Diagnosis, treatment, and services for your everyday medical needs such as flu shots and lab work.
There is no other way of saying it, but we all poop. It’s something every person does and believe it or not, your stool says a lot about your health. With that being said, your child may have a tough time expressing this because of their lack of knowledge and they may be embarrassed to talk about it. It is important for you as the parent to be aware of your child’s bathroom habits so you know if they are ill or if you need to take them to see their healthcare provider. This may not be the most fun information to learn, but it is very important.
Diarrhea is when stools are loose and watery. When experiencing diarrhea, your child may also need to go to the bathroom more often. Diarrhea is a common problem. It may last 1 or 2 days and go away on its own. If diarrhea lasts more than 2 days, your child may have a more serious problem and should be seen by their healthcare provider.
The symptoms your child may experience when they have diarrhea can vary depending on if it’s mild or severe and what the cause of diarrhea might be. Sometimes there is a correlation between serious cases of diarrhea and a medical condition that has gone untreated. It can be tricky because your child may experience all these symptoms or only a few. The main symptom of diarrhea is a loose or watery stool, but other symptoms may include bloating nausea, and an immediate need to use the bathroom. In more serious cases your child may experience fever, weight loss, dehydration, severe pain, and blood in the stool. Severe diarrhea can lead to significant complications and if your child is experiencing these symptoms, call their healthcare provider and seek medical attention.
Believe it or not, there are several different ways to categorize diarrhea.
Acute diarrhea: The most common form. Acute diarrhea is loose watery diarrhea that lasts one to two days. This type doesn’t need treatment and it usually goes away after a few days.
Persistent diarrhea: This type of diarrhea generally persists for several weeks, anywhere from two to four weeks.
Chronic diarrhea: Diarrhea that lasts for more than four weeks or comes and goes regularly over a long period of time is called chronic diarrhea.
Your child’s healthcare provider will ask about their symptoms and health history. They will then give your child a physical exam and if need be, your son or daughter may have lab tests to check their blood and urine. Outside of that, some other tests may include image testing to rule out certain diseases, blood tests, and a stool culture to check for abnormal bacteria or parasites in your child’s digestive tract. This requires a small stool sample to be taken and sent to a lab.
There is also something called a sigmoidoscopy. This test lets the healthcare provider check the inside of your child’s large intestine. This helps to tell what is causing diarrhea, stomach pain, constipation, abnormal growth, and bleeding. The tube is put into your child’s intestine through the rectum, then the tube blows air into the intestine to make it swell.
Identifying the cause of diarrhea can be very difficult, however, the most common cause is typically when a virus infects your bowel. This usually lasts a couple of days and sometimes you’ll hear it being referred to as the intestinal flu. Some other ways your child may have diarrhea would be due to infections by bacteria or pre-formed toxins, eating certain foods, allergies, medications, and in some cases radiation therapy.
Dehydration is the biggest issue when talking about diarrhea. This is more likely the case with young children and those with a weakened immune system. Their dehydration can be mild, moderate, or severe. Mild dehydration is the loss of fluid and moderate or severe dehydration puts stress on the heart and lungs. In severe cases, it can lead to shock, which is life-threatening.
Children with viral diarrhea will usually have a fever and may vomit. Soon after these symptoms appear, children will experience diarrhea. It is important to note that part of treating diarrhea is preventing your child from becoming dehydrated.
Treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is. Dehydration is the major concern with diarrhea and in most cases, treatment includes replacing lost fluids. Antibiotics may be prescribed when bacterial infections are the cause. Children should drink lots of fluids that replenish lost body fluids. If your child is dehydrated, be sure to offer drinks called glucose-electrolyte solutions. These fluids have the right balance of water, sugar, and salts. They should also avoid juice or soda and make sure not to give too much plain water to kids of any age.
When taking over-the-counter drugs, it is important to always follow the instructions. The rules for managing diarrhea in an adult are different than in children, making it important to always call your child’s healthcare provider before giving your child any type of medication for diarrhea.
