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Major or small, we can all think back to a time when we cut, scraped, or grazed ourselves. Sometimes all we needed was a band-aid, other times stitches. Either way, these unexpected accidents happen, especially for kids. Children love to play and sometimes when they’re monkeying around on the jungle gym or the playground, they fall and find themselves with a laceration. As a parent, it can be terrifying to find your son or daughter suffering from an open wound which is why understanding the difference between a deep wound and a shallow one is so important.
A laceration is a tear or opening in the skin caused by an injury. Lacerations may be small and need only minor treatment or may be large enough to require emergency medical care. Wounds such as cuts, scrapes, and lacerations are a split of the skin caused by an impact of some sort. It is common for children to sustain these types of injuries through play, sports, accidents, or ordinary day-to-day activities. Lacerations and other abrasions can happen in almost any area of the body. Depending on the area affected and the severity of the cut, there may be a lot of bleeding or very little.
Minor wounds do not usually require medical attention and can be managed with standard first-aid procedures at home. You should apply pressure to your child’s wound with a clean paper towel or cloth and after removing pressure, the bleeding should slow down or stop altogether. If bleeding continues, reapply pressure and take your child to their healthcare provider for further evaluation.
If bleeding has stopped or slowed, rinse the wound and surrounding area with water. If you can see any dirt or debris in the wound, use a pair of sanitized tweezers to remove any particles. Very small amounts of dirt are OK in grazes but if there are large amounts that you can’t remove, take them to a medical professional who can do it for you.
Lastly, cover the wound with a bandage. This will help to keep the wound clean and will protect the area as it heals. Keeping the wound covered also keeps the wound moist, which helps the healing process.
Like minor wounds, try to stop the bleeding by applying pressure to the injured area. If this doesn’t work and there is a large amount of bleeding that does not quickly stop, or the wound is very deep or is a deep puncture wound, or the wound is gaping apart, despite controlling the bleeding it may need closing with glue or stitches which will require a visit to their healthcare provider.
Stitches are special types of thread that hold wound edges together while they heal. Stitches help to stop bleeding, reduce scarring and decrease the chance of infection in the wound.
Steri-Strips are special adhesive bandages that can sometimes be used on shallow wounds instead of stitches. Steri-Strips perform the same functions as stitches.
Lacerations that involve the face, are longer than 1/2 inch, are deep, or are bleeding heavily, may require stitches.
If your child’s healthcare provider needs to place stitches or use Steri-Strips to close a laceration, you will be given specific instructions on how to care for the stitches. Treatment at home will be based on the place and size of the laceration, the type of stitches used, and any special needs noted by your child’s physician. Sometimes antibiotics are given to help prevent infection in the wound.
Some stitches dissolve and do not need to be removed while other stitches require removal. Your child’s provider will let you know when to return to have stitches removed. It’s important to know that you should not attempt to remove your child’s stitches at home.
For minor wounds, change the bandage whenever it becomes wet or dirty and replace it with a fresh one. Watch for signs of infection as the wound heals and if it seems to not be healing properly, take them to their healthcare provider for evaluation.
Typically, lacerations are no big deal but if your child’s wound doesn’t stop bleeding and the cut looks deep, your best bet is to have them looked at by a medical professional. Wounds can be scary, and no parent wants to witness their son or daughter bleeding, but rest assured, the experts at Chai Care will take great care of your child and will have them as good as new 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.Feb 21, 2023
Kids are bound to injure themselves at some point or another. Sometimes it’s a broken bone after taking a hard fall, and other times it’s nothing more than a bruise while messing around with their friends. But every now and again a child can cut themselves and believe it to be “no big deal.” Usually, that is the case, unless the wound becomes infected. This is something a parent should keep a close eye on because when a cut or scrape becomes infected, it can lead to much more serious health problems that no parent wants for their child. Knowing the signs of an infected cut and how your child may act when having one is crucial so you can get it treated as quickly as possible before it gets worse.
