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.Jan 30, 2023
As bad as breaking a bone or burning yourself can be, most consider infections to be worse due to their ability to spread and potentially come back again. Children are some of the most vulnerable people to contracting a virus because they typically have worse hygiene habits and are less knowledgeable of the signs and symptoms. Cellulitis is definitely one of those bacterial infections to watch out for because if left untreated it can lead to more serious issues.
Cellulitis is a deep bacterial infection of the skin that usually occurs after some type of trauma causes an opening in your child’s skin. Typically, the infection involves your child’s face, arms, and legs. In most cases, human or animal bites or injuries that occur in water can also cause infection and immediate treatment can help prevent the spread of cellulitis. In some cases, cellulitis is considered an emergency and your child’s healthcare provider may treat your child in the hospital depending on the severity of their condition.
Cellulitis is a tricky infection because many of the symptoms may appear as something less significant. If your child has swollen or warm skin, bruising, chills, a fever, or a red streak from the original site of pain, there is a good chance they have cellulitis. In some cases, cellulitis is considered an emergency and you should consult your child’s healthcare provider if the area affected is causing your child to complain of numbness, tingling, or other changes in a hand, arm, leg, or foot, if the skin appears black, or if the area that is red and swollen is around your child’s eyes or behind the ears.
The diagnosis of cellulitis is usually based on the medical history and physical examination of your child. Blood and skin samples may also be taken to confirm the diagnosis and the type of bacteria present.
Specific treatment for cellulitis will be determined by your child’s healthcare provider based on your child’s age, overall health, and medical history. However, treatment may include oral or intravenous antibiotics, warm, wet dressings on the infection site, surgical intervention, and rest.
If your child’s arm or leg is affected, their provider may also have you elevate the extremity and decrease the amount of activity. Also, based on the physical examination, your child’s physician may treat your child in the hospital depending on the severity of the cellulitis. In the hospital, your child may receive antibiotics and fluids through an intravenous catheter.
Complications can be reduced with prompt and accurate treatment by your child’s provider. The most common complications include meningitis, septic arthritis, and an infection of a joint caused by glomerulonephritis.
To prevent cellulitis, protect the skin from cuts, bruises, and scrapes. This isn’t easy, especially for active kids or those who play sports. It’s best if your child uses elbow and knee pads, wears a bike helmet when riding, shin guards, long pants, long-sleeved shirts while hiking in the woods, and sandals on the beach.
If your child does get a cut or scrape, wash it well with soap and water followed by applying an antibiotic ointment, then cover the wound with an adhesive bandage or gauze and lastly, check the wounds often for the first few days to see if any signs of cellulitis begin.
You should contact your provider if any area of your child’s skin becomes red, warm, and painful — with or without fever and chills. This is even more important if the area is on the hands, feet, or face, or if your child has an illness or condition that suppresses the immune system. Also, if your child gets a large cut or a deep puncture wound but most importantly if an animal bites your child, especially if the puncture wound is deep, contact your provider immediately. Cellulitis can happen quickly after an animal bite. Even human bites can cause skin infections too, so call the doctor if this happens.
To recap, cellulitis is a bacterial infection of the skin that often happens in areas where the skin is broken. Because of this, it’s important that your child always washes their hands before and after touching the infected area to make sure it doesn’t get any worse. With that being said, there are only so many at-home options at your disposal which is why Chai Care will always be here to offer top-notch aid!
* 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 10, 2023
If you play with fire you are going to get burned. As adults, we know this already, most likely from a bad experience, but children have yet to figure this out. Burns are nothing to trifle with and can cause serious damage, which is why it is paramount to stay informed and to teach our youth the danger of playing with fire and the consequences that may ensue.
As you already know, burns are a type of injury caused by heat. Heat can be thermal, electrical, chemical, or electromagnetic energy. Most burn accidents occur at home. Interestingly enough, about 75% of all burn injuries in children are preventable. Scalding is the leading cause of burn injury for children, while smoking and open flames are the leading causes of burn injury for older adults.
We all know what a burn is, but many people don’t know what the most common burns are. First off, there are thermal burns. These burns raise the temperature of the skin and tissue underneath. Thermal burns happen from steam, hot bath water, tipped-over coffee cups, hot foods, cooking fluids, etc. Next, there are radiation burns which happen from exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays (a sunburn because the skin isn’t well-protected in the sun) or from radiation such as during an X-ray. Then, there are chemical burns that happen from strong acids (like drain cleaner or button batteries) or spilling chemicals (like bleach) onto the skin or eyes. Lastly, electrical burns. These are from contact with electrical current and can happen from things like biting on electrical cords or sticking fingers or objects in electrical outlets, etc. Knowing the type of burn a child has can help with first-aid measures. All burns should be treated quickly to lower the temperature of the burned area and reduce damage to the skin and tissue underneath.
Simply put, there are first, second, and third-degree burns—1st being the least significant and 3rd being the most serious.
…Also known as superficial burns, burns are the mildest type of burns. They’re limited to the top layer of skin. Signs and symptoms to look out for would be redness, pain, and minor swelling. The skin is dry without blisters. Healing time is about 3–6 days; the superficial skin layer over the burn may peel off in 1 or 2 days.
…Which are a bit more serious. These burns are more serious and involve the top layer of skin and part of the layer below it. The burned area is red and blistered and can swell and be painful. The blisters sometimes break open and the area is wet looking with a bright pink to cherry red color. Healing time varies depending on the severity of the burn. It can take up to 3 weeks or longer.
…Are the most serious type of burn. They involve all layers of the skin and the nerve endings there and may go into underlying tissue. The surface appears dry and can look waxy white, leathery, brown, or charred. There may be little or no pain or the area may feel numb at first because of nerve damage. Healing time depends on the severity of the burn. Most need to be treated with skin grafts, in which healthy skin is taken from another part of the body and surgically placed over the burn wound to help the area heal.
