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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.Jan 31, 2023
After the rise of COVID-19, it is hard to not be frightened of contagious viruses and infections. Our world can be an unforgiving place and when it comes to protecting our youth, things can be that much more intimidating. The truth of the matter is that at some point your child is going to get sick and when that happens you should be informed as much as humanly possible. With that being said, measles should be at the top of your list.
Measles is an extremely contagious respiratory infection. It causes a total-body skin rash and flu-like symptoms. Measles is rare in the United States thanks to widespread immunization, but millions of cases happen worldwide every year.
Measles (also called rubeola) is caused by a virus, so there is no specific medical treatment for it—the virus has to run its course. A child who is sick with measles should drink plenty of liquids, get lots of rest, and stay home from school or daycare to prevent the spreading of the infection.
The first symptoms of a measles infection are usually a hacking cough, runny nose, high fever, and red eyes. Kids also may have small red spots with blue-white centers inside the mouth before the rash starts.
The rash breaks out 3–5 days after symptoms start, sometimes along with a high fever of up to 104°F (40°C). The red or reddish-brown rash usually begins as flat red spots on the forehead. It spreads to the rest of the face, then down the neck and torso to the arms, legs, and feet. The fever and rash slowly go away after a few days.
Measles is very contagious. Believe it or not, 9 out of 10 people who aren’t vaccinated for measles will get it if they are near an infected person.
Measles spreads when people breathe in or have direct contact with the virus-infected fluid. It can pass through droplets sprayed into the air when someone with measles sneezes or coughs. Someone exposed to the virus usually shows symptoms 7–14 days later.
Children with measles can spread the disease from 4 days before the rash starts until about 4 days after that. They’re most contagious when they have a fever, runny nose, and cough. Those with weak immune systems due to other conditions (like HIV and AIDS) can spread the measles virus until they recover.
Even though there is no specific medical treatment for measles, you can help your child by encouraging extra rest and giving them a non-aspirin fever medicine, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Also, children with measles should be kept away from others for 4 days after their rash appears. For those with a weak immune system, this should continue until they make a full recovery, and all symptoms are gone.
A measles infection can last for several weeks. Symptoms usually start 7–14 days after someone is exposed to the virus.
The best way to protect your kids is to make sure they’re immunized against measles. For most children, measles protection is part of the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine (MMR) or measles-mumps-rubella-varicella vaccine (MMRV) given when they’re 12 to 15 months old and again when they’re 4 to 6 years old. The vaccine can be given to babies as young as 6 months old if they will be traveling internationally. It’s important to speak to your healthcare provider to see when the vaccine is needed.
Widespread immunization has made measles rare in the U.S., but outbreaks still happen. With that being said, measles outbreaks have been increasing worldwide, mostly due to people not being vaccinated. It’s important for all kids who can get the vaccine to get it on time. At-risk people (such as those with weak immune systems) can’t get the vaccine. But when a lot of other people are immunized against a disease, it protects them, prevents the disease from spreading, and helps prevent outbreaks.
Even though we are fortunate enough to live in a country that is mostly protected from measles, it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms because it’s still possible to contract it. The truth is, we would rather live our lives in peace and not worry about such things, which is why the experts at Chai Care have your back. If you ever believe your child or loved one to be infected with measles or struggling with a different everyday medical emergency, our dedicated staff will always be here to offer a helping hand!
* 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.
Out of all the different rashes and skin conditions that exist, Eczema is one of the most common that a child can have. As irritating as eczema may be, there are plenty of ways to avoid it and if your child does have it, there are plenty of ways of remedying the pain. So, look no further because Chai Care has you covered in all the ways to help your kid with their eczema!
Eczema is a skin problem called atopic dermatitis. Atopic dermatitis often begins in infancy, affecting about 15 to 20% of children. It usually improves as the child grows older and may resolve by school age or puberty, however, some children with atopic dermatitis may have more chronic diseases.
Children with eczema have a form of sensitive skin that may be more easily irritated by sweating, heat, rough clothing, some detergents, soaps, and cleansers. Children with atopic dermatitis may also have allergies to foods, animals, dust mites, tree pollens, and grasses, although it is not clear that these allergies cause eczema in most children. In many cases, identifying these allergies does not help eczema. In rare cases, some children with atopic dermatitis may develop allergies to chemicals in their moisturizers, skin care products, clothing, or topical medications.
