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One of the Hidden Winter Dangers for Children: Febrile Seizures

Febrile seizures are seizures that occur from a high fever. These are very common in young children up to the age of 5 years.

Children who have 1 episode of a febrile seizure have up to 70% chance of another febrile seizure within 2 years. Febrile seizures can occur in 5% of children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years. Viral infections are the most common cause of fevers that will lead to seizure activity. This is especially true with human herpes virus 6 which generally occurs in very young children.

There is no special temperature value that is linked with causing febrile seizures. However, the higher the temperature goes the more likely seizure can develop. One theory is that high temperatures causes muscles to spasm and certain chain reactions will developed, resulting in a fever.

Most children who have a febrile seizure will improve rapidly within one hour. A lumbar puncture can be performed, however is not recommended in all cases.

No one is quite sure why febrile seizures occur in certain children and not others. The good news is that febrile seizures are not linked with a lifelong history of epilepsy.

Certain medications can be used to help break the seizure activity and reduce fever.

It is important to bring your child’s temperature down quickly using Tylenol or Motrin. Other options include wearing loose clothing, a lukewarm bath, and cold compresses to the forehead and wrists.

If you have concerns about febrile seizures, immediately take your child to the nearest emergency department. Proper testing is necessary to identify the causes of the fever and appropriate treatment.

  • Muhammad Emran, MD

Great tips for Keeping the Family Safe this Halloween

It’s that time of year where the air gets crispier, the days shorter, and the excitement grows for Americans of all ages in anticipation of the darkest, spookiest holiday of the year. Families, retailers, and other establishments get ready for Halloween, a night full of tricks and treats. Although the night can be filled with an abundance of treats it is always smart for parents to be careful.

To help you and your family stay safe but have a splendid evening as well, follow the tips below.

Plan a route in advance
Avoid long paths and map out a route before leaving he house. Stick to paths that you and your families are familiar with and do not split up if you are going in a big group.

 

  • Wear Comfy Shoes
    To avoid dripping in the dark or feet hurting midway, make sure everyone is wearing comfortable, well fitted shoes
  • Stay Well-Lit/Visible
    When crossing the street make sure drivers on the road can see you and your kids. Wearing a reflective tape or just using your phone as a flashlight can help. Cross the street at corners using crosswalks.
  • Keep Costumes Both Creative & Safe
    When selecting a costume make sure the attached mask will not cover your child’s vision and that goes for make up as well. Buying a costume that fits well prevents any trips and falls.
  • Always Have A Guardian Or Parent With Children
    Make sure your child is always accompanied by you or a supervisor even if that means running to the house across the street. Enter homes only if the child is with a trusted adult and visit well-lit houses. Tell your children to deny rides from strangers.
  • Check Your Child’s Candy
    Make sure to sort through candy at the end of the night and throw away any candy that is not in its original wrapper or looks as if it has been opened.

Sources:

http://www.rd.com/slideshows/7-trick-or-treating-safety-tips/

 

Holiday Decoration Safety Tips from CPSC

ImageBefore crawling up on the roof to string the Christmas lights, you need to know that every year, hospital emergency rooms treat about 12,500 people for injuries, such as falls, cuts and shocks, related to holiday lights, decorations and Christmas trees, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

In addition, warns CPSC, candles start about 11,600 each year, resulting in 150 deaths, 1,200 injuries and $173 million in property loss. Christmas trees are involved in about 300 fires annually, resulting in 10 deaths, 30 injuries and an average of more than $10 million in property loss and damage.

“Sometimes people are having such a nice time during the holidays that they forget to extinguish candles,” said CPSC Chairman Hal Stratton. “Always put out lit candles before leaving a room or going to bed. Always keep burning candles within sight. Also, make sure your holiday lights bear the mark of a recognized testing lab to show they meet safety standards.”

Since CPSC started monitoring holiday lights and decorations sold at stores nationwide, inspectors have prevented the import of 116,500 units of holiday lights that did not meet safety standards.

CPSC tips to make your holiday a safe one:

Trees:

  • When purchasing an artificial tree, look for the label “Fire Resistant.” Although this label does not mean the tree won’t catch fire, it does indicate the tree will resist burning and should extinguish quickly.
  • When purchasing a live tree, check for freshness. A fresh tree is green, needles are hard to pull from branches and do not break when bent between your fingers. The trunk butt of a fresh tree is sticky with resin, and when tapped on the ground, the tree should not lose many needles.
  • When setting up a tree at home, place it away from fireplaces and radiators. Because heated rooms dry live trees out rapidly, be sure to keep the stand filled with water. Place the tree out of the way of traffic and do not block doorways.

Lights:

  • Indoors or outside, use only lights that have been tested for safety by a recognized testing laboratory, which indicates conformance with safety standards. Use only lights that have fused plugs.
  • Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections, and throw out damaged sets. Always replace burned-out bulbs promptly with the same wattage bulbs.
  • Use no more than three standard-size sets of lights per single extension cord. Make sure the extension cord is rated for the intended use.
  • Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. The tree can become charged with electricity from faulty lights, and a person touching a branch could be electrocuted.
  • Before using lights outdoors, check labels to be sure they have been certified for outdoor use.
  • Stay away from power or feeder lines leading from utility poles into older homes.
  • Fasten outdoor lights securely to trees, house walls, or other firm supports to protect the lights from wind damage. Use only insulated staples to hold strings in place, not nails or tacks. Or, run strings of lights through hooks (available at hardware stores).
  • Turn off all holiday lights when you go to bed or leave the house. The lights could short out and start a fire.
  • Use caution when removing outdoor holiday lights. Never pull or tug on lights – they could unravel and inadvertently wrap around power lines.
  • Outdoor electric lights and decorations should be plugged into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). Portable outdoor GFCIs can be purchased where electrical supplies are sold. GFCIs can be installed permanently to household circuits by a qualified electrician.