Most people believe wounds are only caused by accidents, but the truth is anything that breaks the skin is considered to be a laceration because when the skin is broken, there is a risk of germs getting into the body and causing an infection. Skin is the body’s largest organ and helps protect it from bacteria, fungi, and viruses that live on its surface. Depending on the wound’s cleanness, depth, and size, will tell you how much care it needs.
Your healthcare provider will examine the wound and from there decide how they will go about treating it and the wound’s risk of infection. Clean wounds that aren’t contaminated with bacteria have the lowest risk of infection, making them much simpler to care for. Dirty or infected wounds, like an abscess, a deep scrape, or a cut, are a different story. These cuts need special treatment and monitoring to prevent infection. There are times when a wound is clean but there’s a risk of infection because of where it is located. Fluids and other contaminants may get into a wound that’s in an area with more bacteria such as the urinary tract, gastrointestinal system, or respiratory system. Dirt or a foreign object in the wound also can increase the risk of infection.
An infected wound typically gets worse instead of better. Any pain, redness, and swelling will usually increase in intensity making it obvious that the cut needs medical attention. In many ways, this is a good thing that the signs of infection are readily apparent. The first thing you should do with most small cuts and bruises is to apply first-aid. After doing this, monitor the wound for any of the following signs.
If the cut has scabbed over, but the scab keeps on growing, this could be a sign of infection underneath the top-layer skin.
Monitor the cut and speak to your child about what they are feeling. It’s important to make sure that the pain and swelling don’t keep increasing up to 48 hours after the initial injury.
If your child develops a headache or fever, you should take your little one to an urgent care facility for medical treatment. Rest assured, the experts at Chai Care will gladly help!
Most small to medium-sized wounds should heal within ten days. If this is not the case, visit your child’s healthcare provider for further examination.
Increased redness in the region is also a sign of infection. One of the most dangerous signs of infection is the presence of redness that appears to be tracing a path to your child’s heart. This must be treated as soon as possible.
Pay attention to discoloration, such as pus and fluid emerging from the wound.
When the wound is clean, your healthcare provider will close it by stitching the edges together in two separate layers. They will use dissolvable stitches to bring together the deeper layer of tissue under the skin. Then they will staple, tape, or stitch the skin over it. It’s important to note that healthcare experts don’t always close a wound right away. If there’s a chance a wound is contaminated, they will leave it open to clean it out, let’s say in the case that the wound is due to an animal bite. Closing an infected cut can trap bacteria inside which would lead to infection. When they’re sure no bacteria or other impurities remain, they will stitch or close the wound.
Sometimes, it’s best not to sew up a wound at all. If someone has lost a lot of tissues, it’s often beneficial to leave the wound open to heal through natural scar formation. Your child’s provider will also ask about their tetanus vaccine status, to make sure it’s up to date.
Before healing begins, the body gears up to defend itself against any infections. For the first couple of days, a wound may be swollen, red, and painful. This inflammation is a sign of the body’s immune system kicking in to protect the wound from infection. It is important to always keep the wound clean and dry to help the healing process. As the body does its self-healing, a scab begins to form over the wound on the outside. The scab’s job is to protect the wound as the damaged skin heals underneath. Underneath the scab’s defensive surface, new tissue begins to form.
Once the healing is finished, the scab dries up and falls off, leaving behind the repaired skin and a scar. The scar will be roughly 85% of the strength of normal skin and it will take a few months for the scar to be back to 100% strength of normal skin.
Serious wounds won’t heal overnight. It can take weeks for the body to build new tissue which makes at-home care important to prevent infection and minimize scarring. Make sure to keep the wound covered with a clean dressing until there’s no fluid draining from it. Your child’s healthcare provider will give you instructions on how to change the dressing and how often. It’s important to avoid getting the wound wet until further examination. Dirt in the water could seep into the wound and contaminate it. Also, there’s a risk that a wound might pull apart if it gets too wet. Lastly, make sure your son or daughter doesn’t pick or scratch the scab. A scab may itch as the skin underneath heals, but picking or scratching can rip the new skin underneath which will not only increase the healing time but will always make the scar worse.
