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The Children's Wellness Blog

Frequently Asked Questions about Urinary Tract Infections in Kids

January 15, 2018

Frequently Asked Questions about Urinary Tract Infections in KidsUrinary tract infections, or UTIs, aren’t illnesses we tend to associate with kids, but they happen often. In fact, according to the National Institute of Health, every year 3 out of 100 kids will get a UTI. As a parent, knowledge is the first step toward keeping your kids healthier, and our pediatric nurse practitioner and board-certified pediatricians are here to help by answering your questions about UTIs in kids.

What causes urinary tract infections?

Urinary tract infections happen when bacteria gets into the urethra, bladder, or other parts of the urinary tract and creates an infection. There are a number of ways this can happen, but the most common cause is E. coli from the digestive tract. In other cases, holding urine too long or an inability to properly and fully empty the bladder can lead to a UTI. Girls are at a much higher risk of urinary tract infections – in fact, they’re very uncommon for boys who are over 1 year of age, even uncircumcised boys who are more likely to have a UTI than circumcised boys. In some cases, infants who get a UTI may be recommended for further evaluation to determine if they have anatomical abnormalities or urinary reflux.

Why are urinary tract infections common in kids?

With so many types of bacteria in the stool, it’s easy to understand how babies in diapers can get pediatric urinary tract infections. In older, toilet-trained kids, it often happens because they’re not wiping properly after using the restroom. Kids also tend to put off going to the bathroom when they don’t want to stop playing, which can cause a UTI.

How do I know if my child has a urinary tract infection?

As adults, we typically recognize a UTI because of the burning during urination, but kids may not tell you if this is happening. Here are some other symptoms to look for as well:

  • Foul-smelling urine
  • Fever
  • Irritability
  • Lack of appetite
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Frequent rushing to the bathroom but passing little or no urine
  • Unusual bedwetting
  • Red, pink, or cloudy urine

How are urinary tract infections treated in kids?

Urinary tract infections in kids, as with adults, are usually treated with oral antibiotics. In severe cases, it may need to be treated in a hospital with intravenous antibiotics instead. You can also help the healing process by having your child drink plenty of water. As simple as the treatment may sound, it’s crucial to schedule a pediatrician appointment and get treatment for your child’s UTI as soon as you can. If left untreated, a UTI can spread to the bladder, the ureters, and the kidneys, which can lead to permanent kidney damage and high blood pressure.

How can I protect my kids from urinary tract infections?

You may not be able to prevent them 100%, but there are ways to lower your kids’ risk for urinary tract infections:

  • If you have kids in diapers, change their diapers promptly.
  • Explain to your kids that they shouldn’t put off using the restroom.
  • Make sure your kids drink plenty of water to keep their urinary system active and healthy.
  • Teach your toilet-trained kids to wipe from front to back (not back to front) when they use the restroom.
  • When giving your kids a bath, avoid using bubble bath or other potentially irritating products.
  • When your daughter gets her period, explain to her that it’s important to change her pads and tampons frequently.
  • If your kids go swimming or if their underwear gets wet, change them into dry clothes promptly.
  • Make sure your kids don’t wear overly tight clothing.
  • If your kids are constipated or have trouble emptying their bladder (or are experiencing other related problems), get treatment for them as early as possible.

We understand how overwhelming it can be to try to learn everything about your child’s health. That’s why we post these blogs – to break down the information you actually need in a convenient, easy-to-reference guide. If you think your child may have a urinary tract infection, schedule an appointment with us. For more kids’ health tips, follow Children’s Wellness Center on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

What Parents Need to Know about Pneumonia

January 9, 2018

What Parents Need to Know about PneumoniaIt’s that time of year when parents feel like they’re always dodging one illness or another. One of the best things you can do for your kids is to educate yourself about the largest risks, how to protect against them, and what to do if they appear in your home. With this goal in mind, our board-certified pediatricians and pediatric nurse practitioner at Children’s Wellness Center is here to offer a crash-course on everything parents need to know about one of the most important illnesses to treat: pneumonia.