Most small, blistering burns can be treated and cared for at home, however taking your little one to your healthcare provider will always be your best bet. If you have any questions about whether a burn can, be taken care of at home, discuss it with your physician. If you do choose to take the home-care route, make sure to cool the burn by running cool running water over the burn for about five minutes. This helps stop the burning process and decreases pain and swelling. Do not put ice on a burn and don’t rub the burn, because this can worsen the injury. Do not break blisters as this can increase the risk of infection at the burn site. Make sure to cover the burned area with a clean bandage that will not stick to the burned site. This helps decrease the risk of infection and decreases pain. Lastly, protect the burn. It’s crucial to keep the burn site clean with gentle washing with soap and water. Do not apply any ointments to the burn site unless instructed by your pediatrician. Never apply butter, greases, or other home remedies to a burn before discussing it with your healthcare provider, as these can increase the risk of infection as well.
If you believe that your child is suffering from a third-degree burn and has blisters larger than 2 inches or full-thickness burns with white or charred skin, go to an emergency department. It is important that before coming in you should cover the burn with a sterile dressing or clean washcloth or towel.
Superficial or mild partial thickness burns hurt for about two days and peel like a sunburn in about a week. These burns shouldn’t leave a scar if managed correctly. If the burn is open, your child will need a tetanus booster if it has been more than five years since his/her last tetanus shot, your child has had less than three tetanus shots in his/her lifetime, or if you’re not sure when your child had a tetanus shot last. Your child should get this shot from your pediatrician within three days of the burn. Call your healthcare provider immediately if your child’s burn looks infected. Symptoms include a large red area or streak larger than 2 inches around the burn. A fever may or may not be present. If there is increased redness or notice any signs of infection, bring your child to Chai Care and our top-notch staff will gladly take care of your little one!
* 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.
It is no secret that men take great pride in being perceived as tough. What does this mean? Providing for their family, being mentally strong, and being confident—adult men put immense pressure on themselves to be the best versions of themselves but ironically, are not willing to do as much as they should.
According to leading experts, most men avoid going to the doctor. As silly as it may sound, these men would rather silently suffer or choose to believe that they can figure it out on their own, rather than taking a simple visit to a doctor. This is not only an unhealthy approach but is also not necessary. It is counter-productive to not utilize healthcare providers and physicians who can help supply proactive information on how to live a healthy lifestyle. It’s important to stay informed to live your best overall life – whether that be nutrition, exercise, or mental health.
Believe it or not, men die on average five years earlier than women. This may be due to the fact that men are typically more dangerous and bolder in their decision-making. This isn’t to say that taking a risk is a bad thing, just that men tend to neglect their health and at times ignore their own well-being, telling themselves they will eventually figure it out. However, the top three causes of death for men are (in order), heart (cardiovascular) disease, cancer, and unintentional injury. Besides suffering from an unintentional injury, this is crucial to know because if you monitor your health and make thoughtful decisions, the chances of you living a longer and healthier life drastically increase.
On the bright side, once these facts come to light, one can start their journey to recovery and begin to get their health back on track. Those modifications can come through proper diet, simple lifestyle changes, and if necessary, medical or surgical intervention. There is a great opportunity to improve lifestyle habits in many men. In the United States alone, men self-report numerous risk factors for poor health, which include smoking, obesity, binge alcohol drinking, and not exercising. Improvements in these areas will add years on to a man’s life and will improve mental health as well. Furthermore, social factors that may have a negative impact on health are serving in the armed forces, incarceration, and high-risk jobs such as construction, mining, and shipping. Men should be counseled about the potential employment-related hazards they may encounter in these and other jobs.
The simplest and best thing a man can do for themselves is eating clean. Yes, we all love a greasy cheeseburger and an ice-cold beer but in the long run, the key to a healthy lifestyle is feeding yourself food that your body actually wants!
There is a reason why you feel groggy and sluggish after a fat-filled dinner—it’s your body rejecting it and telling you that it would rather have something else. There is always going to be a certain vegetable or protein that you don’t want to eat. The great thing is we now live in a world where there is essentially an alternative to everything, allowing you to still indulge in your favorite guilty pleasures.
Dieting isn’t easy and for most men, it can be an excruciating battle. It’s hard to say no to a slice of pizza and not engage in “Taco Tuesday,” but when you lack good health, everything else suffers. Those extra calories are going to slow you down, you will have a harder time concentrating, and will even make you grumpy.
The key is to reward yourself, but only if you put in the work. There is nothing wrong with having a soda or eating a dozen chicken wings as you watch a football game, but doing this every day, that’s where you’re going to run into trouble. Most of your meals should consist of lean protein, organic vegetables, little carbs, and a lot of water. Boring? Of course, it is! But the results will have you feeling energetic and ready to take on the world.
A good strategy to take is setting a day where you know that you are going to want to lounge around all day and binge on your favorite foods—typically on the weekend. Life is meant to be enjoyed and part of the many pleasures we experience comes from a tasty meal. As good as it would be to eat these sugar-filled treats and salty snacks, the hard truth is that it is simply not doable. Setting a day where you do treat yourself will not only allow you to munch on your favorite foods, but it will also help teach the valuable lesson of discipline.
For some, clean eating is the tricky part and for others it is exercise. In today’s fast-paced world filled with social media and ten-second video clips, it is easy to feel uninspired when you check your phone only to witness how hard someone else is working which in turn will make you feel as if you are falling behind. There is no point in comparing yourself to how hard or little someone else works because they aren’t you and are not going through the same trials and tribulations. It’s best to stay in your own lane and figure out what works best for you.
Whether you enjoy working out in the gym or at home, the key is to just do it (Nike has a point)!. It’s so easy to say that you’ll start tomorrow. Tomorrow then becomes the weekend, that becomes next Tuesday, then suddenly, a month goes by, and you haven’t exercised a single day. No one expects you to work out like a professional athlete. Whether it be walking around the block for 30 minutes a day, or signing up for CrossFit, exercise is not only great for your body but your mind too. This is a time to be alone with your thoughts and listen to your favorite band or podcast, all the while giving your body what it truly needs.