If your child has severe diarrhea, call their healthcare provider. Young children are at a higher risk of dehydration than adults and you can’t treat a child’s diarrhea the same way you would treat an adult. Over-the-counter medications can be dangerous in young children, and their healthcare provider should manage all diarrhea treatments in children. It’s important to keep your child hydrated. Their provider will decide what is the best way to make sure they stay hydrated, but options often include breast milk, formula, and beverages with electrolytes (for older children, not babies).
In extreme cases of diarrhea, your child may become very dehydrated and because of this, have serious complications. As stated before, dehydration is one of the most harmful side effects of diarrhea and in infants and small children, this can have serious consequences.
If your child has diarrhea that doesn’t seem to improve or resolve completely, you should call their healthcare provider. Pay attention to any other symptoms they may be experiencing which might include fever, vomiting, rash, weakness, numbness, lightheadedness, dizziness, weight loss, and blood in your stool.
At the end of the day, your child’s diarrhea is most likely nothing more than a stomach bug or a bad belly ache. Even though there is a chance it may be something more serious, over-the-counter drugs and plain food complimented with plenty of fluids should do the trick and have your child feeling healthy in no time. But if your little one doesn’t seem to be healing back to their normal selves, our trained staff at Chai Care will be happy to offer our expert advice and top-notch service!
* Legal disclaimer: The content of this article and the entire Chai Care blog is for educational purposes only; it does NOT constitute medical advice and must not be considered as such. Please consult a medical professional regarding any symptoms or health concerns you or your loved ones.Feb 16, 2023
Broken bones are no joke. Injuries like breaks and fractures can have long-term effects if gone untreated and for children, they are that much more serious. Kids are known to horse around, rambunctiously playing without thinking about the consequences which can, unfortunately, lead to sustaining one of these injuries. Thankfully, casting and splinting have given us the ability to heal back to our healthy selves. They help to immobilize the injured limb to keep the bone in place until it fully heals. Of course, everyone has either had or knows someone who has needed a cast or splint, still, they are important to learn about just in case you or your child may need one someday.
Casts and splints are orthopedic devices that are used to protect, and support broken or injured bones and joints. Casts are usually made from fiberglass or plaster and splints are what you would call half-casts and provide less support than casts. Casts differ from splints because they supply more support and safety for a limb that is injured or broken.
Splints provide less support than casts, but the good thing is that they are faster and easier to use. Splints also can be tightened or loosened easily if the swelling in the arm or leg increases or decreases. Ready-made or “off-the-shelf” splints are available in many different sizes and shapes and in more unique cases, custom-made splints are required.
Simply put, casts and splints are used when a bone is broken and can also be used following orthopedic surgery. Sometimes splints are used immediately following an injury due to swelling of the injured area. After the swelling goes down, then a full cast might be applied to the injured limb. Sometimes a cast might have to be swapped during the healing process if the wounded area becomes less swollen and the cast gets looser. If this does happen, the cast might be replaced with a splint to provide more flexibility.
It may not seem important to know, but understanding the types of casts and splints that are available and what they are made of can not only improve your child’s healing process but can also potentially harm your child depending on if they have allergic reactions to specific chemical compounds.
Casts are partly made from fiberglass or plaster, which form the solid layer that protects the injured limb and keeps it restrained. Fiberglass has several advantages compared to plaster. It’s light, making the cast weight loss and comfortable. Fiberglass is the better choice in case the limb must be X-rayed during the healing process, and they are also available in a variety of colors that your child can choose from!
Your child’s cast may or may not be waterproof. The outside of most casts are made of waterproof fiberglass, but the inside liner must also be made of waterproof fabric in order for the cast to be waterproof. Your child’s healthcare provider will tell you which cast they have.
Typically, waterproof liners are breathable, and they transfer moisture away from the skin by letting water pass through and drain out which allows air to go into the cast and dry the skin.
Non-waterproof liners are used if your child is allergic to the waterproof liner. These will soak up water and take much longer to dry.
