Sunday, October 30, 2016

Is Bipolar Disorder in Children and Adolescents Possible

Is Bipolar Disorder in Children and Adolescents Possible?

“It runs in the family…”

With the above stated fact, it goes to show that children and adolescents can acquire bipolar disorder if their parents or someone within the family is also suffering from the disease. More likely, children may adopt the illness but symptoms will show only when they have reached their adolescent stage.

Although, compared to adults who have the disorder and symptoms is more defined, diagnosing based on the evident manifestations through the behavior of children and adolescents are hastened and can be experienced almost every day. Mood swings that include mania and depression can occur multiple times a day.

bipolar disorder in children


Children who experiences mania are expected to be irritable and have destructive tantrums that is caused by being joyful or elated. Symptoms of mixed episodes are common in adolescents or youths having the disorder. Older adolescents who have developed the illness have symptoms and episodes that are more notable in adults and are considered more classical.

Diagnosing bipolar disorder in children and adolescents is harder than with adults. Apart from mood swings that are obvious because of the unstable swinging of emotions caused by terms of growing up, being hyper and depressed is also considered normal and is within the range of children and adolescent behavior.

Furthermore, there are some symptoms that can also be associated with other disorders like the aggressiveness and irritability of a child can also be associated with ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, oppositional defiant disorder and other mental disorders. Drug abuse is also one factor that may cause such symptoms which are not totally connected with the illness.

According to researches, the disorder may have the possibility to begin during childhood or teenage years but the exact diagnosis of the diseases can be proven upon adulthood. This mental illness can affect anyone most especially if that person is exposed to contributing risk factors.

Studies also said that when both parents manifest the illness, it has a greater chance for their children to have the disorder. Alcohol and drug abuse through the history of the family can also be considered as a contributing factor.

Symptoms in children and adolescents are almost the same with adults but some may differ and may be lighter.

Manic episodes may include the following:

• Unrealistic increase in self-esteem (a child perceiving that he is Superman)

• Easily distracted

• Repeated increased risk-taking attitude that may be associated with sexual promiscuity, alcohol and drug abuse, etc.

• Ability to talk in a fast-paced manner and at the same time talking too much

• Increased energy and has the ability to go on for days without the appropriate amount of sleep

Depressive episodes include the following:

• Persistent emotional disturbance like frequent outburst of emotions

• Always in a depressed mood with irritability

• Lack of enjoyment in usual activities

• Poor concentration, boredom, fatigue and low energy level

• Abrupt change in sleeping and eating patterns

• Frequently complains about physical pains

Teenagers having bipolar disorder may have the greatest possibility to be treated compared to adults already manifesting the illness. Some of the major treatment modalities are medications that can used to stabilize the person’s mood swings, educating the family and friends, and preventing depression. In order to treat the illness effectively, medical authorities must diagnose the disorder correctly.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Urinary Tract Infection in Children

Urinary tract infection in children makes urinating painful. 

The infected children thinks twice before going to the bathroom and they always get a feeling to go to the bathroom. The urine also smells bad because of the infection. Bacteria are responsible for infecting the urinary track.

Urinary Tract Infection in Children



The urinary track consists of certain parts such as two kidneys, bladder, two ureters and a urethra. The kidney does the major job of cleaning waste from the blood. The waste material is urine which is passed to the bladder through the ureters. The shape of the bladder is very similar to a deflated balloon. When the bladder gets filled two hundred and thirty seven milliliters of urine, the brain sends signals to go to the bathroom. When the person gets ready to pass, the muscles located at the end of the bladder relax which lets the urine rush through the urethra, from the bladder, and out of the body.

When children face any of the symptoms of urinary track information, they should talk about it to their parents as the symptoms are visible to the patient more than to others. Parents can observe the urinating frequency of the children. The child feels terrible pain while peeing. He/she is able to pass only small quantity at a time. He/she also gets up several times during the night to go to the bathroom. There is a strange sensation in the lower part of the belly. Blood can also pass along with the urine. Also the urine isn’t a clear solution and is cloudy. The urine smells badly after passing. These are all the symptoms of bladder infection. The child can also feel feverish along with chills. Pain can be experienced in the back or the belly. When the pain is right below the ribs, it is a clear sign of kidney infection. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, the child should be taken to the doctor.

