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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

Meet PCCSF’s First Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner

As part of National Nurses Week, we’re celebrating nurses incredible work and its importance to the healthcare system by formally introducing our first advanced registered nurse practitioner, Jennifer Highfield, DNP, ARNP, CPNP-AC.

We’re thrilled to have Jennifer in the PCCSF family and encourage you to get to know her by reading our latest newsletter here. Happy National Nurses Week to all our nurses!

Posted by lavandosky

Meet the Newest PCCSF Members

The Pediatric Critical Care of South Florida family has some fresh faces! Read our latest newsletter here and get to know them.

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 pollen, grass 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