It’s important to investigate problems with blood circulation in the injured limb. A good strategy to use is checking the fingers or toes of the injured limb every day. The fingers or toes should have no swelling or changes in skin color. If you press on a nail bed until it turns white, the color should return to normal within 3 to 4 seconds after you take your finger off the nail. The fingers and toes should not be pale or bluish the temperature of the fingers and toes should feel warm. Also, check the skin around all edges of the cast each day for red, dry, swollen, cracked, blistered, or bleeding areas.
Your healthcare provider will remove the cast with a special cast saw when the bone has healed appropriately. The cast saw has a flat, rounded metal blade that vibrates. But don’t worry! The saw can cut through the cast without injuring the skin underneath. Your child’s physician will then cut the cast in several places, usually along both sides of the cast. After this, the cast will spread and open and a special tool is used to lift it off. Scissors are used to cut through the protective padding and stockinette layers which then are removed.
Complications can range from minor to severe and may vary according to the length of time that the cast is worn. It is best to speak to your child’s healthcare provider if you feel that the cast or splint is causing them harm.
Pressure sores are one injury that may occur. These are sores that develop on the skin under the cast. This can happen because the cast was too tight or did not fit correctly, causing excess pressure on one area.
There is also something called Compartment Syndrome. This is a complication caused by a tight or rigid cast that constricts a swollen limb. When the pressure inside the cast builds, it can cause damage to the muscles, nerves, or blood vessels in the space covered by the cast. The damage may be permanent if it is not discovered and treated promptly. Call your child’s healthcare provider or visit the emergency room immediately if you notice that your child has numbness or tingling in the affected limb, cold or pale skin, burning or stinging, or increased pain or swelling.
Even though we live in a world where your child can receive a cast or splint and make a full recovery, it is still important to promote safe play and educate them on how to protect themselves. Kids love to mess around and sometimes that leads to an injury, but this is no reason for them not to still be their energetic selves. The good news is that if your child does wind up needing a cast or splint, the experts at Chai Care will always be here to supply your little one with a perfectly mounted cast or splint!
* Legal disclaimer: The content of this article and the entire Chai Care blog is for educational purposes only; it does NOT constitute medical advice and must not be considered as such. Please consult a medical professional regarding any symptoms or health concerns you or your loved ones.Jan 31, 2023
Understanding the symptoms of your child’s illness or injury is extremely important but knowing the different forms of medication and remedies they need to heal their wounds is crucial to their overall health. Most parents know the typical over-the-counter drugs to use for at-home care, however, new drugs come out every year, making it that much more important to stay informed on how to best treat your child in today’s world—in this case nebulizer treatment.
A nebulizer is a device that sprays a fine, liquid mist of medicine. It is often used in younger children who can’t use inhalers. The device has an air compressor, a cup for medicine, and tubing connected to a mouthpiece or mask. Your child breathes in the medicine through the mouthpiece or mask. Each treatment takes about 15 to 20 minutes to complete. There are several different types of nebulizers used for asthma medicine: jet nebulizers, ultrasonic nebulizers, and mesh nebulizers. It’s important to know that the instructions can be slightly different for each. So, make sure you know how to use your child’s nebulizer.
Nebulizer treatment can be tricky at times which makes the following steps important to know when giving treatment to your child. Still, you should speak to your child’s healthcare provider for specific instructions, but usage will vary depending on the child’s symptoms.
First things first, wash your hands and gather the recommended supplies which are medicine to be nebulized and additional nebulizing solution such as sterile saline. Then, grab your nebulizer set. This is the nebulizer cup, mouthpiece or mask, and tubing to connect to the nebulizer machine. Find a quiet activity for your child to do while he or she sits up for the treatment such as reading a book, drawing, or playing a quiet game.