Even though social media can be a distraction, it is also an amazing place to find information. Nowadays, you don’t even need a personal trainer because, with a few flicks of your thumb, you can find an expert who can give you quick and reliable information on how to get in shape. The best part is a lot of these people create exercises that you can do right from the comfort of your home!
No one said dieting and eating healthy is easy, but that is why it is so rewarding. It is a testament to yourself, a way of proving that through hard work and dedication, you can accomplish something that most men struggle with. The key is to be consistent and not allow yourself to fall victim to your guilty pleasures. There are many ways to stay active without “exercising.” Playing sports with your friends, taking long walks, and even certain interactive video games are awesome ways of being active without the intimidating need to enter a gym. Even though junk food and certain fast food options may seem more affordable, there are simple ways to eat clean without breaking the bank.
Getting started is difficult, but in the end, this journey is worth it. You will feel better, be a kinder person, and will drastically increase your health so you can spend more time with your loved ones. The time for excuses is over. No more saying tomorrow or that you are too busy. Look, we’re all busy and all have other things going on in our lives, but fortunately, the staff at Chai Care can supply you with healthy tips and methods on how to get your life back on track!
Pneumonia and Bronchitis are two illnesses that can have many harmful effects. Unfortunately, when children contract it, they experience excoriating pain and if gone untreated, there can be grave consequences. It is important to stay informed and understand the signs of these viruses and illnesses to prevent your child from having any long-term consequences.
Pneumonia is a form of acute respiratory infection that affects the lungs. The lungs are made up of small sacs called alveoli, which fill with air when a healthy person breathes. When an individual has pneumonia, the alveoli are filled with pus and fluid, which makes breathing painful and limits oxygen intake.
Pneumonia is the single largest infectious cause of death in children worldwide. Pneumonia affects children and families everywhere and even though we have amazing healthcare options in our country, our youth is still very much at risk.
The presenting features of viral and bacterial pneumonia are similar. However, the symptoms of viral pneumonia may be more numerous than the symptoms of bacterial pneumonia. In children under 5 years of age who have a cough and/or difficulty breathing, with or without fever, pneumonia is diagnosed by the presence of either fast breathing or lower chest wall indrawing where their chest moves in or retracts during inhalation (in a healthy person, the chest expands during inhalation). Wheezing is more common in viral infections.
There are several ways Pneumonia can spread. The viruses and bacteria that are commonly found in a child’s nose or throat can infect the lungs if they are inhaled. They may also spread via air-borne droplets from a cough or sneeze. In addition, pneumonia may spread through blood, especially during and shortly after birth. More research needs to be done on the different pathogens causing pneumonia and the ways they are transmitted, as this is of critical importance for treatment and prevention.
While most healthy children can fight the infection with their natural defenses, children whose immune systems are compromised are at higher risk of developing pneumonia. A child’s immune system may be weakened by malnutrition or undernourishment, especially in infants who are not exclusively breastfed. Pre-existing illnesses, such as symptomatic HIV infections and measles, also increase a child’s risk of contracting pneumonia.
Pneumonia is caused by several infectious agents, including viruses, bacteria, and fungi. The most common is streptococcus which is the most common cause of bacterial pneumonia in children. Hemophilus influenza is the second most common cause of bacterial pneumonia, followed by the respiratory syncytial virus which is the most common viral cause of pneumonia.
Preventing pneumonia in children is an essential component of a strategy to reduce child mortality. Immunization against Hib, pneumococcus, measles, and whooping cough (pertussis) is the most effective way to prevent pneumonia. Adequate nutrition is key to improving children’s natural defenses, starting with exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life. In addition to being effective in preventing pneumonia, it also helps to reduce the length of the illness if a child does become ill. Addressing environmental factors such as indoor air pollution (by providing affordable clean indoor stoves, for example) and encouraging good hygiene in crowded homes also reduces the number of children who fall ill with pneumonia. In children infected with HIV, the antibiotic cotrimoxazole is given daily to decrease the risk of contracting pneumonia.
If your child’s symptoms are getting worse if he/she has a fever lasting for a few days, breathing problems, trouble drinking fluids, and new symptoms such as neck stiffness or swollen joints, it is time to call your child’s healthcare provider.
Now, it’s time to talk about Bronchitis. What is acute bronchitis in children? Bronchitis is an inflammation of the large breathing tubes in the lungs. The illness can be short-term (acute) or long-term (chronic). Acute bronchitis means that the symptoms often develop quickly and don’t last long. Most cases are mild.
Acute bronchitis is most often caused by a viral infection. It may also be caused by bacteria or things such as dust, allergens, strong fumes, or tobacco smoke. In children, the most common cause of acute bronchitis is a virus. The illness may develop after a cold or other viral infection in the nose, mouth, or throat (upper respiratory tract). Such illnesses can spread easily from direct contact with a person who is sick. Children that are more at risk for acute bronchitis are kids that deal with chronic sinusitis, allergies, asthma, enlarged tonsils and adenoids, and exposure to secondhand smoke.
Your child’s healthcare provider can often diagnose acute bronchitis with a health history and physical exam. In some cases, your child may need tests to rule out other health problems, such as pneumonia or asthma. These tests may include chest X-rays, pulse oximetry, or sputum and nasal discharge samples.
Treatment will vary depending on your child’s symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is. In nearly all cases, antibiotics should not be used to treat acute bronchitis. That’s because most infections are caused by viruses. Even children who have been coughing for longer than 8 to 10 days often don’t need antibiotics.
It is important to talk with your child’s healthcare provider before giving over-the-counter cough and cold medicine to your child. Most experts do not recommend giving medication to children younger than four years old because it may cause harmful side effects. For children between ages four and six, only use over-the-counter products when recommended by your child’s healthcare provider. It is also important to note, not to give aspirin or medicine that contains aspirin to a child younger than age nineteen unless directed by your child’s provider. Taking aspirin can put your child at risk for Reye syndrome. This is a rare but very serious disorder. It most often affects the brain and the liver.
