Cries for help

By Dr. Nancy Kellogg
Center for Miracles
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio

For more than 10 years, The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio – Center for Miracles has served as the only child abuse center of its kind in South Central Texas. The caring team of physicians, nurses, and staff are specially trained to care for children who are at risk for, or traumatized by, abuse and neglect. We strive to provide timely medical and psychosocial care for children referred to our Center. Our physicians are some of the only child abuse specialists in the state.

The Center offers a comforting, family-focused environment in which to serve the children of San Antonio and beyond. Restoring a child’s health and peace is our main goal. Teachers, day care providers, social workers, nurses, extended family, and others who come into contact with children have a responsibility to report cases of child abuse and neglect.

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March is Child Life Month

By The Child Life Team
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio

The month of March is set aside to celebrate children and the profession of child life specialists who are dedicated to providing positive coping tools to support your child. To celebrate child life month, our team of child life specialists will share a few helpful tips to help your child cope well with their hospital experiences.

If we’re being honest, nobody likes to be surprised by medical procedures. Whether it’s a blood draw or radiology exam, we all tend to cope better when we are prepared with information about what to expect for the procedure. Children are no different; they need age appropriate information regarding what they will encounter. At The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio, our team of child life specialists work closely with other medical staff to make sure your child has access to the tools and resources they need to have a positive coping experience.

Child life specialists advocate for proper preparation and teaching because stress and coping theories tell us that children tend to cope well when they are given appropriate information regarding a potentially stressful event. According to these theories, our minds evaluate a potential experience based on two assessments: 1) the perceived threat of the stress, and 2) the access to resources to minimize or address the stressor (Lazarus & Faulkman, 1984). Child life specialists believe in addressing both factors to reduce stress and improve the overall coping experience.

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Tips for treating and preventing diaper rash

By Dr. Theresa Willis
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio Primary Care
Dominion Crossing

At one time or another, your baby will get diaper rash. First, check with your pediatrician and make sure that the rash isn’t something that needs to be treated by a doctor. Babies and toddlers in diapers can get fungal infections due to the frequently damp and warm area inside the diaper. Bacterial infections and other skin conditions such as eczema are also possibilities that your doctor will look for during an office visit.

If there are no other causes for your baby’s diaper rash, your doctor may tell you that he or she has diaper dermatitis. Diaper dermatitis is a general term used to describe an inflamed rash in the diaper area. It is thought to be caused by the mixing of stool and urine that decreases the pH and prolonged contact then leads to skin breakdown.

The rash can be very uncomfortable and lead to fussy babies and battles over diaper changes because it can be painful when the inflamed area is cleaned.

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Rare Disease Day is February 28, 2017

(Pictured above) The Genetics Team at The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio
Blog by Rebecca Okashah Littlejohn, MS, CGC, and Kimberly Nugent, MS, CGC
Certified Genetic Counselors
Department of Genetics

Did you know more than half of Americans affected by rare diseases are children?¹ Or that patients with rare diseases are frequently misdiagnosed or undiagnosed?¹ Or that you probably know or have seen an individual with a diagnosed or undiagnosed rare disease?

So what is a rare disease?
A rare disease is defined as any illness, condition, syndrome, disease, or disorder affecting fewer than 200,000 people in the U.S.¹ More than half of Americans affected by rare diseases are children.¹ These diseases can affect a single organ or multiple organ systems.  Most of these rare diseases have an underlying genetic cause. Understanding the underlying genetic cause for a disease can provide an individual with information about how the disease may affect the body, necessary medical management changes or inform other family members if they could have the same disease or a child with the same disease.

February 28 is a day to acknowledge all rare diseases. It is a day to advocate for those affected by these diseases whether it is your child, friend, colleague, coworker, family member, or a person you may have met at your doctor’s office. Depending on your closeness to the individual affected by the rare disease, advocacy will look different for everyone. Listening to an individual’s concerns and the challenges they face is the first step in advocating for those with a rare disease. Here are just a few other ways to advocate for individuals you know with rare diseases and the organizations that work to support them.

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Help your teen cope with stress

Elena Mikalsen, Ph.D.
Pediatric Psychologist
Section Chief of Psychology Department

Is your teen spending too much time on social media and not enough time sleeping? It’s one reason your teen may feel stressed and anxious. According to recent American Psychological Association’s (APA) Stress in America Survey, our younger generation is increasingly more stressed. More than one in four teens and young adults say they do not feel they are doing enough to manage their stress, compared with about one in ten older adults.