After this, place the nebulizer on a flat surface, the best place would be on a table or the floor. Then, plug the unit into a wall outlet and connect the tubing to the nebulizer machine, and finally put the medicine into the nebulizer cup and screw the cap on securely. Some medicine may be premixed. Other medicine may need to be measured. Connect the other end of the air tubing to the nebulizer cup, connect the mouthpiece or face mask to the nebulizer cup, and now turn the machine on. It’s important to check to make sure a fine mist of medicine is coming through the face mask or mouthpiece. Most nebulizer cups need to be held upright to work correctly.
Place the mouthpiece in your child’s mouth with their lips sealed around the mouthpiece and make sure to encourage your child to take slow deep breaths in and out of their mouth. The mist should disappear with each breath.
Place the mask over your child’s mouth and nose. The adjustable elastic band may be used to hold the mask in place and make sure your child takes deep breaths in and out for the entire treatment. Instruct your child to continue slow, deep breaths until all the medicine in the nebulizer cup is gone. You may need to tap the sides of the nebulizer cup to make sure all medicine is given. Once you have done this, turn the nebulizer machine off and check your child’s peak flow and make sure to measure it before and after the treatment.
It’s important to stay with your child during their nebulizer treatment and if your child vomits or has a severe coughing spell, stop the treatment. Make sure your child rests for a few minutes, then resume the treatment. Check the filter on the nebulizer machine once a week to ensure it is clean and sanitary. When it becomes discolored, replace it with a new filter. Always keep spare nebulizer supplies at home. Before you run out, call your medical supply company.
Sometimes babies and little kids have trouble getting asthma treatments with a nebulizer. Kids need to sit still for anywhere between 15 to 20 minutes while they breathe in the medicine. Every parent with a toddler knows just how hard that can be.
Using a nebulizer should become a daily routine. Use the nebulizer at the same time each day, so your child knows to expect it. Some parents give treatment time a fun name, to make it exciting. You can do things like read stories, watch movies or play with toys during nebulizer time to make your child feel more comfortable
If your child is afraid of the mask, you can turn it into a game, saying it’s a superhero mask and will give them special powers. Maybe throw on Spider-Man or an Avengers movie so they can really engage with your story. There are also masks you can buy that are shaped like animals and cool creatures!
If your child is old enough, have them help you put the mask on, hold the tubing, and turn the machine on and make sure to congratulate your child for a job well done!
Not every child will handle nebulizer treatment the same which is why listening to your son or daughter is so important. Some children can sit still for long periods of time while others fuss around and will become agitated. Treatment such as this one requires patience and concentration, making you that much more important to the healing process. The good news is if you do find yourselves struggling to use a nebulizer, the experts at Chai Care will happily guide you through all the steps and your child will be healthy in no time!
* Legal disclaimer: The content of this article and the entire Chai Care blog is for educational purposes only; it does NOT constitute medical advice and must not be considered as such. Please consult a medical professional regarding any symptoms or health concerns you or your loved ones.
Probably the most notorious and most well-known illness a childhood illness catches is chickenpox. This infection is virtually unavoidable and when a child does contract it, you’ll be the first to know due to its obvious symptoms and your child complaining of severe discomfort. It’s one of those nasty viruses that almost every person suffers from when they are a youngster but even though it is treatable, it is important to know the signs and symptoms to not spread it to any other children.
So, what exactly is Chickenpox? Essentially, it is a viral infection that causes your child to have a fever and an itchy rash with spots all over their body. Once upon a time, chickenpox was a common childhood illness in the United States, especially in kids under age 12, but thankfully it is much rarer now, thanks to the varicella vaccine.
Chickenpox is caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV). This virus also can cause a painful skin rash called shingles (herpes zoster) later in life. After someone has had chickenpox, the virus stays dormant in the nervous system for the rest of a person’s life. It’s worth mentioning that the virus can reactivate later in life as shingles, however, kids who are vaccinated against chickenpox are much less likely to develop shingles when they get older.
Typically, chickenpox starts without the classic rash, with a fever, headache, sore throat, or stomachache. These symptoms may last for a few days, with the fever in the 101°–102°F range. After this, the red, itchy skin rash usually starts on the belly or back and face. After this, it spreads to almost everywhere else on the body, including the scalp, mouth, arms, legs, and genitals.