At the end of the day, pneumonia and bronchitis are two nasty illnesses that are brutal to deal with, but very much treatable. If your child finds themselves struggling with either one, self-care is an option, but Chai Care would be your best option for treatment because our incredible staff of trained experts will supply them with quality care while offering top-notch advice on how to stay healthy!
Anyone unfortunate enough to have pink eye understands how painful and frustrating it is. Your eyes burn and the desire to itch the pain away becomes so unbearable that you’ll want to pluck your eyeballs right out. Worst still if the pink eye happens to your kid. This nasty infection is highly contagious and is the most common illness among children due to their lack of hygiene and not knowing who is infected. Your child will inevitably contract pink eye at some point, but there are plenty of ways to prevent and treat this obnoxious virus.
Pink eye is an infection that affects the covering of the eyeball and the inside of the eyelid. While it is usually caused by a virus, it can also be caused by bacteria. Infectious conjunctivitis — the kind that spreads from one person to another — is caused by bacteria, germs, and viruses. Often, the eye becomes infected when your child touches an infected surface and then rubs one of their eyes.
The infection causes the tiny blood vessels in the eye to dilate, resulting in the characteristic pink color. Because pink eye is so contagious, it can rapidly spread through a classroom or group of friends. Most cases of pink eye aren’t serious, but they still need to be treated by an eye doctor to help your child feel better and prevent the infection from getting worse.
Pink eye symptoms are rather easy to spot and trust me when I say, your child will be very verbal about it. The most common symptoms are having pink, red, swollen eyes, or discharge from the eyes, leaking from the eyes, crusty eyelids, lots of tears, and a scratchy, painful feeling in the eyes.
There are a few different ways your child may contract pink eye. Typically, it will be through direct contact. This is when a child with pinkeye touches the discharge from their eye and then touches another child. There is also indirect contact which is when an object that is contaminated with the virus, such as a tissue, is touched or touches another person’s eyes. Lastly, through droplets, this is caused by a common cold, droplets from a sneeze or cough can also spread it.
Most people believe that pink eye and conjunctivitis are one and the same. Yes, they are extremely similar to one another, however, conjunctivitis is slightly different.
Conjunctivitis can happen in one or both eyes. In addition to the pink appearance of your child’s eye, conjunctivitis can cause other symptoms that can help you and your eye doctor determine if conjunctivitis is the culprit. These include itching or burning, grittiness in the eye, discharge from the eye, crust along the eyelashes, and excess tearing. Even though the gritty feeling can be uncomfortable, conjunctivitis typically isn’t painful, nor does it cause blurry vision. If your child has these symptoms, they might have another eye issue, including a different type of infection.
Treatment of pink eye may involve antibiotic eye drops or ointment and will depend on the type of pinkeye. Purulent pinkeye, with a pink or red eyeball, white or yellow discharge, sticky or red eyelids, and eye discomfort, is usually caused by bacteria. It is treated with antibiotics, eye drops, or ointment, which stops the illness from spreading to others.
Non-purulent pinkeye, where the eyeball is pink or red, but the discharge is clear or watery, have range from only mild to no discomfort. It is usually caused by a virus or other irritant such as an allergy or exposure to a chemical like chlorine in a pool. An antibiotic drop will not work for this type of pinkeye.
Treatments for pink eye vary depending on the type. It could be caused by a viral or bacterial infection. Pink eye can also be caused by allergies, but the allergy-related pink eye isn’t contagious. Getting a proper diagnosis will help you get the best treatment for your child, while at-home treatments can help relieve uncomfortable symptoms.
Cold compresses are among the most effective at-home treatments for pink eye symptom relief. Use a separate compress for each eye and use a clean washcloth with each application. You can also clean your child’s eyes by wiping a tissue or similar material from the inner edge of the eye to the outer edge. Use clean material for each wipe so that nothing is rubbed back into the eye. Over-the-counter pink eye medicine like eye drops can help with itchiness and pain, and some are made with antihistamines for allergy-related pink eye.
Once conjunctivitis is diagnosed, treatment depends on what’s causing the infection. Applying warm or cool compresses to your child’s eyes can help relieve some of the itching or burning sensations. You can also help by gently cleaning the rims of your child’s eyelids, especially if your child has discharge from the eye. Lubricating eye drops may also be helpful.
Most cases clear up within a week. During that time, be sure your child washes their hands frequently with soap and warm water and remind them not to touch or rub their eyes. If your child wears contact lenses, have them wear glasses during the infection, and get rid of the lenses they were wearing when the infection began.
Fortunately, there are many ways your child can prevent themselves from contracting pink eye. To list a couple, wipe tears or discharge from your child’s eye from the inside out and in one direction only. Use a clean part of the cloth each time. Make sure they wash their hands and don’t share towels or washcloths because they could spread the illness. Lastly, if your child has viral pinkeye, they can return to childcare once they have seen a doctor. If your child has bacterial pinkeye and is taking antibiotics, they should stay home from childcare or school until they’ve had the antibiotics for 24 hours.
There is no need to panic at the sight of pink eye. However, if your baby has purulent eye discharge and is less than 3 months old, your child seems unwell and has a fever, rash, or eye pain, or if the pinkeye seems to keep coming back, then it is time to see your healthcare provider.
Although pink eye is incredibly painful, fortunately, it goes away quickly compared to other illnesses and rarely leads to something more serious. There are plenty of self-care options, but your best bet would be to take your child to Chai Care so one of our skilled experts can make a proper examination that will be quick and painless!
No matter what season it is, allergies are inevitable. As frustrating as it may be, allergic reactions are a natural part of life even with all the medication and information we have in our modern world. Most allergies are not very harmful but understanding their nuances is an important thing to be aware of because they can lead to certain respiratory issues if gone untreated. This is most certainly the case with children because they are more likely than adults to not know the signs or ignore them due to their adolescent behavior. It’s up to you, the parent, to inform and protect your child from these pesky allergens so let’s explore the different types and symptoms that make your child sneeze, cough, and wheeze.