The doctor will take urine sample for testing. The urine is taken in a plastic cup, into which the child pees. Before passing, the child must wipe the area with special wipes, so that the germs from the body do not confuse with the germs in the urine. Germs in the urine are an indication of infection. Although there are million of germs residing on the exterior of the body, they are completely harmless. Only a few of them actually infect the body. A stick is dipped in the urine sample. The stick is special, that is it is a specially treated paper which changes color upon determination of an infection. Otherwise, the urine sample can also be sent to the laboratory. Incase of a bladder infection, the doctor will prescribe medicine that kills the bacteria.

The child will begin to feel good just few days after starting to consume the medicine. But he/she must stay away from food and liquid which has caffeine in it as it can elevate the bladder irritation and the patient will feel very uncomfortable. After the test, if kidney infection is detected, the child will be hospitalized for few days. He/she will be given a germ fighting medicine which will be administered by a small plastic tube which will be introduced in a vein.

After the child recovers from a urinary tract infection, he/she should try best to avoid such incidents in the future. The most important thing is to maintain cleanliness. The private parts should be washed everyday. It is best to take a shower or a bath daily. The child can use wipes to clean every time after passing urine. Children should never hold the urine. When they feel the urge, they should rush to the bathroom immediately. Fluids intake must be increased. Best fluids are water and cranberry juice. Water washes the bacteria out of the body and cranberry juice prevents another bacterial attack. Bubble baths aren’t good as it can irritate the urethra. Cotton underwear will absorb the sweat and body moisture, which will prevent bacterial growth. Underpants must be changed everyday.


Warts in Kids

Nearly fifty percent of children acquire warts at some time or the other. Warts, in the real sense are benign tumors which develop when keratinocytes, a kind of skin cell, is infected by the wart virus. There are many types of warts, the most common being rough bumps which appear on fingers and hands.

warts in kids



Others are flat warts, genital warts, plantar warts, and molluscum contagiosum. The difference is based on the types, location, and painfulness of the wart. Common warts appear on fingers and hands and usually are painless. Plantar warts appear on the soles and are sometimes painful. Periungal warts show up around the finger and toe nail. Warts which appear on the face are flat warts.

The symptoms of the common warts are that the skin develops an irregular surface and becomes rough. A dome starts to appear after a day after infection. A popular myth is that warts have roots, but they don’t. They grow on the epidermis, which is the top most layer of the skin. The black portion is because of broken veins and clotted blood.

Warts come and go at various stages of life like childhood and teenage years. They usually go away by themselves. But some can be very painful, can spread quickly and some of them wont go away for many years. Such kind of warts should definitely be treated. The most common treatment among the pediatricians is cryotherapy. They will freeze the warts using liquid nitrogen. Cantharidin can also be applied, which is a painless treatment but can result in painful blisters at the end of the day. The minus point is that these treatments sometimes cause blistering and some warts won’t come off in one sitting. If the warts won’t still budge they are further treated with strong salicylic acid, intralesional immune-therapy, bleomycin, or a pulsed dye laser.  Aldara can also be used in worst cases. Because of some treatments the warts grow to the end of the blister, which results in a bigger wart and some might even result in a scar.

Besides other common wart treatments, the most well-known home remedy is duct tape. The affected area is covered with duct tape for about six days. If within that time period, the tape peels off, it should be reapplied. After the sixth day, the duct tape should be removed and the wart should be soaked in water and a pumice stone or emery board should be used to scrap the top skin of the wart. After this, the duct tape should be reapplied again within twenty four hours and the same procedure should be repeated until the whole wart disappears. This procedure takes at least two months to get rid of the wart completely. Some kids hesitate to put duct tape on parts which are visible, like fingers and legs. They can be encouraged by making them wear colored duct tape, other than grey. Many home wart freezing and removal kits are also available in the market whose help can be taken.  

