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Discussing Meningitis Symptoms with HealthyWay

What may seem as regular cold or flu can sometimes turn out to be the potentially life-threatening infection, meningitis.

Because acting quickly is the best way to lessen the consequences of the disease, it’s important to know and understand the telltale signs of meningitis and take the appropriate medical action. PCCSF’s Dr. Allan Greissman spoke with HealthyWay and shared what symptoms you should look out for.

Everyone gets sick from time to time. But sometimes, what we think of as a normal cold or flu might actually be far more dangerous. With flu season fast approaching, it’s important to understand and recognize the difference between normal illness and more serious conditions.

If flu-like symptoms come on and escalate quickly, it may mean you or a loved one has actually contracted meningitis. Meningitis is an infection that causes our meninges—the membranes that provide a protective barrier for the brain and spinal cord—to swell.

Meningitis is a serious condition that requires immediate attention from a medical professional. It can be life-threatening if left untreated, so it is important to understand the telltale symptoms. When you can spot symptoms early on, you can quickly seek out medical attention that can mitigate the negative effects of the disease.

Understanding the Types of Meningitis

There are a few different types of meningitis, but bacterial and viral meningitis are the two most common.

Bacterial meningitis is the most severe form of meningitis and can be fatal, especially if treatment is delayed. There are many types of bacteria that can cause meningitis, including Streptococcus pneumoniae, Group B Streptococcus, and Listeria monocytogenes.

Thankfully, the introduction of and increased access to safe and effective vaccines resulted in a steady decrease in bacterial meningitis cases since the 1990s. However, cases that do occur are dangerous and can be fatal if left untreated.

Bacterial meningitis is treated with oral or IV antibiotics, and treatment can last between 10 and 21 days, according to Allan Greissman, MD, of Pediatric Critical Care of South Florida.

The second most commonly experienced meningitis is viral meningitis. Although there is no vaccine for viral meningitis, you can be vaccinated against some of the viruses that could cause meningitis, like measles, mumps, or influenza.

It helps to think of viral meningitis as a potential complication of these other viruses. This means that, although you might catch measles, mumps, or the flu from someone with viral meningitis, that doesn’t necessarily mean you will also develop viral meningitis.

“Viral meningitis will run its course and should not [be], and is not, treated with IV antibiotics,” says Greissman. He notes that one exception is a form of viral meningitis caused by the herpes viruses, which is treated with an antiviral medication.

Other types of meningitis do exist—fungal, parasitic, and non-infectious—but these are rare when compared to the other two types.

To read the full story, visit HealthyWay.

Posted by lavandosky

Keeping Children Safe and Healthy During the Summer

When the weather heats up, so do health and safety concerns. As children enjoy more recreational time during the summer, parents should remain attentive about their activities and distinctive needs during this season. Following is information that will keep your child’s summer as carefree as possible.

  • Food – The summer months are not the time to ease up on smart food choices.  Most fruits and vegetables are in season and plentiful during the warmer months. In addition, as children’s diets allow, parents should include foods that are high in fiber and protein.
  • Exercise – Kids need to stay active during the summer. Exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous in order to be beneficial. It can be as simple as turning up the radio and dancing, playing a game of tag, hide and seek, Twister or taking a few laps in the pool. The idea is to keep your child moving
  • Dehydration – Strenuous activity during warmer weather makes it difficult for children’s bodies to regulate changes in body temperature. It’s imperative that children stay hydrated by consuming more water than other times of the year or drinking sports drinks with electrolytes. Parents should schedule outside activities during early morning hours, late afternoons, or early evenings in order to avoid the hottest part of the day
  • Sunburns – Serious sunburns can increase a child’s risk of skin cancer later in life. Children should use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 each time they head outdoors. Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours, after swimming, sweating, or drying off with a towel. Children should also wear lightweight, loose clothing in light colors in breathable fabrics during the summer
  • Injuries – Injuries can increase during the summer months when kids spend more time outdoors and are more active. Children should be supervised at all times and, as needed, should use protective equipment, such as helmets, eyewear, gloves and pads to protect against injuries
  • Drowning – Never leave children unsupervised when they are near or in the water. Children should wear life-jackets or vests whenever they are near water and should learn how to swim as soon as they are physically able.
  • Burns – While outdoor cookouts, barbeques and campfires are some of summer’s greatest pleasures, they can also lead to serious burns. Parents should always keep a close eye on children and have a “no play’ zone around open fires and hot surfaces that children should keep away from. Teach children that a grill or barbeque is similar to the stove inside the home. If possible, keep a fire extinguisher near the area
  • Hot Cars – Of course, a child should never be left alone in a car, even for a few minutes. Temperatures in a car can go up extremely quickly. Before getting into a car, check seats and seat belts to assess the temperature. If the interior is too hot, let the car cool off before letting children inside
  • Road Trips – Parents should use age-appropriate car seats during road trips. Most experts agree that the back seat is the best place for children under 13 to sit, but parents should follow their state’s laws and regulations, as well as their  pediatrician’s guidance
  • Summer First Aid Kit – Prepare a First Aid kit with essentials and keep it handy for emergencies with insect repellent, sun protection, water, icepack, an antibiotic cream and bandages
Posted by lavandosky

PCCSF Manages Complex Chronic Care Coordination Program at JDCH

Providing top-notch quality care to critically ill pediatric patients is our mission at Pediatric Critical Care of South Florida. In addition to managing Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital’s pediatric intensive care unit, we also manage the hospital’s Complex Chronic Care Coordination Program.