The rash begins with many small red bumps that look like pimples or insect bites. They appear in waves over 2 to 4 days, then develop into thin-walled blisters filled with fluid. The blister walls break, leaving open sores, which finally crust over to become dry, brown scabs. All three stages of the chickenpox rash (red bumps, blisters, and scabs) appear on the body at the same time. Sometimes the rash may spread wider or be more severe in kids who have weak immune systems or skin disorders like eczema.
Thankfully, symptoms are usually mild among children but may be life-threatening to children, adults, and people with impaired immune systems or healthy infants. Symptoms to look out for are fatigue, irritability, an itchy, red rash that progresses to tiny, fluid-filled blisters, fever, decreased appetite, muscle and/or joint pain, and a cough or runny nose.
The symptoms of chickenpox may resemble other skin problems or medical conditions. Making it important to consult your child’s healthcare provider for a legitimate diagnosis.
Chickenpox is very contagious. Most kids with a sibling who’s infected will most likely contract it and will show symptoms about 2 weeks after the first child does. If you do have multiple children, make sure the child with chickenpox covers their nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing. Because chickenpox is so contagious, a child who has it should stay home and rest until the rash is completely gone and all the blisters have dried. This takes about 1 week, but if you are unsure about whether your child is ready to return to school, ask your healthcare provider.
Medical professionals can usually diagnose chickenpox just by looking at the obvious rash. From there, they can guide you in watching for complications and in choosing different medicine to ease your child’s itching. It’s important that if you take your child to their healthcare provider to let the staff know ahead of time that your child might have chickenpox to not expose other kids in the office — for some children, a chickenpox infection could cause serious complications.
Since a virus causes chickenpox, antibiotics cannot treat it. But antibiotics are needed if bacteria infect the sores. This usually happens when kids scratch and pick at the blisters. An antiviral medicine might be prescribed for people with chickenpox who are at risk for complications, but this will depend on the child’s age, health, the extent of the infection, and the timing of treatment.
The great news is that chickenpox can be prevented! Most children who get the chickenpox vaccine will not get chickenpox. And if they do get chickenpox, their symptoms will be much milder. Healthcare providers highly recommend that kids receive the vaccine when they’re 12–15 months old and a booster shot when they’re 4–6 years old. Children 6 years of age and older who have never had chickenpox and aren’t vaccinated can and should get two doses of the vaccine and kids who have had chickenpox do not need the vaccine — they usually have lifelong protection against the illness.
The best to way to help the itchiness and discomfort of chickenpox is by using a cool wet compresses or giving your child a bath in lukewarm water every 3–4 hours for the first few days. It’s worth mentioning that oatmeal bath products can help to relieve itching. Other methods of pain relief would be patting (not rubbing) the body and putting calamine lotion on itchy areas.
To prevent scratching, it’s best to use mittens or gloves on your child’s hands to avoid scratching during sleep and trim their fingernails to keep them clean.
If your child has blisters in the mouth, give cold, soft, bland foods because chickenpox in the mouth can make it hard to drink or eat. Avoid anything acidic or salty, like orange juice or pretzels.
Most chickenpox infections don’t need special medical treatment but, in some cases, unexpected problems can happen. You should call your healthcare provider if your child has a fever that lasts for more than 4 days, has a severe cough or trouble breathing, has an area of rash that leaks pus, has a severe headache, or lastly, has a stiff neck.
In most cases, chickenpox is not something to lose sleep over. Nearly every child gets it and even though watching your child in agony is unpleasant, this virus goes away quickly and will soon become a thing of the past. Even though there are many ways you can treat your child at home, it is still best to take your kid to their healthcare provider and the experts at Chai Care will always be here to offer their top-notch service as they supply your little one with exceptional care!
I’ll lead in with a personal story.