Decorations:

  • Use only non-combustible or flame-resistant materials to trim a tree. Choose tinsel or artificial icicles of plastic or nonleaded metals. Leaded materials are hazardous if ingested by children.
  • Never use lighted candles on a tree or near other evergreens. Always use non-flammable holders, and place candles where they will not be knocked down.
  • In homes with small children, take special care to avoid decorations that are sharp or breakable, keep trimmings with small removable parts out of the reach of children to avoid the child swallowing or inhaling small pieces, and avoid trimmings that resemble candy or food that may tempt a child to eat them.
  • Wear gloves to avoid eye and skin irritation while decorating with spun glass “angel hair.”
  • Follow container directions carefully to avoid lung irritation while decorating with artificial snow sprays.

Fireplaces:

  • Use care with “fire salts,” which produce colored flames when thrown on wood fires. They contain heavy metals that can cause intense gastrointestinal irritation and vomiting if eaten. Keep them away from children.
  • Do not burn wrapping papers in the fireplace. A flash fire may result as wrappings ignite suddenly and burn intensely.

[Source: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission]

 Get a free brochure with more holiday decorating safety tips at CPSC’s web site:http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/611.html

What causes diaper rash?

Diaper rash is a very common type of skin irritation in healthy babies. This can develop from many different sources.

Diaper rash may be very uncomfortable for the child and is always concerning for parents. The rash appears red, puffy, and irritated and is usually in the distribution of the buttocks, thighs, and genital region for boys and girls. The baby will have increased fussiness or crying due to pain from the rash.

It’s always important to change your child’s diaper frequently throughout the day. Never let your child sleep or sit in a soiled diaper. It may be better to use a baby wipe that is fragrance free or for sensitive skin. Sometimes the fragrance from scented baby wipes can cause irritation. An alternative is to simply use warm water and paper towels instead of baby wipes.

There are several different over-the-counter treatments for uncomplicated diaper rash. If the skin is very dry and irritated, using ointments like Desitin or “cod liver oil” is safe. For very dry skin, many parents will use Aquaphor or a thick moisturizer with each diaper change.

If the rash is caused by too much heat or moisture, then the opposite type of treatment is needed. For example, it may be necessary to dry out the skin by leaving the child out of the diaper whenever possible.  When you have just changed the baby’s dirty diaper or she is down for a nap, you can safely leave your baby open without a diaper on at all. Many parents will purchase disposable rectangular underpads. This way, the child will have “air time” to the skin without soiling your linens. Open air is the best cure for diaper rashes.

Some diaper rashes are actually caused by a fungal infection. These will be characterized by circular dots with redness, inflammation and swelling. Using the above treatments may not be enough to calm it down. Over-the-counter ketoconazole or athlete’s foot creams can be used safely. The medicine will need to be used twice a day for at least 3 weeks in a row. Fungal infections actually have roots and it’s important to kill the root to prevent redevelopment. Your pharmacist can show you the correct cream for this situation.

For severe cases of diaper rash caused by a fungal infection, prescription antifungal medication may be needed. The most common prescription is called Nystatin cream. This is safe and effective in most babies.

Finally, there are cases of bacterial infections that can cause swelling, pus, and fever. Those cases may require antibiotics.

Always talk with your doctor about any rashes that are concerning to you.

– Muhammad Emran, MD
Medical Director
www.WestOaksUrgentCare.net

Does my child have croup?

Croup is a common illness that affects young children. It occurs more often in the fall and winter months. It is characterized by a harsh, barking cough because of swelling in the voicebox and the breathing tubes that connect to the lungs. Sometimes people have difficulty breathing.

It is usually worse at night and is very scary for parents. However, in most cases, it does get better within a few days.

Croup is caused by different viruses. However, as children grow older, their lungs become stronger and croup becomes much less common. Your doctor can listen to your child’s lungs and diagnose croup very quickly. The doctor may check the oxygen level by using a pulse oximetry on the fingernail, which is not painful.

Sometimes running a humidifier or hot water steam helps to calm down the cough. Other times, cool night air is beneficial by taking your child outside for about 15 minutes.

If your child is getting worse, you should call your doctor or take them to the nearest emergency room. The doctor will determine if steroids, antibiotics, or other medications will help your child.

 

– Muhammad Emran, MD

Medical Director

http://www.WestOaksUrgentCare.net

 

Folate and Healthy Babies

Folate, also called folic acid, is a very important vitamin for women and babies. It is critical for healthy DNA and brain development in babies. Pregnant women need at least 400 µg daily.

 

Because it takes several months for folate to build up in a woman’s body, the best time to take folate and prenatal vitamins is before becoming pregnant.


Women who don’t eat enough folate have a higher risk of babies born with neural tube defects. Low folate during pregnancy is also linked with lower birth weight, preterm delivery, and fetal growth retardation.

The baby’s brain and spinal nerves begin to develop in the first 2 months of pregnancy. A woman may not know she is pregnant until she misses her period. If she is deficient in folate, her baby will miss out on the full benefits of prenatal vitamins during this important time.

Since 1998, many foods in America are fortified with folate, including bread, cereal, pasta, and other grains. However, certain foods naturally have a large amount of folate including spinach, black-eyed peas, beef liver, and asparagus.

Folate and prenatal vitamins are available over-the-counter, but prescriptions medication is also available. Talk with your doctor today to build up your folate levels. Your baby will thank you for it.

Reviewed by Muhammad Emran, MD

www.WestOaksUrgentCare.net

www.CDC.gov