Led by our very own Dr. Jason Adler, the group’s medical director, the team is made up of three pediatric palliative care specialists; a physician assistant, PCCSF’s Alison Davis-Lavandosky; and a social worker. Together the team provides healthcare to children and adolescents who have multiple complex healthcare needs and whose care often requires the aid of medical devices such as home ventilators or feeding tubes.

Services provided by the Complex Chronic Program Team include:

  • Coordination of care for medically complex children
  • Transition of care visits for medically complex children including when children experience the following changes in care environments:
    • Hospital to home
    • Skilled nursing facility to home
    • Geographic relocation
    • Shift from one care provider to another
  • Office visits and on-call support for children with medical complexity
  • Expert medical consultation and diagnostic services for children with rare diseases
  • Expert medical consultation for complex medical decision-making for providers and/or caregivers of medically complex children
  • Needs assessments for home and community based medical services for medically complex children
  • Medical diagnostic and treatment services for the medically complex children
  • Short- and long-term medical planning for medically complex children

For more information on the Complex Chronic Care Coordination Program, please call 954-265-6301.

Posted by lavandosky

Children Experience Strokes, Too

May is Pediatric Stroke Awareness Month. Many parents are unaware that strokes can affect newborns, infants, children and adolescents. Stroke affects 25 in 100,000 newborns, 12 in 100,000 children under 18 years of age, and is one of the top ten causes of death in children.

Prompt medical care is essential in order to maximize recovery. Unfortunately, because pediatric stroke often goes unrecognized, misdiagnosis is common, and proper care is delayed.

What is a Stroke?

A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted. There are two types of strokes – ischemic and hemorrhagic – with ischemic stroke being much more common in children and adolescents.

What are the Risks for Pediatric Stroke?

Pediatric stroke can occur at any time but is highest during a child’s first year. Boys and African-American children are at highest risk than other populations for stroke.

Common risks include:

  • Birth Defects
  • Trauma
  • Sickle Cell Disease
  • Head or Neck Trauma
  • Congenital Heart Defects
  • Abnormal Blood Clotting
  • Immune Disorders
  • Premature rupture of Membrane during Pregnancy
  • Mother’s Pregnancy-related High Blood Pressure
  • Abnormalities of Blood Vessels

What are the Symptoms of Pediatric Stroke?

Some of the specific symptoms that indicate pediatric stroke in newborns and infants include seizures, extreme sleepiness, the tendency to use only one side of the body, problems eating, trouble or pauses in breathing and developmental delays.

In children, the signs can be similar to those in adults – slurred speech, sudden weakness, and blurred vision. These symptoms vary depending on a child’s age and the damage caused to brain cells. Other symptoms include seizures, language or speech delays, behavioral changes, trouble swallowing, restricted movement in the arms and legs, memory loss and difficulty with schoolwork.

If a child experiences these symptoms, parents should call 911 or see a physician immediately.

How is Pediatric Stroke Diagnosed?

The same diagnosis that is used to detect adult stroke are used to identify pediatric stroke, including blood tests, MRIs, CT or CAT Scans, Ultrasounds and Spinal Taps.

What Treatments are Available for Pediatric Stroke?

Treatment and recovery vary according to each individual child and is determined by age, symptoms, the amount of brain damage that occurred, and on the specific medical conditions.

Because children’s brains are still forming, recovery is faster for children than adults.  However, children can experience permanent complications from a stroke, such as paralysis, slurred speech, and vision problems that are also common in adults.

More severe, life-long effects from pediatric stroke may include mental retardation, cerebral palsy, and epilepsy.

Pediatric Critical Care of  South Florida, who manages the PICU at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, has developed a Pediatric Stroke Program designed to promptly and accurately diagnose stroke in children.  The team includes neuorlogy, neurosurgery, neurointerventional, radiology, neuroradiology, hospitalist, emergency department, critical care and pediatric rehabilitation doctors.

Posted by lavandosky

PCCSF’s Dr. Allan Greissman Receives JDCH Circle of Friends Recognition

We’re excited to announce Dr. Allan Greissman’s recent JDCH Circle of Friends Recognition for his outstanding work as a pediatric intensivist!

Part of Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital’s giving societies, Circle of Friends recognizes physicians that exemplify the spirit and mission of the hospital and provide extraordinary care for JDCH patients, families and community.

A senior member of Pediatric Critical Care of South Florida, Dr. Greissman’s medical expertise has helped provide the best possible care for critically ill and injured children. His devout dedication and genuine empathy for these patients has provided countless of families with the comfort and hope they need to make it through the challenges and difficulties of having a loved one in pediatric intensive care.

Congratulations Dr. Greissman and thank you for your work!

Posted by lavandosky