Warts spread by direct contact with the wart or any material which the infected person has used like a used towel which has been contaminated. It is contagious and hence it is recommended to stay away from it at the very sight of it. All the cuts, rashes and bites should be cleaned regularly and should be kept covered. Another measure for prevention is wearing closed shoes in public places.


Tonsils and Tonsillitis in Children

Tonsils are two tissue balls located at the back of the throat. They play a vital role and are an important part of the body’s infection fighting mechanism by helping to fight germs and diseases. Tonsils deal with the germs before they reach mouth, throat, or sinuses. When these infection fighters are infected by viruses or bacteria, the condition is known as tonsillitis.


tonsillitis in children


The symptoms of tonsillitis are: as the time passes, eating, drinking and swallowing things become difficult. The pain can be accompanied with fever, earache and headache. The tonsils can be seen too. Just open the mouth wide open and the two masses of tissues at the either side of the throat are tonsils. They are usually dark pink in color, but when they get infected they turn red. A white or yellow coating can also be formed on the tonsils. There is an obvious change in voice as it becomes hoarser. The infected child can also develop bad breath. The infected kid can also get abdominal pain and can throw up what he eats. Tonsillitis is caused by both bacterial infection and viral infection. Bacterium known as streptococci causes infections which require special treatment.

When the child gets tonsillitis, the parent should give lots of fluids to drink. Smooth food should be consumed to ease the pain caused by swallowing coarse, crunchy, and hard food. Food like soups, ice creams, applesauce, and gelatin are a good option. Spicy food should also be avoided. A humidifier or cool mist vaporizer can be placed in the child’s room as that will make breathing more easily. The kid must be given maximum rest and complete bed rest for at least two days is recommended. The bacteria and viruses cause tonsillitis to spread by sneezing, coughing or touching. The infected child must cover his/her mouth while coughing and sneezing. A disposable tissue can be used instead of a towel or handkerchief. Things such as utensils, towel, clothing, etc. of the sick kid should be separated so that the rest of the family doesn’t get affected.

The doctor inspects the tonsils using a wooden stick known as tongue depressor, which will lower the tongue, so that the doctor can have a good look at the tonsils. After that the doctor checks the ears and nose. Heartbeat will be checked. If the doctor suspects strep, he/she will take a sample of saliva from the back of the throat using a long cotton swab, which can gag up the child a bit. After a day or two the results are received. Some doctors conduct a similar test known as rapid strep test, which give results within few minutes. Antibiotics are given when the test results come positive for strep. The bacteria get killed only when the course is completed and the correct dosage is taken at correct time.

If virus is the cause of infection, there is no medicine for it and instead the body is capable of fighting the virus on its own. When the tonsils infection becomes frequent and the child finds it difficult to breath because of tonsillitis, it is recommended to get the tonsils removed. But it is the last resort after all other treatments do not do the trick, because tonsils are very important to the body’s immune system.

The tonsils are taken out by surgery known as tonsillectomy. After the surgery, the child won’t suffer from sore throat and breathing problems anymore. The surgery won’t even leave any scars. A day before the surgery, the child cannot eat or drink, to keep the child from throwing up during the operation. The operation is very short and last for only twenty minutes. Because of the anesthesia, the child won’t feel a thing during the operation. And during the surgery, the tonsils are removed using an electric cautery, which is a burning tool, or a cutting tool. After the surgery, the child is given lots of fluids and after a day soft foods can also be given. Usually it takes about two weeks to completely recover from the surgery and the child can return back to normal activities.

Swimmer’s Ear in Children

Swimmer’s ear in children is bacterial growth infection inside the canal of the ear. It is also known as Otitis Externa. 

It differs a lot from ear infections which are dealt with on a regular basis, which is contracted at times when the child catches a cold. The common ear infection is known as Otitis Media, in which the middle of the ear is infected. Incase of swimmer’s ear, the ear canal which leads towards the ear drum is infected by bacteria. The first symptom is that when the finger is stuck inside the ear canal, it will hurt a lot. In normal cases, it won’t hurt at all.