I landed my first job at the age of sixteen docking and fueling boats at a small little marina in Southern Connecticut. It’s hard to remember the name, this was going back over 20 years now. The gig was a dream. Pretty girls, cash tips, and during my lunch break I’d fish from the peer at the corner of the boating yard. I imagined myself working there forever. I didn’t have much desire to attend college or travel, I had no plans or reservations to go anywhere but sometimes life makes decisions for us.
I was in the middle of pumping gas, probably flirting with one of the boat owner’s daughters when two police officers walked my way. I didn’t think much of it because the Stratford water police docked their boat at our marina. Once the officers came a little closer, I didn’t recognize them. They were from a different town, Bridgeport. My town. “Are you Harrison Todd?” the officer asked me. I told him yes and he told me that my father was in a construction accident. I never saw my father again.
I know this personal example is extreme. But please hear me out: Whatever job you do, it has a repeated pattern of day-to-day activities, and that pattern molds your body in a certain way. Whether you’re an office worker, a truck driver or an airline pilot, you’re exposed to consistent amount of stress combined with immobility, too much caffeine, sleep deprivation and below-average food. If you work with your hands for a living, you get your share of small or medium traumas, or, as was the case with my father, you may lose your life at work.
Soon afterwards, I moved to upstate New York to live with my grandparents. They were nice people, but I absolutely hated the town and most of the people in it. I was angry, depressed, and had no sense of direction. It wasn’t until I attended a small rock concert that I felt a spark again. I befriended one of the guitarists after the show where he told me about their adventures. Traveling all over the country, drinking, doing drugs, endless parties, and sleepless nights. It was the thrill I was so desperately craving and when he offered me a job to be the band’s driver I accepted on the spot.
Being a road dog (that’s what we called ourselves), took a massive toll on my body. The band never reached A-list status but for over fifteen years we toured all over the country playing at small clubs, pubs, festivals, and even a few gigs overseas. During the years I broke both of my legs, had multiple concussions, stitches, and fractures, and avoided treatment at all costs. The bandmates who are now my best friends fired me. Not because I was doing a poor job but because they love me. My body simply couldn’t take any more damage, if it weren’t for them, I’d be dead.
It’s easy to ignore the pain when you’re having a great time. Although I was working, life felt more like a vacation which is why I never checked in on myself. I was younger, dumber, and my body was more physically capable and at times would heal itself without me having to put in any effort. After a while, this stops but the pain stays. At first, it was confusing. It’s a new experience and you literally don’t understand what is happening. I was too young to have a limp and chronic pain in my back. Although I was hurt and even angry at the band for forcing me out, deep down I knew they were right. I sought medical attention – I received a much-needed wake-up call.
After several surgeries and physical therapy, it was time to get back to work. Sitting around knowing the band was still partying and living the dream while I was doing calisthenics in a facility that smelt like dirty feet was driving me nuts. Of course, I still had pain throughout my body, and I was warned to not go back to my old lifestyle, but I was too hard-headed to listen. They claimed that old life was behind me, but I figured what momma don’t know, won’t hurt her.
We had been on the road for a week and when we landed in Brooklyn my body simply couldn’t take it. The pain was immense and if I was in a car for longer than an hour I would silently suffer so as not to draw attention to myself. When the band went out for drinks, I brought myself to a nearby urgent care facility where two things happened: a) their incredible team treated me with care and meticulous attention; and b) I also met my future wife.
Most of us value our lives based on our jobs, status, power, and other frivolous pursuits. I loved my job and truly had the experience of a lifetime which ultimately led to meeting the woman that I would marry and raise three beautiful children with however, my body will also never forget. After only minutes of playing with my children, I have to sit down because my knee needs a rest. Traveling is brutal on my back and because of the many bar fights, the band would get into I now have panic attacks in crowded spaces. My family and friends mean everything to me, and the sad truth is I can’t give them all of me because of the years of neglect and choosing work over me.
Believe me when I say take care of your body. No matter what your job is and how much it means to you, value yourself first. You only have one life, and that job will be here long after you.