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Patient Success Story: Naples Baby Survives Life-Threatening Immune Disorder

Pediatric Critical Care of South Florida recently treated a patient suffering from an underlying immune deficiency known as x-linked hyper IgM syndrome CD40L, a condition that affects the immune system and occurs almost exclusively in males. The life-threatening diagnosis was discovered when the patient was just three months old.

The patient spent two months under PCCSF’s care and required around the clock, bedside critical care management. Today, the patient is 11 months old and is back home in Naples with his family where he awaits a bone marrow transplant from his big sister, which is scheduled for next summer.

Read about the care the patient received while at PCCSF, how he’s doing today, and how you can donate to the family’s GoFundMe page in their interview with Naples Daily News:

Posted by lavandosky

Tips For A Healthy Back to School

The start of the 2017-2018 school year is right around the corner. After three months of summer vacation, most families need help transitioning their children to their back-to-school routines. Below are some tips to make sure your child kicks off the new school year on a healthy note!

  • Besides visiting your child’s pediatrician, back-to-school season is also a good time for setting other doctor’s appointments, including the dentist, optometrist, or ophthalmologist
  • Make sure that your child’s school is aware of any medical conditions that your child may have, including allergies, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or vision problems. Make arrangements for the school to administer any medications that they may need during class
  • Healthy eating is crucial for a successful school year. Make sure that your child’s eating habits are back-on-track before the new school year starts by reintroducing healthier meals and making them aware of the benefits of nutritious options so they can start making better choices on their own
  • As the new school year approaches, it is imperative to get kids back to a regular sleep schedule, check with your pediatrician to see how much sleep your child should be getting according to their age. Most kids need about two weeks to become accustomed to a new sleep routine
  • Anxiety can be a problem, especially if children are heading to a new school with new classmates. Encourage your kids to discuss any anxieties they may be experiencing
  • Computer screens keep children’s minds stimulated longer than intended, start limiting your child’s play time in front of computers, cell phones, and tablets as back-to-school season approaches
  • Make regular physical activity part of your child’s back-to-school routine. Exercise supports overall well-being, a healthier immune system, and helps kids stay alert and focused when they get back to class
  • Go a step further by encouraging your child to sign-up for a sport they enjoy. Participating in team sports has lots of benefits, including physical and mental health, stress reduction, and an increase in self-confidence. Check if your child’s school requires a sports physical and schedule it before the school year starts
  • Make sure that your child’s backpack isn’t hurting their back. Choose a sturdy backpack with good built-in support and thick padded shoulder straps. Teach your child how to spread the weight of the bag evenly
Posted by lavandosky

Tips for a Happy and Healthy Summer

Summertime is here, which means kids are free from routines, homework and rules. While it’s important they enjoy their time off, too much freedom can lead to unhealthy habits. Below are tips to help your child have both a happy and healthy summer.

Nutrition and Physical Fitness – The summer months are not a time for your child to slack off from their usual activities. Make sure that they eat nutritious meals, get plenty of exercise, and the adequate amount of sleep necessary for their age.

First-Aid Kit – Keep a first-aid kit on hand that includes children’s pain medication, antiseptic cream, insect repellent, hand sanitizer or antibacterial wipes, a cold pack and bandages. Keep the acronym, R.I.C.E in mind in the case of an injury – Rest, apply Ice and Compression, and keep the injured area Elevated.

Sunscreen – Make sure that your child applies a water-resistant sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB and is at least SPF 30. It should be reapplied every two hours and, as needed, when swimming.

Dehydration – Hot weather and strenuous activity can dehydrate children and cause heat-related illnesses.  Always keep water or sports drinks with electrolytes handy and remind kids to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day.

Bug Safety – Avoid areas where insects tend to congregate. Have children wear long-sleeved shirts and pants, as well as socks to prevent bites. Use insect repellents that contain DEET on children over two months old in order to prevent insect-related diseases.

Playgrounds – Before your child starts to play, make sure the equipment works correctly, if it burns to the touch, or has any loose or unsecured ropes. Never leave children unsupervised.

Pool Safety – Teach your child how to swim as soon as it is recommended. Regardless of a child’s swimming capabilities, never leave them alone or unsupervised, near the pool area. Keep floating devices and a portable phone nearby.

Boating Safety – Children should wear life jackets at all times when on boats, docks, or near bodies of water. Make sure that they are the right size for your child and are fastened properly.

Open Waters – Do not let your child swim in canals or fast-moving waters. Do not let them dive into water unless you have checked it for depth, objects and safety. Never leave your child unsupervised, it is best that they swim only when there is a lifeguard on duty.

Summer Travel – If you are traveling, especially internationally, visit your child’s pediatrician to see if any vaccinations, flu shots, medications, or special precautions are needed for the area that you are traveling to.

Posted by lavandosky

Former PCCSF Patient Survives Flu and Graduates On Time

It’s graduation season and we’re so happy to share that Jenny Spell, a former Pediatric Critical Care of South Florida patient, was able to walk down the graduation stage with the rest of her classmates from The King’s Academy.

Jenny’s road to graduation wasn’t an easy one. Jenny had to be airlifted to Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital where PCCSF’s Dr. Gerald Lavandosky diagnosed her with the flu.

Jenny went on to spend 241 days under the care of the PCCSF team, during which she took classes online to not fall behind.

On May 30, 2017, Jenny joined classmates, family and friends for her graduation ceremony and is now preparing to head off to the University of Florida to study pre-pharmacy. She aspires to become an ICU pharmacist.

We’re so proud of Jenny, and wish her the best of luck!

Read more about Jenny’s story, and her future goals in this exclusive interview with People Magazine.

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
  • Abnormal blood clotting
  • Immune disorders
  • Mother’s pregnancy-related high blood pressure

How is Pediatric Stroke Diagnosed?

The same diagnosis that is used to detect adult stroke is 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 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.

PCCSF is proud of its Pediatric Stroke Program at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, which is designed to promptly and accurately diagnose stroke in children. The team includes neurology, neurosurgery, neurointerventional radiology, neuroradiology, hospitalist, emergency department, critical care and pediatric rehabilitation doctors.

Posted by lavandosky