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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

What Parents Should Know about Spring Allergies

Approximately 40 percent of children suffer from seasonal allergies. Seasonal allergies are different than year-round allergies because symptoms only occur during certain periods.

The symptoms of seasonal allergies show up at the same time every year and disappear in about four to ten weeks.

How can you tell the difference between a cold, the flu, and seasonal allergies? What steps can you take to help prevent them and make your child feel better?

Spring Allergies:

  • Spring allergies usually begin in March and may last through the summer
  • Spring allergies are caused because of environmental changes. Pollen counts are higher during the spring
  • Because of the nicer weather, children are more likely to be exposed to outdoor allergens, such as tree pollens, grasses and weeds
  • Seasonal allergies usually develop by the time a child is ten years old. The symptoms peak when they are in their early twenties, and usually disappear by young adulthood
  • Seasonal allergies do not usually develop in infants. Children need to be exposed to several pollen seasons in order to develop a reaction
  • Seasonal allergies are sometimes hereditary. Children are more likely to develop them if their mother or father has had seasonal allergies

Symptoms of Spring Allergies:

  • Lingering congestion that does not clear up
  • Itchiness of the nose and throat
  • Swollen, watery, itchy eyes and redness
  • Sneezing and nasal drainage that is clear and watery
  • Children can sometimes develop an ear infection or inflammation in the ear
  • Children can sometimes develop a rash that can appear anywhere on the body
  • If a child has a fever or is complaining of body aches, those are usually signs of a cold or flu, not spring allergies

Preventive Tips:

While there is no real cure for spring allergies, it’s possible to help prevent them and relieve symptoms. Uncontrolled allergies can make your child’s symptoms worst.

  • Keep your home’s windows and doors closed, use the air conditioner whenever possible
  • Keep your car’s windows closed and use the air conditioner
  • Have your child shower at night in order to wash the pollen off before bedtime
  • Make sure your child washes their hands properly after playing outside
  • Children should avoid the outdoors when pollen levels are at their highest, between the hours of 5 a.m. and 10 a.m.
  • Parents should schedule outdoor activities after 10 a.m.

Parents should always consult their child’s pediatrician. They can properly diagnose a child’s ailment and determine if medication or further testing is needed.

Posted by lavandosky

PCCSF Recognizes National Certified Nurses Day

In honor of National Certified Nurses Day, we’d like to cast the spotlight on Jennifer Highfield, DNP, ARNP, CPNP-AC. Jennifer became PCCSF’s first advanced registered nurse practitioner almost a year ago, and she’s been a wonderful addition ever since!

Prior to becoming an ARNP and joining PCCSF, Jennifer worked as a CVICU/PICU nurse for several years at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, but a strong desire to make more of an impact on her patients’ care motivated her to pursue a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. In her new role at PCCSF, she works alongside physicians and physician assistants to manage pediatric patients in the critical care setting.

Day in and day out, Jennifer is most inspired by the stories of her individual patients. Their strength, perseverance and ability to maintain a positive outlook despite the severity of their medical challenges, is something Jennifer truly admires.

Outside of PCCSF, Jennifer is a Pediatric Advanced Life Support instructor. For the past two years, she’s been teaching physicians and new graduate nurses the algorithms necessary to ensure critically ill pediatric patients receive the best care during an emergency.

Jennifer is also part of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners and National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners. As a member of these organizations, she has access to continuing education opportunities, up-to-date research, and has the ability to collaborate with other members in her field. Being a member of AANP also gives her the ability to influence the future laws that govern the practice of ARNP’s.

Over the past year, Jennifer has enjoyed taking on her new role: being a mom. She enjoys traveling and exploring new places with her family and looks forward to having more of these experiences. Her goal for this year is to travel more and attend more pediatric conferences where she can expand her knowledge and provide better care for her patients.

Posted by admin

On the Front Lines of Flu Season With Fatherly

Like so many other specialists throughout the country, we are seeing a greater number of pediatric flu cases this flu season. This year has been so much more intense than we’ve seen in the past five to 10 years, not just in the number of patients, but how sick the patients are who come in for the flu.

The most common reason for a child with the flu to be admitted to Pediatric Critical Care of South Florida is dehydration and high-grade fever.

Dr. Allan Greissman shared his experience on the front lines of this flu season exclusively with Fatherly.

The year’s flu is, per the CDC, on track to be one of the deadliest in nearly a decade. In California alone, 100 people have died and only three of them were over the age of 64. All told, 37 children have died. Nationally, the CDC expects to see 2.2 percent of outpatient visits in this season to be flu-related. During the week of January 14th to January 20th, the actual percentage of flu-related doctor visits was three times that rate at 6.6 percent. Thirty-nine states reported high “influenza-like-illness” activity and the spread in 49 states and Puerto Rico has been reported as “widespread.”

Dr. Allan Greissman, a pediatric critical care specialist at Pediatric Critical Care of South Florida at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, has compared this year’s outbreak to only one, infamous predecessor: the swine flu. Greissman works exclusively on the most severe cases of pediatric illnesses and surgeries, and every year expects to see an uptick in patients who visit due to dehydration or high-grade fever from the flu. But this season is far more severe than even he ever imagined.

Dr. Greissman talked to us about the worst cases he’s seen, why the flu needs to be taken more seriously, and why it’s still not too late to get your flu shot.

To read the full story, visit Fatherly.

Posted by admin