Allergies are abnormal immune system reactions to specific things that are usually harmless to most people. This causes symptoms that can range from minor to possibly life-threatening. Common allergens include certain foods, dust, plant pollen, and medicines.
If a child with an allergy is exposed to that allergen, their immune system mistakenly believes it’s harming their body. It overreacts, treating the substance as an invader, attempting to fight it off. The immune system makes antibodies called immunoglobulin E to protect the body. These cause certain cells to release chemicals into the bloodstream to defend against the allergen “invader”. It’s the release of these chemicals that causes allergic reactions. Reactions can affect the eyes, nose, throat, lungs, skin, and gastrointestinal tract. Future exposure to that same allergen will trigger this allergic response again.
There are different types of allergies that children may be exposed to. The first would be Airborne Allergies. This would include dust mites, pollen, molds, pets, and cockroaches.
The next would-be food allergies, this is especially common. Fish, eggs, cow’s milk, shellfish, tree nuts, soy, wheat, and sesame are all typical foods that a child may find themselves allergic to. Sometimes a child may have a small cough or light rash but in more serious cases a child can be so allergic to one of these foods that they may need to be rushed to the hospital. It is crucial to be aware of how allergic your child is to one or more of these foods to prevent serious consequences.
Other common allergies would be certain medications, an insect sting, bite, or chemicals. Some cosmetics or laundry detergents can make children break out in hives. Usually, this is because someone has a reaction to the chemicals in these products. Dyes, household cleaners, and pesticides also can cause allergic reactions in some children.
The tendency to develop allergies is often hereditary. They can be passed down through genes from parents to their kids. But just because a parent has allergies doesn’t mean that their kids will get them. And someone usually doesn’t inherit a particular allergy, just the likelihood of having allergies. Some kids have allergies even if no family member is allergic. Unfortunately, kids who are allergic to one thing often are allergic to others.
There are times when children will have cross-reactions. For example, children who are allergic to birch pollen might have symptoms when they eat an apple because that apple contains a protein like one in the pollen. And for reasons that aren’t clear, people with a latex allergy are more likely to be allergic to foods like kiwi, chestnuts, avocados, and bananas.
Some allergens may cause sneezing, a runny nose, itchy eyes and ears, and a sore throat. Other items on the list, such as foods, may cause hives (a red, bumpy, itchy skin rash), a stuffy nose, stomach cramps, vomiting, or diarrhea.
There are times when allergens can cause breathing problems like wheezing and shortness of breath. Some allergens, such as foods, are a problem all year long. But others might bother people only during certain seasons. For instance, you might be allergic to pollen from trees, which is present in the air only in the spring.
If your child sneezes and itches a lot, wheezes, or often gets sick after eating a certain food, they should get checked for allergies. They will ask your child many questions about their health, about the animals and plants in your home, and about the foods they eat. Your child’s answer will provide clues about what they might be allergic to, and the healthcare provider may ask them to stay away from a pet or stop eating a certain food to see if their symptoms go away.
The healthcare provider may send your youngster to an allergist, a special healthcare provider who helps people who have allergies. An allergist may give them a scratch test to see if a tiny bit of an allergen will cause a reaction on their skin. They will feel a quick pinch when the doctor makes the scratch or scratches. If they are allergic, one or more spots will become bumpy, itchy, and red.
Is it a cold or allergies? Both conditions can cause watery eyes, a runny nose, and sneezing. This may require some investigating to see which one you are experiencing, but if you take over-the-counter drugs and they don’t seem to be doing the trick, there is a good chance you have a cold and not an allergic reaction.
Many people mistake chronic hives for allergies. This is understandable as some allergic reactions cause hives, which are characterized by itchy patches of skin that turn into swollen red welts. Hives may be triggered by pet dander, foods such as cow’s milk, tree nuts, and shellfish, certain medications, or pollen, and tend to go away as the allergic symptoms are treated. However, chronic hives last for more than six weeks and may last months or years. If the cause cannot be identified even after a detailed history and testing, the condition is called chronic idiopathic urticaria. Chronic hives may also be associated with thyroid disease, other hormonal problems, or in very rare instances, cancer.
Eczema is a chronic, inflammatory skin condition, and although sufferers may develop asthma and sensitivities or allergies to foods and airborne allergens, eczema itself is not an allergy. However, the skin appears very dry and inflamed, resulting in a similar appearance to allergic contact dermatitis, which is a skin allergy that occurs when a person has exposure to a particular material.
A heat rash is often mistaken for an allergy. The best thing to do is avoid strenuous exercise when it is very warm, use air conditioning and fans in hot weather, take cool showers and baths, dry your skin thoroughly after bathing, wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothes, and drink plenty of fluids to cool the body and to keep hydrated.
If you regularly wake up with a dry throat and tired feeling, you might wonder if you have an allergy when the culprit could be sleep apnea. It is not age-specific, nor does it affect only overweight people. Signs of sleep apnea would be feeling unrefreshed after a full night’s sleep, frequent awakenings during the night, excessive daytime sleepiness or fatigue, being overweight, restless sleep, waking up with headaches, and nighttime acid reflux.
People often confuse food intolerance with a food allergy, but there’s a big difference. Food intolerance may often mimic a food allergy by causing nausea and vomiting, but it is not life-threatening. Children may experience symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, or fatigue. An intolerance is not an immune response, and the symptoms generally relate to stomach issues. While an intolerance to a food may make you miserable, a true food allergy can be potentially life-threatening.
Insect bites can sometimes mimic hives, a skin allergy that can occur in response to ingested allergens, so it’s easy for people to misdiagnose themselves. Like hives, insect bites may appear as raised, itchy bumps, either red or skin-colored.