It may be fairly common, but pneumonia needs to be taken seriously. According to the World Health Organization, pneumonia and respiratory illnesses are the leading causes of death for kids around the world from birth to age 5, so it’s important to know the signs and seek treatment if they arise. Here are the details parents need to know:

What Causes Pneumonia

Pneumonia is not a specific bacteria or virus – it’s an infection of the lungs that can be caused by a number of possibilities. In many cases, a child gets a viral upper respiratory infection (like RSV or the flu) which spreads to the lungs. This same process can happen with bacteria as well, which means that some cases of pneumonia are viral and others are bacterial. For some kids, a viral infection weakens their immune system which allows a bacterial infection to develop in their lungs.

Kids who are at a higher risk for pneumonia include those with chronic illnesses that affect their immune system (or those who take immune-suppressing medicine). Kids with abnormalities in their lungs or airways such as asthma also have a higher risk of pneumonia.

Symptoms of Pneumonia in Kids

Keep an eye out for the follow symptoms which could signal pneumonia:

  • Severe coughing
  • Fever
  • Chills or shaking
  • Stomach ache (when accompanied by a significant cough)
  • Shortness of breath (which may only happen with exercise)
  • Sharp chest pains that get worse when they cough or breathe deeply
  • Headaches
  • Wheezing
  • Clammy skin
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy and fatigue
  • Confusion

How to Treat Pneumonia

It can be difficult to determine what illness your child has, but if you suspect that your child has pneumonia, schedule an appointment with a board-certified pediatrician. It’s important to start treating it early and to find out if it’s a bacterial or viral infection so you can treat it correctly. Depending on your child’s unique case, our board-certified pediatricians or our nurse practitioner may prescribe antibiotics or antiviral medication. If your child does receive a prescription, be sure to finish the full course as recommended.

Other than prescription medication, simply let your child rest, give them plenty of fluids, and if necessary (and if recommended by your pediatrician), use ibuprofen or naproxen to lower a fever. Aspirin is not safe for kids, so don’t use it to treat your child’s illness. In severe cases, pneumonia can require hospitalization. If your child’s symptoms worsen, call your pediatrician or your after-hours clinic to find out if you need to take them to the hospital.

How to Prevent Pneumonia

Pneumonia isn’t 100% preventable, but there are steps you can take to lower your child’s risk:

  • Keep all your child’s vaccines up-to-date, including vaccines against the flu, pneumococcus, Hib, measles, and whooping cough, because any of these illnesses can lead to pneumonia.
  • Take steps to keep your child in strong health by maintaining good nutrition, exercise, and well child exams.
  • Protect your child from people who seem to be sick (when possible), and wash his/her hands often.
  • If your child has asthma, keep it well-controlled and keep up with any prescribed daily medications.
  • Avoid air pollution (including secondhand smoke) as much as possible.

While pneumonia can be a very serious illness, most kids recover from it very well and are back to being as playful and healthy as ever in no time – especially when their parents have all the information you now have available. Start by taking preventative measures to keep your child healthy, and keep this blog on hand if you need to remember the symptoms in the future. To keep your family strong throughout flu season and beyond, schedule an appointment at Children’s Wellness Center. Plus, for more kids’ health tips, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

New Year’s Eve Safety Tips for Kids

December 29, 2017

New Year’s Eve Safety Tips for KidsNew Year’s Eve is almost here, and it’s a night of fun and celebration for people all across the world. But it’s also a night that brings safety risks for kids and adults alike. To help your family enjoy a safe, fun, and memorable New Year’s Eve, try these safety tips from our board-certified pediatricians and nurse practitioner at Children’s Wellness Center:

