Guest Post: What is ORT?

ORT stands for oral rehydration therapy. It’s something you can do at home to help prevent the dehydration that can be associated with vomiting and diarrhea. Generally, what happens in the gastrointestional (GI) tract when it’s infected (either by a virus or bacteria) is that is get’s irritable. One strategy to help keep fluids down is to give very small amounts of fluid frequently. The stomach is more often able to handle these small amounts of fluid rather than just letting the child drink what they want. They’ll keep more down and you’ll be able to know exactly what they’ve taken in. Pedialyte or equivalent is generally recommended for kids 2 and under. Sports drink preparations for kids 3 and up. Sometimes, kids aren’t very fond of the commercially prepared flavors. One nursing trick for you to try at home is to get unflavored Pedialyte or an equivalent knock-off brand. Get a sugar-flavored drink mix and put just enough crystals in the fluid to give it a decent taste. It doesn’t take too much and mix only a small volume—a couple of ounces at a time. Then, if your child doesn’t like it, you haven’t wasted much of the Pedialyte which tends to be more expensive and you can try another flavor with the less expensive drink mix. Once mixed, give small amounts every five minutes. For babies under 3 months—give 3ml. For 3mo-3yr—give 5ml. For 3+yrs—give 5-10ml to start. Once your child has tolerated this for 30-45 minutes, you can try to double the dose of the fluid. What if they vomit? Give it 15 minutes and start...

Guest Post: Humor Me

by Jordyn Redwood Don’t we need humor in life to make it through? Life is hard. I have two very serious jobs. I’m a real life pediatric ER RN and a suspense novelist. Those can be heavy days but they can also be fun days—by using a little humor to get through. Marriage is no different, right? Humor is necessary. What are some of the funniest things that have happened between you and your spouse? To take a break from discussing serious subjects: like death, trauma, and writing suspense—I thought I’d take a humor break and share some funny highlights from my married life. Do you find that opposites attract? That’s the truth with my husband and I. He’s the quiet introvert. I’m the more outspoken extrovert. He gets queasy at the site of blood. Obviously, I do not. What we have seems to work—as we’ve been married almost fifteen years. During our dating years, we were set to see a movie. I drove to his place and let myself in—and then sat there fuming when he was nowhere to be found. This was before the age of everyone having a cell phone. Finally, his phone rings. I answer. He’s on the line. “Where are you?” He asks. “Where are you?” I ask right back. He says, “I’m at your place!”—“Well, I’m where you should be.” Other funny moments? Let’s see—teaching kindergarten Sunday school with his ex-girlfriend. Well, we can laugh about that now. My husband likes to trim his own hair. One day, he mistakenly forgot to put the spacer on the clippers and took a swipe. Without...

Guest Post: Medications to Always Have On Hand

It does surprise me, working in the ER, that often times parents don’t have basic medications on hand. So, in an effort to right this, I’m providing a list of medications, from an ER nurse’s perspective, that are good to keep in stock and make sure aren’t expired. Acetaminophen: The fever reducer, pain medication appropriate for every age group. This is otherwise known as Tylenol. Here are a few things to consider. Check with your physician before treating an infant who is less than 2 months old with acetaminophen. Often times in this age group, we want to know what their actual temperature is and then once we know, we can give them a dose in the ER. Infants older than two months, you’re generally okay to give the recommended dose for pain/fever. Tylenol can be given every four hours. Ibuprofen: Good as a fever reducer, pain medication and anti-inflammatory. This is otherwise known as Motrin and Advil.  Ibuprofen should not be given to infants less than six months old. This is due to the concern for adverse effects in this age group. In the case of concern for sprain, strain, or fracture—Ibuprofen is the preferred drug of choice for its anti-inflammatory properties. The recommended dose can be given every six hours. Diphenhydramine: Good to have on hand for simple hives and itchy rashes. Otherwise known as Benadryl. Often times, it’s okay to give Benadryl for concern of allergic reaction but they need to be seen in the ED if this is why you administered it. The recommended dose can be given every six hours. Pedialyte/Sports Drinks: To have...

Guest Post: When Should I be Concerned About My Child’s Pain?