The best way to help your child is to prevent an infection from ever happening. Any time your son or daughter gets a cut or scrap, the first step is to clean out the injury. Clean the wound with warm water for five minutes, then wash the surrounding area with soap. If there is still debris like glass or dirt in the wound, remove it, but be gentle and avoid pushing down so you don’t push it deeper into the cut. If you can’t remove all the debris or if you don’t feel comfortable trying to remove it yourself, go to an urgent care facility and the staff will do it for you.
Cuts and scrapes are extremely common among children which makes understanding the signs and symptoms of an infected wound so important. Even though infected wounds can have serious consequences, chances are the cut will heal itself on its own or your child’s healthcare provider will supply them with the proper treatment and medication, preventing a dangerous outcome. If the wound does not seem to be healing at home, take your little one to Chai Care and our trained experts will supply them with the care they need!
* 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.
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 13, 2023
All kids get a fever at some point or another. This may sound like a bad thing, but it’s good because it can help your child’s immune system fight the infection they are struggling with. Still, it’s important to make sure your son or daughter receives the proper treatment and care necessary to make a full recovery. Whether you’re an adult or a child, fevers are brutal to deal with, but fortunately, there are plenty of ways to avoid, treat, and prevent them!
We all have been with a person who is sick and asks to feel their head, checking to see if they feel warm. This is a common method to see if someone is “burning” up and has a fever. However, for it to actually be a fever, the body’s temperature must be 100.4°F (38°C) or higher. The various and most accurate ways of measuring a temperature are rectal, armpit, ear, forehead, and mouth. Adults sometimes get a slightly different number, so the number that means a child has a fever is a little different too.
Other signs that your child might be suffering from a fever would be having chills, cold sweats, flushed skin, above-average temperature, or acting differently. Due to the discomfort, they are feeling your child may become fussy or cranky.
Typically, fevers in kids are caused by an infection. The cool thing is that a fever will help the body by stimulating the immune system to fight the infection. Healthcare experts also believe the higher the temperature, the harder it will be for germs to grow. A couple of other reasons kids may suffer from fevers would be due to immunizations, a child who is teething, and believe it or not, overdressing. Infants, more specifically newborns, may get fevers if they’re overdressed, wrapped in a blanket, or a hot environment because they don’t regulate their body temperature as well as older kids.
Treating a fever with medicine isn’t needed if a child is still playing, drinking, and doesn’t have pain. You should supply your child with medicine only when a fever causes them discomfort or prevents them from drinking fluids. It’s worth mentioning that when your child does have a fever, keep an eye on them, help them to rest, and keep offering fluids. This is so they can make up for the fluids they lose from sweating. Oral rehydration solutions like Pedialyte, are a good choice. You also can give water, soup, ice pops, and flavored gelatin. Avoid drinks with caffeine, including colas and tea, which can make dehydration worse by making kids pee more often. Let kids eat what they want (in reasonable amounts), but don’t force it if they don’t feel like eating much!
Making sure your child stays hydrated isn’t the only thing you can do. Having them wear lightweight clothing and stay covered with a light sheet or blanket can also help. It’s important to remember to keep the room at a comfortable temperature and make sure they get plenty of rest. Staying in bed all day isn’t necessary, but a sick child should take it easy.
The temperature that should trigger a call to your child’s healthcare provider depends on their age, the illness, and whether they have other symptoms. In general, call their provider if your child is younger than 3 months old with a rectal temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, 3 months or older with a temperature higher than 102.2°F (39°C), or at any age but has a health problem like cancer or sickle cell disease and has a fever.
In most cases, your child will be back to their old self within a couple of days. For older babies and kids, the way they act is more important than the reading on your thermometer or what symptoms they’re exhibiting. Don’t be alarmed if your son or daughter is a bit cranky when they have a fever. This is completely normal and should be anticipated, but if you are ever in doubt about what to do, or if your child is acting ill in a way that concerns you, the experts at Chai Care will happily take a look!