  • Fireworks are a popular way to celebrate the stroke of midnight. It’s best to leave this to the professionals and attend an organized display where you can watch from a distance. But if you do decide to set off your own fireworks, it should only be done by a responsible, experienced, sober adult while children and others are a safe distance away.
  • Do not celebrate by firing gunshots into the air. The bullets can come down with plenty of force to do serious damage, and this has even caused fatal injuries.
  • You already know not to drink and drive (especially if you will have your kids with you), but New Year’s Eve is a high risk night for drunk drivers. If you’re going out to celebrate, drive with extra caution and keep away from drivers who are driving suspiciously. As always, use car seat safety
  • If you’re hosting a party, try these additional tips to keep your guests and your own kids safe:
    • Keep hot foods and hot liquids away from the edges of counters and tabletops so kids can’t knock them over.
    • If you will be offering alcohol, make sure it’s in a place where kids can’t reach it.
    • Think about the ages of all the kids who will be at your party and make sure your home is childproofed
    • Depending on the number of people at the party, make sure there is at least one sober adult available in case they would need to drive in an emergency. If you have kids present, make sure you and the other adults don’t become too intoxicated to supervise them.
    • Make sure all of your guests who will be drinking alcohol either have a ride home or are able to stay at your house until the next day.
  • If your children are celebrating the holiday with friends, here are some safety tips to keep in mind:
    • Set a reasonable curfew. If your kids want to stay at a friend’s house past midnight, it may be best to see if they can stay with their friend. It’s easy for teen drivers to get distracted if they’re tired, and you also want to protect them from drunk drivers they may share the road with.
    • Encourage your kids to stay in one place rather than party-hopping.
    • If your kids will be at a friend’s house, make sure that friend will have a responsible parent at home during the entire party.
  • Some people have fun with “fire salts,” which are thrown onto wood fires in fireplaces to create colorful flames. Keep fire salts in a place where kids can’t reach them, because they are dangerous when swallowed.
  • If you’re looking for extra fuel for your fireplace, don’t use wrapping paper from your holiday gift-giving. It can ignite very suddenly and intensely, allowing the fire to get out of control.
  • If you plan to go to the Peach Drop or another large celebration, keep hold of your child’s hand and be mindful of your surroundings.

Much of keeping your kids safe on New Year’s Eve and beyond is just planning ahead and making responsible decisions. The tips above can help you set your family on the path to a safe and enjoyable New Year’s Eve. From our Children’s Wellness Center family to yours, have a wonderful New Year in 2018!

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year from Children’s Wellness Center

December 22, 2017

happy-holidaysThis year has flown by, and it’s amazing to think about a brand new year beginning. At Children’s Wellness Center, it’s been a busy year for all of us, and we’re thrilled we’ve been able to spend it with all of you, our valued patients and families. As we enjoy the holidays with our families, we have plenty of important events to look back on this year.

Dr. Stacie Hamley

At the end of August, we were thrilled to welcome a new pediatrician to our practice. While Dr. Stacie Hamley moved to Atlanta to be near her family, she’s quickly become part of our family as well. She truly cherishes her patients and their parents, and she has quickly developed a personal, trusting relationship with each of them.

Top Doctors

Castle Connolly is an independent organization that offers a directory of the top-ranked physicians throughout the country. Atlanta magazine publishes those top doctors from Atlanta each summer, and this year, our own Dr. Julie Segal and Dr. Kirsten Mekelburg are honored to be on the list. The award is based on nominations from fellow doctors, and Castle Connolly then evaluates the nominees’ backgrounds, reputations, contributions to medicine, etc.

Atlanta Parent Mom-Approved Physicians

Whose recommendation does a parent trust more than another parent’s? This May, Atlanta Parent took nominations from their readers and published a list of the most-loved pediatricians in Atlanta. We’re thrilled to say that Dr. Gary Loventhal and Dr. Kirsten Mekelburg made the list!

Community Outreach

As much as our pediatricians and nurse practitioners love treating our own patients, they also head out into the community to put their expertise to work for other kids as well. This year, Dr. Loventhal had the privilege of being a pediatrician at Camp Jenny. This unique camp, hosted by NFTY (The Reform Jewish Youth Movement), serves underprivileged children throughout Atlanta. Dr. Loventhal is also the medical advisor for the Sunshine School preschool.

Dr. Anjali Modi

Sadly, we had to say good-bye to a close part of our team this year when she moved to Chicago with her family. Dr. Anjali Modi has been a beloved part of the Children’s Wellness Center family, connecting with each of her patients and supporting them through a healthy childhood. This year, her husband’s career brought him an opportunity in Chicago, allowing for an exciting chance for the entire family to live in a new city. As much as we (and her patients) miss Dr. Modi, we were honored to have her as a part of our practice, and we wish her and her family all the best in their new adventures.

At Children’s Wellness Center, we treasure every patient and family that comes through our doors. We focus on creating a welcoming environment for the entire family at our pediatric practice. It has been a true joy to care for your kids and watch them grow, and we look forward to more of the same next year. From all of us at Children’s Wellness Center, happy holidays and a very happy new year!