Children with eczema develop red, dry, itchy patches on the skin that result from inflammation. Itching can be severe and constant, causing them much discomfort. With frequent scratching, the skin may develop blisters, oozing, crusting, or sores from the infection. Sometimes, if the child scratches for many weeks to months, the skin may start to become very rough, leathery, and darker in color. In infants, eczema commonly affects the face, scalp, arms, and legs and in older children, eczema may involve only the insides of the elbows and backs of the knees. It’s worth mentioning that some children with severe eczema may have it spread across their entire bodies.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for eczema, although it can usually be fixed with a good skincare routine. Frequent follow-ups with your healthcare provider are important so they can see whether the prescribed medicines are working. Your provider may need to adjust treatment during different seasons of the year, during flares, or as your child gets older. Outside of what your healthcare provider may recommend, there are plenty of at-home care options you can use to help your child without having to step foot inside a clinic.
For some children, limiting bathing to one to three times a week is helpful. Bathing more often can dry out the skin and actually make the itching worse. For children with environmental allergies such as pollens and animal dander, bathing more often, especially after contact with known allergens, may be helpful. When bathing, use warm water and a gentle, non-soap cleanser or Cetaphil cleanser. This should range from 5 to 10 minutes and when finished, pat the skin dry with a towel and lastly, apply topical medicines or moisturizers as instructed, right after bathing while the skin is still damp.
Your healthcare provider may prescribe topical steroids or other creams or ointments to treat your child’s eczema. When using this, apply a small amount of medicine to the affected areas up to two times a day as needed to keep eczema under control. It’s important to always apply the topical medication at least 30 minutes before applying moisturizer.
If your child’s eczema flares, you may need to use a stronger topical steroid for a short time. Use these steroids twice a day or as instructed by your healthcare provider on areas that have flared in place of your everyday steroids. Contact your provider if the areas are not any better after a week’s time. As your child’s eczema improves, you should be able to use the topical medication less often, ideally two to three times a week to keep your child’s skin clear. Make sure to not overuse or abuse the topical steroids because this may harm your child’s skin, causing stretch marks and spider veins.
When using a recommended moisturizer, apply a thick layer of cream 30 minutes after you use any topical medicines. This allows time for the medicine to be absorbed into the skin and the moisturizer will then seal in the medicine. Make sure to not use a cream that comes in a pump bottle, as these are usually lotions and won’t be effective.
It’s worth mentioning a few good moisturizers, but your healthcare provider may suggest something else. Creams that parents seem to champion are Cetaphil, Aquaphor, Vaseline, and Aveeno, just to name a couple.
Antihistamines are a type of allergy medicine that is used to decrease itching. They are most helpful when given before bedtime due to them making children sleepy. If you’re wondering what Antihistamines are, they are medicines such as Atarax and Benadryl. Some children with environmental allergies may also need to take a daily, non-sedating antihistamine such as Zyrtec, Claritin, or Allegra in the morning to control their allergy symptoms.
Wet dressings can be placed on the child after applying topical steroid medication. This makes the medication more effective by helping it penetrate deeper into the skin. You may also use an ace wrap or wet cotton pajamas, and after the nighttime dose of topical steroid application is applied, the child can then wear them to bed for an increased duration of treatment. They can also be worn after the application of moisturizing cream to lock moisture into the skin.
Follow-up visits are very important when it comes to eczema. Your healthcare provider will examine your child’s skin and monitor for side effects of steroid medication use and infections and may change the medications being used. It is important to follow their instructions and keep follow-up appointments to ensure maximum healing.
You should call your healthcare provider if your child develops open, oozing areas of skin that are painful or associated with a fever or if your child’s eczema worsens or does not improve with the use of prescribed medications.
Most infants and children with mild to moderate eczema can be managed by their primary healthcare provider as long as the treatment plan is followed and follow-up visits are made. Referral to an allergist or dermatologist is appropriate if certain foods or allergies are suspected, skin infections are frequent, or if your child is not responding to the treatment plan prescribed by the primary care provider after several follow-up visits and adjustments to the treatment plan have been made.
Truth be told, Eczema is not something to lose sleep over. Even though it may cause your child discomfort and in rare cases lead to a more serious skin condition, 9 out of 10 times it is nothing more than a seasonal rash that is easily treatable. Still, no parent enjoys watching their child suffer which is why the dedicated staff at Chai Care will always be here to supply your child with sensitive care!
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!
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!