Believe it or not, sports injuries are the second leading cause of emergency room visits for children and adolescents, and the second leading cause of injuries in school. Millions of children are seen in hospital emergency rooms for sports-related injuries, and even more, are seen by their primary care physician or a sports medicine clinic for injuries. This is attributable to the fact that young athletes often begin their competitive sports careers as early as age seven, with some youth participating in organized sports activities as early as age four.
A child can endure many different injuries when playing a sport and understanding how to prevent them is crucial to your child’s longevity. Our country’s obsession with sports—football, basketball, and baseball being the most popular, plays a major role in why kids start playing them so young. Even though sports teach many great life lessons such as accountability, being a team player, and hard work, there are still a plethora of injuries your child may face, which is why it’s so important to be as informed as you can.
The first step toward preventing sports-related injuries is understanding how they happen. There are plenty of reasons why they occur, but the most popular reasons are due to poor equipment and technique, overuse, lack of instruction, or simply bad luck! Of course, you can’t anticipate every injury, and some are simply unavoidable, however, your child can reduce their risk of hurting themselves by practicing safe methods of playing.
Injuries can happen anywhere there are bodies in motion. However, some youth sports involve a higher degree of impact than others, including football, rugby, and hockey. Basketball, and soccer. These sports require athletes to run fast, tackle, and sometimes even collide straight into one another. From the outside looking in, this is a recipe for disaster, but sports require great strength and at times violence which makes it all the more important to be as safe as possible.
The truth is no sport or activity is 100% safe. And beyond the ice, injuries can also happen at the playground as well as on the surfboard or skatepark. However, with the right equipment, coaching and technique, your kids can still have fun while playing safe!
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children have more than 3.5 million sports injuries each year. All sports carry a risk of injury and while there are steps you can take to prevent sports injuries; these common injuries may still occur.
Sports injuries in children can often be treated with Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation (RICE). However, sometimes you should see an orthopedic specialist. If your child experiences one of the following injuries and has symptoms that don’t resolve with home treatment, see your healthcare provider.
One of the most common sports injuries in children is ankle sprains. Ankle sprains occur when the ligaments that support the ankle stretch and tear. This can happen in sports like basketball, tennis, soccer, and football that require cutting or twisting actions. Ankle sprains cause pain, tenderness, swelling, bruising, and instability of the ankle. Most sprains are minor injuries that heal with the RICE protocol, but sometimes they require treatment by an orthopedic specialist.
The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the major ligaments that stabilize the knee joint. It connects the femur to the tibia. An ACL tear can occur due to a blow to the outside of the knee or without impact after a jump or twist. ACL tears are most common in kids that play basketball, volleyball, tennis, and soccer. An ACL tear causes pain, swelling, and limited movement in the knee.
Osgood-Schlatter is another type of knee pain that is different from an ACL tear. It is a traction injury (also known as a stretch injury) to a growth plate at the top of the shin bone called an apophysis. The injury is caused by tightness in the muscles coupled with high activity levels. The injury may present with pain and swelling or a bump at the bottom of the knee.
Little league elbow is caused by repetitive stress to the growth place located on the inside of a child’s elbow, resulting in pain and tenderness. It is common among baseball and softball players in positions such as pitcher, catcher, infielder, and outfielder. It may occur in other sports where repetitive throwing is required.
Like little league elbow, only it affects the shoulder and is caused by repetitive stress or micro trauma to the shoulder growth plate. This condition most commonly occurs among children between 11 and 14. As the name suggests, it is common in softball and baseball pitchers, but it can also occur in swimmers and tennis players.
Shin splints are common sports injuries in children that participate in sports that require repeated running on a hard surface. They can also be caused by overtraining at the beginning of the season without proper conditioning. Shin splints cause pain and discomfort in the front of the lower legs (the shins).
Spondylolysis is a stress fracture to the lumbar spine. A stress fracture occurs when a bone breaks after experiencing repeated stress from tension or compression. This injury usually occurs in the low back. It is most commonly seen in young athletes that participate in sports like gymnastics, tennis, rowing, weightlifter, and track and field.
