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The Children’s Hospital Q & A: Clean Clothes & Clear Skin

Every month, Mile High Mamas features a Q & A from The Children’s Hospital on a different health topic. This month’s topic is all about choosing the laundry detergent that is best for your child’s skin. Read up on clean clothes and clear skin.

Kids come in contact with laundry detergent on a regular basis – like every time your little one touches clothes, bedding or towels. With detergent being a common cause of irritation and rashes, how do you choose the product that’s best for your family?

How can I tell if my child is having a reaction to our laundry detergent?
Exposure to detergent may trigger a reaction on the skin that can include:

* Dry, chapped areas
* Rashes
* Redness
* Scaly, itchy patches

It looks like a skin reaction – now what should I do?

If your child experiences any of these reactions from laundry detergent, you can help alleviate symptoms by washing the affected area immediately with gentle soap and water. Applying unscented moisturizers and lotions may help ease dryness.

How do I figure out what’s causing the skin irritation?

If your child has skin irritation and you aren’t sure of the cause, try using detergents without dyes or perfumes, setting your washes for an extra rinse to ensure suds are gone, and eliminating fabric softeners and dryer sheets. If the skin improves, chances are your detergent, fabric softener or dryer sheet may have been the problem.

What if nothing helps?
If your child’s reaction does not diminish after you stop using a detergent, or if his or her rash worsens, contact your pediatrician or family doctor to help determine the cause.

Learn more about skin care (dermatology) and treatment for allergies at The Children’s Hospital.

The Children’s Hospital Q & A: Soothing Summertime Allergies

Every month, Mile High Mamas features a Q & A from The Children’s Hospital on a different health topic. This month’s topic is all about how to sooth your child’s summer allergy symptoms. Learn how to reduce allergens in your home so springtime allergens don’t ruin your summer.

Most people think allergies should stop acting up after springtime. Unfortunately, culprits such as pollen, insects and various plants can extend allergy symptoms into summer.

What causes seasonal allergies?
Pollen is the primary substance responsible for both spring and summertime allergies. Because most trees finish pollinating by late spring, the majority of summertime pollen is produced by grasses. In the Denver area, grass pollen is the most common summer allergen, affecting seasonal allergy sufferers from April into late summer.

How can I tell if my

The Children’s Hospital Q & A: Growing Pains

Every month, Mile High Mamas features a Q & A from The Children’s Hospital on a different health topic. This month’s topic is all about your child’s growing pains. Find out why that tiny voice in the middle of the night keeps whispering, “Mommy, my legs hurt.”

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, as many as 40% of children in the U.S. ages three to five and eight to 12 have growing pains; that’s because most kids experience significant growth within these ages ranges.

How can I tell if my child is experiencing growing pains?

The following symptoms are the most common indicators of growing pains:

* Pain is concentrated in the leg muscles, particularly the front of the thighs, calves or behind the knees.
* The pain is felt in both legs.

What causes growing pains?

“We don’t know what causes growing pains, but they do seem to occur more often after children experience a physically active day,” said J. Roger Hollister, MD, Rheumatologist and Professor of Pediatrics at The Children’s Hospital. “Heredity also may play a role if one or both parents experienced growing pains when they were young.”

What can I do to soothe my child’s pain?

Try these tips to help alleviate your growing child’s aches:

* Stretch before bedtime. Experts believe the sensation of growing pains may be caused, in part, by excessive activity throughout the day. Stretching the muscles before going to sleep can help.
* Massage the tender area. Gently rub your child’s muscles in the evening or when he or she complains of soreness.
* Apply heat. Taking a warm bath or applying heat pads can help ease the pain.
* Take pain medicine. Give your child ibuprofen or acetaminophen before bedtime or when pain wakes him up at night.

Could it be more serious than just growing pains?

