How parents can prepare for viral season, including EV-D68

How parents can prepare for viral season, including EV-D68Over the last few days, the news media have brought attention to the number of children across the country with respiratory illnesses, particularly Enterovirus EV-D68. Though we haven’t seen any cases of Enterovirus EV-D68 at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin so far this year, we continue to actively test for it.

We’ve seen an anticipated increase in respiratory illness over the last few weeks, both in our primary care clinics and in our emergency room. This is typical for this time of the …Click here to continue reading

Why being ranked by Parents magazine is more than a popularity contest

Parents magazine 10 best children's hospitalsI have a passion for helping kids live safe, healthy lives. That’s one reason I chose to become a pediatrician. It’s also why I continue to treat patients in addition to my duties as chief medical officer at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. If you ask nearly anyone here, they’ll tell you the same thing. This passion and clear sense of purpose shine through in so many ways at our hospital.

This week, our dedication to helping kids resulted …Click here to continue reading

How a health care hero can make a difference in a child’s life and a community

Recently, I was privileged to attend the Health Care Heroes Awards program sponsored by BizTimes, a biweekly news magazine here in Milwaukee. During this event, Robert Rohloff, MD, a pediatrician at Children’s Medical Group Southwest Pediatrics, was honored as a health care hero.

Dr. Rohloff was recognized for his work instituting a more family-centered way of caring for kids that led to a change in the clinic’s approach to health care. This medical home model is being implemented more widely across the country, and thanks to Dr. Rohloff, Southwest Pediatrics is …Continue reading this post

How to talk to your child’s doctor

The autumn months bring pumpkin picking and lots of other fun family activities, but also an increase in illnesses and visits to the doctor. As a doctor and a dad, I know the importance of making the most of every trip to the pediatrician’s office. Here are a few of my favorite tips for making the most of your child’s visit to the doctor.

Offer information:

  • Tell your doctor about any change in your family’s health history. Cases of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer are examples of things your doctor should know.
  • Tell the doctor if someone else has seen your child for an illness or injury, such as emergency room or urgent care visits or a specialist.
  • Bring a list of all the medications your child is taking. This should include over-the-counter medications, vitamins and herbal supplements, as well as prescription medication.
  • If your child is sick, write down when the symptoms began and what the symptoms are. This is even more important if your child has a chronic or long-standing illness.

The more detail you can offer your child’s doctor, the better he or she will be able to diagnose and treat your child.

Ask questions. At regular check-ups:

  • Ask what you might need to know about caring for your child between this visit and the next one. Make sure you know when the next visit should take place.
  • Ask what changes your child might go through before your next visit such as growth, development and feeding stages. Your doctor can provide helpful nutritional and safety advice no matter your child’s age.
  • Ask where else you can get good information on parenting, safety and other related topics, such as Internet sites, books and magazines.
  • Ask if your child’s immunizations are up to date. If they are not, make a plan to get your child caught up. Getting your child immunized is one of the most important ways to prevent illness and keep your child healthy.

It is helpful to come with questions written down so you don’t forget to ask them. Also, make sure you understand the answers your doctor gives you. Don’t be afraid to ask for more information. It’s our job to help explain things in simple language.

Unfortunately, you may need to wait to see your doctor. Ask front office staff if you can call before your visit to find out if things are running on time. Sometimes a little advanced planning can ease frustration and help visits run on time.

Most importantly, enjoy the time with your pediatrician. The two of you are talking about a most precious and wonderful gift – your child.

Michael Gutzeit, MD, is a pediatrician and chief medical officer at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin

Preventing meningitis through immunization

Recently, a teenager was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis. Meningitis is an inflammation or swelling of the linings that cover the brain and spinal cord. Meningitis can occur at any age. The shaded areas in the picture show where the swelling occurs.

Meningitis can be spread through close contact.

This potentially fatal disease can be prevented with a simple shot. Talk to your child’s doctor or nurse to find out how to protect your child from bacterial meningitis as well as other preventable diseases.  Immunizations are an important part of maintaining health and wellness.

An infant with meningitis may have:

  • Fever (body temperature higher than normal)
  • Vomiting
  • Body temperature lower than normal
  • Decreased appetite
  • High-pitched sound to the cry
  • Stiff neck
  • Bulging or tense soft spot on the top of the head
  • Irritability

A child or teenager with meningitis may have:

  • Fever (body temperature higher than normal)
  • Vomiting
  • Decreased appetite
  • Unusual Sleepiness
  • Stiff neck
  • Headache
  • Eyes are overly sensitive to light

For more information, visit www.chw.org/immunize.