of age.  Most, but not all children who’ve had both doses are fully immune.  

More information, including detailed isolation advice, is presented in a recent Arkansas Department of Health Newsletter (see below), and you may feel free to contact us if you have questions or concerns.