Determining if your child’s pain is significant enough can be a quagmire for every parent. After all, kids can complain a lot about pain. Does this pain represent something I should truly be concerned about? Here are some things to consider to help determine whether your child’s pain is significant enough to be evaluated by a doctor. 1. It wakes them up in the middle of the night. 2. It stops their normal activities. They don’t want to play. You offer them ice cream and cookies and they turn their nose at you. If you have a teen, they stop texting. 3. It limits their normal functioning. Meaning, they can’t walk normally. They won’t bear weight on the extremity. They won’t use an arm. You ask them to touch their chin to their neck and they simply can’t. They lie on the couch all day. 4. You give pain medication and it doesn’t lessen or resolve the pain. Pain that doesn’t respond to over-the-counter analgesics is concerning and should be evaluated. 5. It’s associated with other symptoms. Fever, stiff neck, rashes, vomiting and diarrhea to name a few. Children will often complain of headaches and stomach aches. Often times, nothing serious is going on but how can you be sure? My youngest, who is now seven, used to complain about stomach pain a lot. How do I tell the difference between her wanting attention and something truly physical going on? At the time, she didn’t have any other symptoms… just the pain. After several of these episodes, I took her to her pediatrician for an exam. He didn’t find...

Guest Post: Leading Causes of Abdominal Pain

….In kids under 8. I’m going to focus on this age group because once girls enter the prepubescent phase; a whole new crop of issues can come up related to the reproductive system. So, let’s stick with younger children. I’m curious to know if this list surprises you. 1. Constipation. Shocked? Ask any pediatrician and this will likely be their response. Your child is full of poop. Pain associated with constipation can be excruciating, particularly when gas gets trapped. Children can have diarrhea and still be constipated. What happens in this instance is some liquefied stool leaks around the obstruction. A child can even have what appears to be normal bowel movements—and still be constipated. 2. Urinary Tract Infection. Girls are more prone to urinary tract infection than boys and this can present as lower type abdominal pain. 3. Strep Throat. A cluster of symptoms associated with strep throat are headache, sore throat, fever, abdominal pain and vomiting. So, don’t be surprised if your PCP tests for strep, particularly if the child has some of these other symptoms. 4. Stress. The stomach is highly innervated—meaning it has a lot of nerves. Stress, anxiety, and psychological issues can present as abdominal pain. It doesn’t mean your child doesn’t have pain; there just may not be a physical cause we can find. 5. Gastroenteritis. The “stomach flu”. These bugs can cause abdominal pain/cramping. Are you surprised by what doesn’t lead this list? Appendicitis—sure, it happens but very rarely compared to these other diagnosis and is more common in older children. Obstruction? Again, a more rare diagnosis. Does this list surprise you...

Guest Post: Is Breast Always Best?

Is Breastfeeding Always Best? The topic of breastfeeding is always a hot one. I remember being pregnant with my first daughter and outwardly saying, “I’m not going to worry much about breastfeeding. If it works, great! If not, it’s no big deal.” Little did I realize the emotional impact not being able to breastfeed my daughter would have on me psychologically. I simply could not get her to latch on. She would end up screaming and I would end up sobbing. My ideal just wasn’t meeting real life. Why do medical professionals prefer breastfeeding? It’s what Mother Nature intended. It is easy and convenient—no need to pack bottles, formula, etc. Breast milk is easier for the baby to digest. More importantly, it provides the baby some extra immunity. The mother passes on antibodies for things she’s protected against to the baby. There are plenty of resources that talk about the benefits of breastfeeding. I’ll include this link: www.breastfeedingbasics.com/ So, yes, I’m on board with encouraging a mother to try breastfeeding first. As a nurse, I’ve also seen breastfeeding not work and, in conjunction with your pediatrician, it might be worth having a conversation about stopping in these situations. The baby is not growing. Sometimes, as in my case, the mother and baby never get in a good rhythm. Or, the mother is simply not producing enough of a supply. In this case, it might be worth having a discussion with a lactation specialist for some extra pointers. Paramount is for the baby to stay hydrated. You can tell that your baby is hydrated if they are having a good...
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