Sadly, there is no cure for allergies, but symptoms can be managed. The best way to deal with them is to avoid allergens. You should speak to your kids often about the allergy itself and the reactions they can have if they consume or encounter the allergen. It is also important to tell your child’s teachers, family members, and parents of your child’s friends, about your child’s allergy.
If avoiding environmental allergens isn’t possible or doesn’t help, healthcare providers might prescribe medicines, including antihistamines, eye drops, and nasal sprays. In some cases, medical professionals recommend allergy shots to help desensitize a child to an allergen. But these are only helpful for allergens such as dust, mold, pollens, animals, and insect stings. They are not used for food allergies.
At some point, your child is going to experience the annoyance of allergies. It may be minor sniffling and coughing, or something more serious like a tree nut or shellfish allergy but nine out of ten times over-the-counter drugs or antibiotics will do the trick and if that doesn’t work the professionals at Chai Care can take a deeper look. Our trained staff is fully equipped to give a proper diagnosis and supply excellent advice so your child can live a proactive and healthy life!
We can all recall a time when we as children had awful stomach pain or aches. Chances are you were hunched over, gripping your stomach in agony, claiming someone was stabbing your intestines with a knife. Dramatic and exaggerated, but when you’re a kid, everything is theatrical. Some of those incidents were no big deal. Just a minor cramp or nausea from eating too much candy before bed, but other times it may have been serious, so much so that medical attention was needed due to a parasite or appendicitis. Abdominal pain in children can vary from minor to major in the blink of an eye, which is why it is so important to be vigilant of the signs and symptoms.
If your child is experiencing stomach pain, it is most likely due to indigestion, constipation, stress, irritable bowel syndrome, appendicitis, or a stomach bug. These are the most common complaints that a child will have regarding stomach issues and fortunately, over counter drugs or a quick visit to your healthcare provider will help. However, stomach pain is more complicated than you might think. Depending on where the child is feeling the pain, this can change the diagnosis and the severity of the injury.
Stomach pain around the belly button is the most common complaint among children and in most cases, the least significant. The culprit of this discomfort is typically attributed to stress or eating something unagreeable. The best action to take for your child who is struggling with this would be to encourage them to rest, check to see if they need to poop, suggest drinking a glass of water, or offer a distraction of sorts. Reading a soothing story or playing a light-hearted game can take their mind off the pain and before they know it, they’ll forget all about it!
Pain in the lower right side of the abdomen can be much more serious, potentially hinting that your child may have appendicitis. Appendicitis is a serious medical emergency that can cause sudden, severe pain in the lower right part of your child’s stomach. If your child complains of stomach pain that moves to the lower right side of the belly, watch for other symptoms including fever, nausea, vomiting, difficulty passing gas, loss of appetite, constipation, and diarrhea. If you suspect that your child has appendicitis, contact your healthcare provider immediately. Early diagnosis decreases the risk of a ruptured appendix or serious complications.
If your child is complaining about pain on the left side of their stomach, it could be caused by constipation or a more severe condition like pancreatitis. Most of the time, stomach pain on the left side is due to something mild, like constipation. Rarely, it can be a sign of something more serious. Your child’s healthcare provider can work with you to better understand the pain and symptoms your child experiences to ensure they receive an accurate diagnosis.
If your child is complaining about pain in their upper abdomen, they may be experiencing indigestion. Telltale signs of indigestion include pain in the upper belly, nausea, bloating, burping, and heartburn. It is also worth mentioning that if your child has pain in the upper right side of their abdomen, this could also be a sign of gallstones. Gallstones are more common in adults than in children, but some children may be more at risk for developing gallstones, including children with obesity, children with certain health conditions including sickle cell disease, and children with a family history of gallstone disease.
This is a general term that describes discomfort in children’s upper abdomen. Common symptoms include pain or burning in the area between the breastbone and navel or bloating in the upper abdomen. Most of the time, indigestion will go away on its own and is not considered serious. Prepare smaller meals and try a bland diet. Talk with their healthcare provider if the discomfort persists.
This is an infection marked by watery diarrhea, abdominal cramps, pain, and nausea or vomiting. Seek medical attention if your child has a fever of 100.4 F or higher, bloody diarrhea, or significant pain or discomfort. The most important thing to do is to stay well-hydrated.
Constipated children have infrequent bowel movements or hard, dry stools. They may frequently complain of a stomachache, bloating, or discomfort. Talk with their primary care provider if they don’t want to eat, are losing weight, have bloody stools, or are having repeated episodes of constipation.
When children are stressed or anxious, their bodies release the hormone cortisol into the blood. This can trigger abdominal cramps and discomfort.
Appendicitis is an inflammation of the appendix. It causes sudden pain that begins around the navel and then moves to the lower right abdomen. The pain worsens if children cough, walk or make other jarring movements. Appendicitis pain typically increases and eventually becomes severe. Appendicitis is a medical emergency, and these children should receive immediate medical attention.
Appendicitis is one of the more common reasons your child may need surgery. The appendix is a small, dead-end tube leading from a part of the bowel. If this tube gets blocked, it can cause an infection. Appendicitis can happen at any age but is rare in young children.
The pain often starts in the middle of the tummy and moves down low on the right side. The stomach becomes sore to the touch. This is often worse with coughing and walking around. A child with appendicitis often shows signs of being unwell such as fever, refusing food, vomiting, or diarrhea.
If you are concerned your child may be developing appendicitis, visit your healthcare provider. An operation is often needed to remove the appendix, although in some cases the problem will settle without surgery.
Intestinal obstruction is a blockage that prevents food or liquid from passing through children’s small intestines or colon. It could be caused by scar tissue, a twisting or narrowing of the intestine, or if they swallow an object. Common symptoms include abdominal pain that comes and goes and is located around or below the navel, constipation, inability to pass gas, swelling of the abdomen, or vomiting. Seek immediate medical attention if children are suspected to have an intestinal obstruction.