Swimmer’s Ear in Children


The skin within that are is very delicate and hence, is protected by nature by a thin earwax coating. Usually, water can easily glide inside and then outside the ear without any problem. But when the water cleans some or all of the earwax and if some of the water is retained inside, the bacteria will take advantage of this situation. Chemicals in the water aggravate the situation by increasing the irritation. It starts growing within the soft and warm ear canal and can cause swelling and redness. A slight itchiness also accompanies it. But the child must be instructed to not to scratch, otherwise there is a greater chance of the situation becoming worse. If there is no itchiness, obviously there will be pain, which is the initial symptom. The ear should not be bumped or touched even from the exterior, as that will cause intense pain. Hearing can become difficult due to the bacterial infection as that will swell the ear canal and block the passage.

The pain and itchiness can only be gotten rid off by fighting the infection and killing the grown bacteria. In usual cases, ear drops are prescribed by the doctor. These ear drops have antibiotics which are meant to kill the bacteria. The dosage and number of days to use the ear drops as told by the doctor should be strictly followed. If the doses are missed there is a possibility of bacterial re-growth. A wick is also introduced inside the ear, sometimes. This wick actually is small piece of sponge with absorbed lotion. The wick is left inside then. This procedure is used when the doctor thinks it is important to apply medicine directly to the part of the ear canal which is infected. If the pain is unbearable by the child, parents can give pain killers, but only after taking suggestion from the doctor. Once the antibiotics begin working, pain killers can be stopped.

Swimmer’s ear cannot be just attained cause of water entering the ear at the time of taking baths or showers. Children, who have joined the summer swimming camp, can complain of this problem. After the swimmer’s ear is treated, the child shouldn’t swim immediately. Doctor, usually, advices them to stay away from water for a week or two. The time period may sound very long, but it keeps the pain away for a long time. Special ear drops are available over the counter which can be put inside the child’s ear after swimming is over. This will dry up any water inside the ear, if any. Swimmer’s ear can also be caused when inquisitive kids try to stuff things inside the ear and thus damaging it. Bacteria get a chance of developing on the scratched area. In this case, only parent’s supervision will do the trick.

Stomach Flu in Children

Stomach flu in children or gastroenteritis is a kind of infection in the digestive system, especially the stomach and intestines. 

Causes for this condition are parasite, bacteria, or virus infection spread through contaminated food and fluids. It can also be caused by certain toxins present in some plants & seafood, usage of powerful laxatives in order to cure constipation or because of intake of poisonous heavy metal or food. The problem starts with stomach upset and cramps. The child shows disinterest in eating and feels week.  Symptoms of stomach flu are diarrhea and vomiting, which take nearly five days to go away. Sometimes, even fever can accompany along with dehydration.

stomach flu in children


The child must be given fluids regularly as this will suppress other symptoms from emerging because of loss of water from the body.  Loss of water and salt from the body is the biggest risk in stomach flu. Dehydration can not only worsen the condition, but can threaten the life of the child, if it isn’t taken care of in the early stages. Since there is loss of salts along with the loss of water from the body, plain water won’t do much. Oral rehydration solutions which are available at the local grocery or drug store, is a good idea because it has the correct combination of salts, sugar and water which can hydrate the body. These fluids come in different flavor, so that kids can have their favorite flavor and is easy to consume. The solution shouldn’t be added with anything else such as sugar or water.

If a child is vomiting, solution can be administered to him using a teaspoon every two minutes. The quantity can be increased gradually. If the vomiting is more frequent, the child can be made to suck ice chips in order to supply constant fluid to the body. The solution should be given till diarrhea comes to a halt, but it is not advisable to continue it for more than twenty four hours. Some of the fluids such as soft drinks, sports drink, apple juice, tea, or chicken broth contain wrong amounts of salt, sugar & water and can make matter worse. Besides fluids, the parent shouldn’t give any type of medicine without consulting a pediatrician. Fried, spicy and sugary foods aren’t good in this condition. If the child isn’t receiving sufficient amount of fluids he/she will show signs such as sunken eyes, dry mouth, intense thirst, unusual sleep patterns, and decrease in urine.