Other signs and symptoms that may suggest a more serious medical condition include:

* Discomfort in only one leg or area
* Joint swelling, redness, rash, tenderness, or areas that are warm to the touch
* Fever
* Limping
* Stiffness in the morning
* Weakness

“Growing pains may wake a child from sleep at night, but the pain generally disappears or is significantly reduced in the morning,” said Mark Erickson, MD, Orthopedic Surgeon at Children’s. “If pain continues into the morning and throughout the day, your child could have a more serious health concern, such as pediatric arthritis. Talk to your pediatrician if your child is experiencing additional signs and symptoms.”

Learn more about The Children’s Hospital.

The Children’s Hospital Q & A: Stomach Pain or Appendicitis?

Every month, Mile High Mamas features a Q & A from The Children’s Hospital on a different health topic. This month’s topic is all about knowing the difference between your child’s stomach pain and appendicitis. Learn how to tell distinguish a tummy ache from potential inflammation of the appendix.

Appendicitis typically affects children between the ages 11 to 20. If left untreated, the condition can have serious consequences — including the spread of infection due to rupturing — which is why parents should know the difference between stomach pain and something potentially more serious.

What is appendicitis?

Appendicitis is inflammation of the appendix, a small organ within the digestive tract. Although it is one of childhood’s most distressing medical concerns, with early diagnosis appendicitis is a very treatable problem.

How is it different from a run-of-the-mill stomachache?

“It can be hard for parents to recognize the symptoms of appendicitis because they also can occur with common conditions like stomach viruses,” said Lalit Bajaj, MD, MPH, research director of emergency medicine at The Children’s Hospital.

The following symptoms can indicate appendicitis:

* Significant abdominal pain, especially around the bellybutton or in the lower right part of the abdomen (this is the biggest differentiator from an ordinary stomach virus)
* A low-grade fever
* Loss of appetite
* Nausea and vomiting
* Diarrhea (especially small amounts, with mucus)
* Frequent urination and/or an abnormally strong urge to urinate
* Swollen or bloated abdomen, especially in infants

Should we see a pediatric specialist for appendicitis?

Diagnosing appendicitis in children can be tricky, especially if they have difficulty explaining their symptoms. “Specialists in a pediatric ER can best determine if a case requires immediate surgery or imaging to get a closer view. We also provide age-appropriate radiation dosages if imaging is necessary,” Dr. Bajaj said. “A child’s anatomy also requires different drug doses and fluid management – why is why a pediatric specialist really is the best choice.” Learn why kids need a children’s hospital.

My child has appendicitis – now what?

A combination of symptom evaluation, a physical exam, lab studies and medical imaging may be used to diagnose appendicitis. To treat the condition, a pediatric surgeon usually performs an appendectomy (an operation to remove the appendix), which is a minimally invasive procedure completed through tiny incisions. Dissolvable stitches are used to close the incision, and if the appendix did not rupture prior to surgery, patients may return home within one or two days. Antibiotics and a longer recovery period may be necessary if the appendix ruptures.

Read more about appendicitis treatment at The Children’s Hospital.

The Children’s Hospital Q & A: Pet Allergies

Every month, Mile High Mamas features a Q & A from The Children’s Hospital on a different health topic. This month’s topic is all about living with pet allergies. Find out how to make your child’s allergies more bearable – without getting rid of your furry friend.

If your child develops itchy eyes or begins to sneeze while around the family pet, he or she could be one of approximately 10 million people in the U.S. with pet allergies.

How do I know it’s pet allergies?

The first step if you suspect your child may have a pet allergy is to discuss his or her symptoms with your family physician or pediatrician, who can help decide if you should be referred to a pediatric allergy specialist.

“Symptoms usually begin within minutes to an hour of exposure to a pet and commonly consist of itchy eyes, runny nose and sneezing,” said Dan Atkins, MD and allergist at The Children’s Hospital. “Difficulty breathing and hives where a pet has touched or licked the skin also can occur. Pet allergies also may trigger an asthma attack, eczema and/or chronic nasal symptoms.”

Are some pets really “hypoallergenic?”