Typically, when the problem is obvious there are no tests needed. However, if tests are needed, they may include blood or urine tests, stool samples, or other special tests for further examination. If your child does undergo tests, the healthcare provider should explain the results to you. Some results may take several days to come back, and these results will be sent to your primary care physician.
Stomach pain in children is usually nothing to worry about. But, if your child experiences any of the following symptoms, take your little one to their healthcare provider: diarrhea, pain when urinating, unexplained weight loss, jaundice, blood in stool, and recurrent stomach pain with no clear cause. From there, a medical professional can help you determine how severe the illness is.
Your child’s treatment will depend on what your healthcare provider determines is causing their pain. Treatment may be as simple as sending your child home with advice to rest, take fluids and eat a bland diet. Other treatment options include hospital admission and surgery. A few general suggestions would be to make sure your child gets plenty of rest and have them drink plenty of clear fluids such as cooled boiled water or juice. Do not push your child to eat if they feel unwell. If they are hungry, have them eat bland food like crackers or bananas and place a hot water bag on their stomach.
If your child doesn’t seem to be getting any better and their symptoms have manifested into more severe signs such as vomiting, blood in urine or stool, painful skin rash, fever, or chills, then you should take your child to Chai Care to have them checked out by our skilled medical professionals.
* 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 may have.Dec 15, 2022
“History will judge us by the difference we make in the everyday lives of children.” – Nelson Mandela.
Our obligation as adults is to protect our youth by any means necessary. The best way to do that is by staying informed about new scientific studies and taking advice from medical professionals on how to best help and nurture the children of the world. Because of their lack of knowledge and experience, toddlers depend on us to guide them through all the dangers and illnesses that may come their way. Even the safest and most responsible adults make mistakes now and again, which is why we are going to dive into everything you need to know about—”nursemaid’s elbow”.
When most people hear the words “nursemaid’s elbow” they are surprised to learn that it has anything to do with young children due to its strange name. In simple terms, nursemaid’s elbow occurs when the radius (one of the bones in the forearm) slides out of place from where it is normally attached to the elbow joint. It is a common condition in children younger than four years of age. Other names include pulled elbow, slipped elbow, or toddler’s elbow. The medical term for Nursemaid’s Elbow is “radial head subluxation”.
Let’s say you are out on the town, taking a leisurely stroll with your toddler. The youngster notices something that catches their eye, and they begin to run towards the excitement, when the parent grabs their arm to stop them, pulls too hard, and suddenly contracts the hand or forearm. This causes the radius to slip out of the ligament holding it into the elbow. It can also occur when an infant rolls himself or herself over, from a fall, or from pulling or swinging a young child by the hand. We all love picking up a baby and playing with them, but it’s important not to be too overzealous because the child is not fully developed to withstand such quick movements.
Nursemaid’s elbow is a tricky injury because it usually occurs to toddlers and young children who may not be able to articulate what exactly the problem is, leaving it up to the parent or guardian to figure it out. At first glance, nursemaid’s elbow may not be obvious and can easily go unnoticed, but the child will usually cry from the discomfort. Other important signs to look for would be: if the child avoids moving their arm below the shoulder, supports one arm with the other hand, holds their arm straight or slightly bent and close to the body, or if they refuse to rotate their palm.
In other words: if the child lacks mobility and demonstrates discomfort and flexibility in the arm, there is a good chance they are experiencing nursemaid’s elbow.
Now that you know the symptoms, the next question is:
The simple answer is: Yes.
Normal use of the arm will be painful and inhibited until the injury is corrected, which is why it is crucial to seek medical attention as soon as possible. There are certain cases where nursemaid’s elbow has corrected itself, but there is no reason to take that gamble, especially when dealing with children. Let your healthcare provider be the one to examine your child to make sure there are no fractures or breaks and once the examiner does that, they can begin the process of correcting the injury.
After your child has been officially diagnosed by your healthcare provider, they will perform a physical exam and ask a series of questions about what happened at the time of the injury. This physical exam will test your child’s range of motion and see if there is any tenderness at the elbow. The treatment is a simple, but effective physical maneuver called “nursemaid elbow reduction”. Lasting only a few seconds, the healthcare provider will perform the reduction by gently flexing and rotating the arm. If you hear a “pop” sound, don’t be alarmed! This is simply the joint moving back into place. As far as imaging tests are concerned, they often won’t show evidence of nursemaid’s elbow, however, an X-ray can be used to rule out a fracture or break.
Even though you should seek medical attention to have the joint corrected by a professional, there are forms of treatment you can do on your own. There are plenty of over-the-counter drugs to help your child manage the pain and applying ice to the injured area will also help. There are some adults out there who have attempted the correction maneuver themselves, this is not well advised.
Recovery begins immediately after your child’s elbow has been reduced. The best part is your child will only feel pain for a few seconds, but soon after will feel as good as new!
Now that you know what nursemaid’s elbow is and what signs to look for, let’s discuss a few simple ways to prevent this from happening. The best thing to do is avoid pulling or jerking your child by the arm or hand. This may sound simple, but when a child attempts to cross a street before looking both ways or their curiosity gravitates them to something that can harm them, your parental instincts kick in, telling you to pull them out of the way. Even though you are trying to protect them, you may actually hurt them in the process. Another method would be to use verbal cues instead of physical ones to get their attention and lastly, try not to swing your child around by the hands or arms for fun. Many parents do this because it’s entertaining and puts a smile on their child’s face, but this is probably the most common way children suffer from nursemaid’s elbow.
If the healthcare provider has successfully corrected the joint, nursemaid’s elbow should not come back but it is worth noting that a child who has had this injury is more likely to have it again, than someone who hasn’t. This is because the injury stretches the ligaments, making it harder to hold the bone in place. A child who has experienced Nursemaid’s Elbow may have looser ligaments in general too. Fortunately, as children grow, their bones and ligaments will become stronger, making nursemaid’s elbow highly unlikely after a child turns five years old.