Turf toe is the hyperextension of the big toe. It occurs when a young athlete pushes off the ground forcefully with the big toe being forced upward. The main symptom of these sports injuries in children is pain, but swelling may also be present.
Unfortunately, concussions are not uncommon sports injuries in children. They can occur in many sports as the result of a direct blow to the head. After such a direct hit, the child should be monitored for symptoms like headaches, blurred vision, dizziness, or confusion. While the treatment for most concussions is rest, all concussions should still be evaluated by a medical professional so they can recommend the proper treatment.
So, your child loves sports, all sports, and you are terrified that they are going to injure themselves. Rest assured, there are plenty of preventative measures you can take to ensure your child will be safe!
As your child learns about safe play, reinforce the good habits they’re discovering such as wearing proper safety equipment, following the rules, and getting adequate rest for their growing bodies. Talk to them about why those habits are important. Encourage them to make healthy habits a part of their daily life. The more support your child receives from their loved ones, the more they’ll feel motivated to do the right thing for their own health and wellness.
By communicating with your son or daughter’s coach, you can get a better idea of what your child is learning when it comes to technique and training methods. When you know what’s being taught in practice and on the field, you can help support healthy directions and be aware of common misconceptions that might be dangerous and lead to injury.
For both parents and coaches, mimicking good habits start with you. Whenever you participate in physical activities with your child, that being a pick-up game of basketball or a sprint around the neighborhood, teach your child the importance of warming up, cooling down, and proper stretching to avoid injury.
When the competitive drive takes hold, your child might start going all-out on exercising and practicing. It’s important to keep tabs to make sure that your kid’s workouts stay safe and reasonable. Healthcare professionals recommend at least one rest day per week and three months off from a sport each year. Talk to your child about the advantages of balance and control that can lead to physical and mental health setbacks.
Physical activity can greatly improve your child’s mental health, as long as it’s done in a safe and balanced approach. But watch out for issues like stress. The anxiety of an intensely competitive environment can negatively impact your child both on and off the court. You as the parent should provide healthy support and encouragement as well as understanding and guidance when times are rough.
Early recognition and treatment of injuries are key in returning athletes to their sport safely and promptly. Any injury that involves swelling, deformity, and/or loss of normal function should be seen by a physician immediately while all other injuries that appear to be minor should resolve themselves within a few days. With that being said, if the injury does not heal on its own, and your child is not back to full participation without pain, it is best to have him/her evaluated by a medical professional. Lingering injuries that go untreated can turn into chronic problems that require a much longer time away from the sport to allow the injury to heal properly.
Even though there are many injuries your child can sustain while playing their favorite sport, the risk-reward factor is worth it. Your child will build life-long relationships and skills that will teach them the ever-important value of teamwork and competition. Sports are an amazing way for kids to mature and prepare themselves for the real world, but if they do find themselves with a sports-related injury, Chai Care will always have your back!
Among the most common injuries a young child can face, ear infections are smack in the middle. They cause extreme discomfort for anyone who has had the misfortune of enduring them and even an adult will tell you how truly irritating they are. Sadly, kids get them regularly for several reasons, but as a person gets older, ear infections tend to happen less frequently. Besides knowing the signs and symptoms of this nasty infection, it’s important to know exactly how they start and why they occur, so you can greatly reduce the odds of your child ever having one!
Chances are you will hear the commonly used term “ear infection”. In the medical world, it is referred to as acute otitis media or a sudden infection in the middle ear (the space behind the eardrum). The truth is anyone can get an ear infection, however, they are one of the most common reasons young children visit healthcare providers.
In many cases, ear infections clear up on their own. Your healthcare provider may recommend a medication to relieve pain and if it has worsened or not improved, your healthcare provider may prescribe an antibiotic. In children younger than the age of two years, an antibiotic is usually needed for ear infections.
It’s important to see your healthcare provider to make sure the ear infection has healed or if your child has ongoing pain or discomfort. Hearing problems and other serious effects can occur with ongoing ear infections, frequent infections, and when fluid builds up behind the eardrum.