The APA’s survey also indicated that teens are more likely to report using passive rather than active coping strategies, which are not always as helpful. Teens rely mainly on taking a nap, listening to music, going online, eating and playing video games to cope with stress and depression. Below are some more active ways of coping which parents can easily discuss and teach to their children.

Physical activity
One in five teens and young adults reports exercising less than once a week or not at all. Exercise is one of the most effective stress and anxiety relievers. Any of these activities are helpful: yoga, hiking, biking, walking, dancing, running, rock climbing, and skateboarding. The best activity is one which involves a social component. It doesn’t need to be a team sport.

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Taking a closer look at type 1 and type 2 diabetes

By Dr. Ruchi Kaushik
General Pediatrics
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio

Diabetes mellitus is a chronic disease caused by a lack of insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas, is essential to life, and helps in the metabolism of glucose, a simple sugar derived from the carbohydrates (“carbs”) in our diet. It lowers blood glucose (glucose = sugar) levels by helping glucose enter our muscle cells so we can then use it for energy. One analogy describes insulin as the “key” to opening the door to muscle cells for glucose to come in. An absence or deficiency of insulin leads to high blood sugar levels; conversely, an excess of insulin results in hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar levels. Importantly, in diabetes, even though blood sugar levels are high, the glucose cannot enter muscle cells and cannot be used for energy because the “key,” insulin, is missing. This is dangerous because glucose is the only energy source for red blood cells and the brain.

Diabetes mellitus is of two types, type 1 and type 2. In type 1 diabetes, the cells of the pancreas are either absent or destroyed. These individuals have a lifetime dependence on injectable insulin. Type 2 diabetes is more complicated. The body’s cells have become resistant to insulin.  Essentially, the cells have changed their “locks.” Traditionally, type 2 diabetes has been a disease of adults; however, with increased rates of childhood obesity, as many as one-third of all new cases of diabetes in adolescents is of type 2.

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Oral health: the gateway to total health

By Dr. Ruchi Kaushik
General Pediatrics
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio

Oral health is the most common chronic disease of childhood. Additionally, gum disease has been linked to future heart and lung disease, diabetes, premature and low-birth weight babies, and a number of other conditions.  The 2000 Surgeon General’s report, Oral Health in America, states that, if left untreated, poor oral health is a “silent X-factor promoting the onset of life-threatening diseases which are responsible for the deaths of millions of Americans each year.”

As a result, teaching your child about good oral hygiene from the start can prevent tooth decay and gum disease and their complications. Continue reading “Oral health: the gateway to total health”

Child life specialists help children cope

Sarah Sims, MS, CCLS
Child Life Specialist, Emergency Department 
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio

“Play is the work of the child.” –Maria Montessori

Hospitalization experiences can be scary and overwhelming for children and families. At The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio, our goal is to provide excellent, quality care and an overall positive experience. That is why child life specialists are an important and integral part of our health care team. Child life specialists are professionals trained in child development and family theory. The child life team contributes to the patient and families’ plan of care to improve the hospital experience and promote positive coping.

Background Child life specialists have Bachelor’s and/or Master’s level training; this educational background prepares the child life specialist to assess psychosocial coping and provide meaningful and developmentally appropriate support. For example, a child life specialist can prepare you and your child for an MRI and offer coaching to help your child cope with the procedure. A child life specialist can provide developmentally appropriate diagnosis education for child and the whole family when the child has received a new diagnosis. A child life specialist can establish therapeutic relationships with patients and caregivers to support family participation in their child’s care during a prolonged stay for rehabilitation. These are just a few examples of the ways child life specialists work to help children cope with their health care experience.

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The myth of the perfect parent

By Sky Izaddoost, M.D.
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio Primary Care
Alon Town Centre

Every mommy has secrets. The first secret: We don’t always have it together. With the advent of social media, idealized parenting has become warped into a competition of who can do it better. We post pictures of our perfectly breastfed angels in our perfectly clean home with the homemade Pinterest cookies. Unfortunately, this perfection is an intermittent occurrence, not an accurate representation of what parenting should be. By far, first time mothers feel the guilt of not being flawless. I witness the tears daily from wonderful parents who think they are not keeping up with their friends and neighbors. They don’t know the struggle to be intermittently perfect.

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