We are privileged to live in a country where we have countless urgent care facilities that are staffed with exceptional medical professionals who can easily help if your child experiences nursemaid’s elbow. This is an injury that should not go un-diagnosed and luckily for you, Chai Care will always be here to supply you with the top-notch service and sensitive care that your child deserves!
It is no secret that children are the most vulnerable people on the planet. Because of their youth and lack of experience, our moral responsibility as adults is to make sure that we are well-informed about various medical emergencies. We can almost expect that there will come a time when we will need to see the signs or symptoms of any minor or serious injuries that a child may experience. Of course, a medical professional will be the one who calls the final shots. However, before seeing a healthcare provider, you, as the parent, will be the one to notice if your son or daughter is experiencing something out of the ordinary. One common injury a child can endure is the development of an abscess.
Painful and warm to the touch, abscesses can virtually show up anywhere on your body. However, the most common sites are in the armpits, areas around the anus and vagina, the base of the spine, around a tooth, and in the groin. It’s also important to note that inflammation around a hair follicle can also lead to the formation of an abscess, which is called a boil.
Unlike other infections, antibiotics alone will not usually cure an abscess. In general, an abscess must be opened and drained for it to improve. Sometimes draining occurs on its own, but generally, it must be opened with the help of a warm compress or by a doctor in a procedure called ‘Incision and Drainage.’
Sadly, kids are more prone to abscesses because they’re less likely to tend and clean their wounds, putting them at risk for these nasty infections. Foreign objects that get inside a wound, like sand or clothing fibers, can also lead to abscesses, as can irritated hair follicles.
The first kind of abscess we’ll discuss is skin abscesses. This is when bacteria get under the surface of your skin, and an abscess forms. This can occur anywhere on the body, although skin abscesses tend to be more common in the underarms, genitals, buttocks, trunk, hands, and feet. When this happens, bacteria will creep underneath your skin and cause an abscess. If you have a minor skin wound, such as a small cut, gash, or a sebaceous gland (oil gland) or sweat gland, this can lead to an abscess as well.
Then there are internal abscesses. These develop inside of the stomach and are caused by an infection reaching tissue deeper within the body. This can occur because of an injury, abdominal surgery, or an infection spreading from a nearby wound or cut. Unfortunately, there are numerous ways an infection can spread in the abdomen and cause an abscess to develop. For example, a lung abscess may form after a bacterial infection in your lungs, such as pneumonia, and a burst appendix can spread bacteria within your abdomen. If your child is experiencing high temperature, increased sweating, chills, pain in their stomach, or loss of appetite and weight, your child may be experiencing an internal abscess.
Lastly, there are tooth abscesses. This is when a pocket of pus that’s caused by a bacterial infection poison one of your teeth. The abscess can occur in different areas near the tooth for different reasons. A periapical abscess occurs at the tip of the root. A periodontal abscess occurs in the gums at the side of a tooth root. A periapical tooth abscess usually occurs because of an untreated dental cavity, an injury, or prior dental work. The resulting infection with irritation and swelling can cause an abscess at the tip of the root. Symptoms to look out for are severe toothaches that spread to the jawbone, neck, and ear, pain with hot and cold temperatures, pain when chewing, fever, swelling in the face, tender or swollen lymph nodes, and foul mouth odor.
Traditionally, dentists will treat a tooth abscess by draining it and getting rid of the infection. They may be able to save your tooth with a root canal treatment. But in some cases, the tooth may need to be pulled. Leaving a tooth abscess untreated can lead to serious, even life-threatening, complications so make sure to take your little one to the dentist ASAP!
The most common way someone may contract an abscess is from infection with staphylococcal bacteria. From there, bacteria enter the body, and the immune system sends white blood cells to fight the infection. This causes swelling at the site of infection and the death of nearby tissue. A cavity is created, which fills with pus to form an abscess. The pus contains a mixture of dead tissue, white blood cells, and bacteria. The abscess may get larger and more painful as the infection continues and more pus is produced. Some types of staphylococcal bacteria produce a toxin called Panton-Valentine leucocidin, which kills white blood cells. This causes the body to make more cells to keep fighting the infection and can lead to repeated skin infections. However, in rare cases, an abscess may be caused by a virus, fungi, or parasites.
Finally, some good news! Most abscesses can be treated at home. If the abscess is small (less than 1 cm or less than a half-inch across), applying warm compresses to the area for about 30 minutes 4 times daily may help. Do not attempt to drain the abscess by squeezing or pressing on it. This can push the infected material into the deeper tissues. Also, do not attempt to stick a needle or other sharp instruments into the abscess center, because you may injure an underlying blood vessel or cause the infection to spread. It’s important to make sure your child avoids touching, pushing, popping, or squeezing the abscess because that can easily spread the infection or push it deeper inside the body, only making things worse. An easy way to prevent spreading the infection is by not letting your child share clothes, towels, washcloths, sheets, or anything that may have touched the abscess.
Even though you can take it upon yourself to treat your little one, seeing a healthcare provider is highly recommended to ensure full safety. The trained professional will be skilled enough to cut open the abscess and completely drain the pus and debris. Once the sore has drained, the doctor may insert some packing into the remaining cavity to allow the infection to continue to drain. It may be kept open for a day or two. A bandage will then be placed over the packing, and you will be given instructions about home care. Most children will feel better immediately after the abscess is drained. If the child is still experiencing pain, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics for home use over the next few days.
Continuing on the good news train, abscesses of all kinds can be prevented by practicing good hygiene. Keep all cuts and wounds clean, dry, and covered with a bandage to protect them from germs. It is also important to teach kids to wash their hands often and well, using soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water aren’t handy, it’s OK to use alcohol-based instant hand sanitizers or wipes.
Fortunately, once treated the abscess should heal and your child will forget all about it. Even though there are rare cases in which abscesses shave led to serious illnesses, the chances of that happening are extremely low if you make sure to follow these simple steps. Abscesses can be nasty, and many people become squeamish at the sight of them, but the staff at Chai Care are trained professionals who can take care of them in no time!