According to Dr. Atkins, one of the most common questions parents have regarding pet allergies is whether certain pets are hypoallergenic (most people assume fur causes allergy symptoms). While animal allergens can stick to fur, they are primarily present in the dander made by glands in the animal’s skin – which is why even shorthaired dogs release allergens. Any type of furry pet, from rabbits and guinea pigs to cats, dogs and horses can cause allergy symptoms.

Help – I don’t want to get rid of our family pet!

If your child is allergic to a pet, there is no way to completely alleviate symptoms without medications (short of removing the pet from the home). However, you can take the following steps to try to reduce your child’s symptoms:

• Get rid of carpeting, use washable area rugs, and clean your home often.

• Give your pet a weekly bath.

• Keep pets out of your child’s bedroom; bedding, carpeting and stuffed animals can trap allergens that are released later upon contact.

• Teach your child to wash his or her hands immediately after handling pets.

• Use a high-efficiency particulate arresting (HEPA) air filter in your home. These filters can remove much of the animal dander floating in the air.

Read more about allergies and treatment at The Children’s Hospital.

The Children’s Hospital Answers Parents’ Heart Questions

Every month, we’ll be featuring a Q & A from Children’s Hospital on a different health topic, as it relates to you or your children. This month’s topic is all about the heart!

How does the heart work?

The heart is the strongest muscle in the body, separated into four chambers: right atrium (upper chamber), right ventricle (lower chamber), left atrium, and left ventricle. Unoxygenated (blue) blood enters the right atrium, goes through the right ventricle and to the lungs, via the pulmonary artery. In the lungs, blood picks up oxygen (red), and reenters the heart’s left atrium through the pulmonary veins. From there, it goes through the left ventricle, then to the rest of the body via the aorta, supplying the body with oxygenated (red) blood. This delivers energy to all the cells in the body, a cycle repeated more than 100,000 times a day.

How does a baby’s heart develop?

During development in the womb, the baby relies upon its mother for oxygen through the placenta and blood flows through the heart, which is still a single-pump system. The heart completes development from a single straight tube into a complex four-chambered pump containing four valves. After delivery, a baby’s lungs will begin to function as the passages that allowed him to receive oxygenated blood from the mother close.

When and how do you discover heart defects in children?

Most heart defects remain hidden until birth when the baby becomes reliant on his own heart and lungs to provide the proper oxygen and blood flow needed. A child’s doctor or pediatric cardiologist may discover a heart defect at birth or during examination for a heart murmur, irregular heart rate, palpitations or fainting episodes.

What is congenital heart disease?

Congenital heart disease appears at birth due to the abnormal development of a baby’s heart in the early stages of pregnancy. In some cases, doctors can detect this heart defect before birth.

Alice’s 36 Hours for Kids Radiothon – Children’s Miracle Network

On February 17-19, 2010, Denver listeners will again be captivated and moved by the incredible stories of hope and triumph that will be featured on Alice 105.9. For three days, Alice will break from their usual format and broadcast live from the lobby of The Children’s Hospital in an effort to raise funds for Children’s Miracle Network. Patients and their families will share their powerful stories about the care and treatment that they have received at The Children’s Hospital. Listeners will feel inspired to call in and share their own stories and experiences. This is guaranteed to be the most compelling and moving radio you have ever heard.

Alice’s 36 Hours for Kids is instrumental in raising funds and communicating the miracles that take place each day at The Children’s Hospital. During the 36-hour event, listeners are urged to call in and make a donation to Children’s Miracle Network. Over the last nine years, this incredible event has raised more than $9 million for Children’s Miracle Network. Don’t miss this year as we hear more remarkable stories from The Children’s Hospital and try to raise over $1 million in just 36 hours!

The families who share their experiences will touch your heart and make you proud to be a supporter of Alice and Children’s Miracle Network.

Donations can be made by calling 1-800-458-KIDS (5437) from 6am to 6pm Wednesday the 17th through Friday the 19th or anytime during this three day period at www.alice1059.com.