Essentially, ear infections are caused by bacteria and viruses. Many times, they begin after a cold or other respiratory infection. The bacteria or virus will travel into the middle ear through the eustachian tube, and the bacteria will plant its nasty self and take control. This tube connects the middle ear to the back of the throat. The bacteria or virus can also cause the eustachian tube to swell, thus making the tube so swollen that it will become blocked. This will cause the normally produced fluids to build up in the middle ear instead of being able to be drained away.
Another issue is that the eustachian tube is shorter and has less of a slope in children than in adults. This physical difference makes these tubes easier to become clogged and more difficult to drain. The trapped fluid can become infected by a virus or bacteria, causing pain, which is why children are more susceptible to ear infections.
We have been using the term “middle ear” quite a bit and if you’re wondering why it is because it’s rather important to know. The middle ear is behind the eardrum and is also home to the delicate bones that aid in hearing. These bones are the hammer, anvil, and stirrup. This is also where the infection will take hold and live during its duration of time. In addition to the middle, there are also the outer and inner parts of the ear. The outer ear is the outside external ear flap and the ear canal, and the inner ear contains the snail-shaped labyrinth that converts sound vibrations received from the middle ear to electrical signals. The auditory nerve carries these signals to the brain.
Even though the infection will reside in the middle part of the ear, understanding the body part in its entirety can help your child when they tell you where they feel the pain and exactly what they’re going through. Some children will become so vexed by the irritation that they will struggle with articulating exactly how they feel so it’s best to be aware as much as you can.
There are plenty of symptoms to look out for and your child will tell you all about them. The most obvious is ear pain. This symptom is obvious in older children and adults, but in infants and children too young to speak, look for signs of pain like rubbing or tugging ears, crying more than usual, trouble sleeping, and acting fussy/irritable. Other signs to watch out for would be loss of appetite, irritability, poor sleep, fever, drainage from the ear, and trouble hearing.
Ear infections are the most common childhood illness other than a cold. They occur most often in children who are between ages 3 months and 3 years and are common until age 8. Some 25% of all children will have repeated ear infections. Adults can get ear infections too, but they don’t happen nearly as often as they do in children.
It is also important to note that people with certain allergies, chronic illnesses, and even your ethnicity can affect how often your child gets an ear infection. It’s important to know your family’s medical history so you can provide your child’s healthcare provider with the proper information that can prevent any potential threats.
Your healthcare provider will look at your or your child’s ear using an instrument called an otoscope. A healthy eardrum will be pinkish-gray in color and translucent. If an infection is present, the eardrum may be inflamed, swollen, or red.
Your physician may also check the fluid in the middle ear using a pneumatic otoscope, which blows a small amount of air at the eardrum. This should cause the eardrum to move back and forth. The eardrum will not move as easily if there is fluid inside the ear.
Another test they may perform is called tympanometry. This uses air pressure to check for fluid in the middle ear. This test doesn’t test hearing. If needed, your healthcare provider will order a hearing test, performed by an audiologist, to determine possible hearing loss if you or your child has had long-lasting or frequent ear infections or fluid in the middle ears that are not draining.
Your healthcare provider will also check your throat and nasal passage and listen to your breathing with a stethoscope for signs of upper respiratory infections.
Treatment of ear infections depends on age, the severity of the infection, the nature of the infection, and if fluid remains in the middle ear for a long period. Your healthcare provider will recommend certain medications to relieve your child’s pain and fever. If the ear infection is mild, depending on the age of the child, your healthcare provider may choose to wait a few days to see if the infection goes away on its own before prescribing an antibiotic.
Antibiotics may be prescribed if bacteria are thought to be the cause of your child’s ear infection. Then, your provider may want to wait up to three days before prescribing antibiotics to see if a mild infection clears up on its own when the child is older. If your or your child’s ear infection is severe, antibiotics might be started right away.
Even though the chances of your child experiencing an ear infection are extremely high, this shouldn’t be of much concern if you act quickly and are knowledgeable of your family’s health history. Chances are the infection won’t last very long and as your youngster ages, it will soon become a bad memory. Even though there are many over-the-counter drugs and at-home remedies you can use to help heal your child, the healthcare experts at Chai Care will happily take a look as they supply their expert knowledge and quality care!
“Quality… you know what it is, yet you don’t know what it is.”
A powerful quote from Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance has resonated with many because of its truth and the weight that it carries. Looking past this and when taking a deeper examination of the philosophy of genuine quality, there are many ways to define this. On the outside looking in, many people will think they know high standards from cheap, bootleg knockoffs, however, most would be surprised to know they haven’t the first clue.
Many think that quality is tethered to wealth but that’s not always the case. This ideology is especially true in the medical industry. For obvious reasons most people would choose a doctor with a degree from Harvard, but this doesn’t exactly mean that they are better than the doctor who makes less money and isn’t celebrated. Quality can be found in lots of different places, sometimes in areas, you would never think of.
About five years ago I was diagnosed with Bell’s palsy—a condition that weakens the muscles in half of the face. One side becomes droopy and slanted, your eye has difficulty opening and closing and your hearing can also be impaired. It was a brutal and painful experience that lasted nearly a year. Still, to this day I feel residual effects.
What does my misfortune have to do with quality?
When the symptoms first began, I chose to go to a respected doctor in my town because everyone spoke highly of him and claimed that he was the best. I managed to get an appointment which in itself was a grueling process but that was only the beginning of the nightmare.
As soon as I entered his private clinic, I was immediately greeted with cold arrogance from every staff member. Even though I was the only patient in the waiting room I sat for ten, two, thirty, minutes before Dr. Genius came out, flirting with the receptionist as he waved me in without so much as introducing himself.
He asked me run-of-the-mill questions and every time I gave him an answer I received a, “uh-huh” or “hm”. His phone rang, he told me that it was urgent, and he answered the call and laughed at something the other person said on the other end. He left the room and when he came back after twenty minutes, he told me he couldn’t see what was wrong.
The next day things got worse. The left side of my face was clearly drooping, and my fear was amplifying because I didn’t understand what was happening. There was no shot I was going back to that doctor, so I decided to take a different approach. I took a trip to a local urgent care facility which turned out to be the best decision I have ever made. They deemed my situation an emergency and took me in right away. Within minutes I was diagnosed and sent to a local pharmacy to receive medication.
The truth is you don’t need to search high and far for exceptional quality. It may not be easy to find, however, there is a good chance it is closer than you think. See, in my experience, I felt I had to listen to other people rather than do my own research. If I had, I would’ve discovered there was an extremely trustworthy and reliable urgent care only five minutes away. Not only are they a place that supplies top-notch service and treatment but a facility where relationships are built. The staff that treated me engaged with me on a personal level, something that most people don’t do. We got to know each other on a deep level which ensured the overall experience and quality of care.
Even though the healing process took almost a year and Bell’s palsy is one of those unfortunate illnesses that recovers on its own time, the difference between the two medical professionals was worlds apart. Yes, the safe bet is to trust the MD who graduated from a top-tier school over someone with less experience and cache but one thing you can’t measure with a degree is how much someone truly cares. If you ask me, the Ivy League graduate that I saw had become jaded. He has the wealth, the vacation home in the Hamptons, and his own private practice. He chased the money, got it, and now walks through the motions unless there’s a massive paycheck dangling in front of his face. On the other hand, the woman who diagnosed me cared. I could feel it. Her mannerisms, warm tone in her voice, and how she put all her focus directly on me were all I really wanted—someone to really be there for me. And she was.
Quality isn’t always shiny and expensive. It’s more than a dollar sign and can be found in places you would least expect. If you aren’t sure if something is the quality you would like it to be ask yourself this, “without this, will I be, OK?” It’s best to simplify your choices down to only two. In life, we don’t need dozens of options but only the best ones. It’s important to remember that quality and trust aren’t always synonymous with wealth and notoriety. Sometimes what you’re looking for is under your nose the whole time and in my case, it was a Chai Care facility only minutes away from my apartment!
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