The more the bed rest taken by the child the better it is. The child should take complete bed rest for at least twenty four hours or till the diarrhea and vomiting stops. If the child has fever, the temperature should be checked and noted in a log, every four hours. If the temperature is very high and doesn’t stop climbing, the doctor should be contacted immediately. The person who is preparing and serving food to the child should wash his or her hands very carefully before doing so. Also, if the diarrhea and vomiting doesn’t stop after twenty four hours, it is a must to get a doctor’s appointment. The child should be rushed into emergency if the vomiting contains blood or green color substance.

The doctor, after doing stool and blood test, prescribes antibiotics if infection is suspected. Along with it, anti nausea medicines are also given to stop the throwing up and control fluid loss. If there is considerable loss of fluids from the child’s body, the child might be admitted into the hospital and will be administered with fluids such as glucose or IV, through a tube connected to the child’s veins. If the child has fever, temperature is checked and the doctor would ask about information about the temperature pattern, for which the parent should be ready.  If the illness is stretched for days, a log about the information about the daily weight should also be given to the doctor. Sometimes, the blood oxygen levels would also have to be checked with the help of a pulse oximeter.


Sinus and Sinus Attack in Children

Sinus might seem like common cold at first. The child coughs, sneezes and gets a red nose, like in cold. But the difference is that sinus attack last longer than common cold. Sinuses are spaces in the bones of the face and the head which are filled with air. They are exactly located on both sides of the nose, behind the nasal cavity, within the forehead, and at the back & in between the eyes. Sinuses grow in pairs and there are four pairs of them. Sinuses begin to develop in the mother womb and grow till twenty years of age. As children have an incompletely developed immune system, they catch cold infection more frequently.

sinus attak in children


The actual purposes of the sinuses are not known, but scientists say that they make the head lightweight as these air pockets are filled with light air. If these air pockets were to be replaced with something solid, the head will become heavier. The sinuses also provide tone and depth to the voice. That is the reason why the voice sounds funny when a person catches a cold or gets a sinus attack. The sinuses are covered with a thin and moist tissue layer known as a mucous membrane. These membranes are responsible for adding moisture to the air breathed in. They also produce mucus, a sticky liquid filled in the nose, also called snot. This sticky liquid catches germs and dust, which are carried by the air, before they enter the body. The mucus membranes are covered with cilia or microscopic hair. These cilia move to and fro to encourage the flow of the mucus out of the nose and back inside. When the sinuses are infected, the membranes produce more mucus and become swollen and irritated.

When a person catches cold, the virus harms the cilia and the mucus doesn’t get swept back in. This is how a runny nose is developed. The mucus lining swells within the nose. This narrows or completely blocks the minute opening of the sinus into nose. Because of this, the stickier and thicker mucus produced get trapped in the sinuses. This stagnant mucus becomes the breeding ground for virus, bacteria and fungi. If the common cold stretches for over two weeks, the sinusitis condition develops. This condition is sinus infection. Acute sinusitis is sinusitis stretching over two weeks or so. But when it crosses three months, it is called chronic sinusitis. The child can get mild fever along with acute sinusitis. There is no fever associated with chronic sinusitis and the symptoms are less intense.  The symptoms of sinusitis or sinus attacks are mild fever, bad breath, continuous nasal discharge, puffy eyes, and daytime cough. Some children also experience low energy, crankiness, headache and pain behind the forehead, cheeks and eyes.

When the doctor is approached for help, he/she will check throat, nose and ears for infection. The sinuses are also checked. The doctor will press or tap on the cheeks and forehead. If bacteria are responsible for causing the infection, the child will be given antibiotics to kill the bacteria. The antibiotics will show their effect within few days itself. A nasal spray or decongestant can also be used to treat blocked and runny nose. If it is chronic sinusitis, the antibiotics need to be taken for a longer time period, like for about a few weeks, in order to kill the bacteria completely. The child shouldn’t stop the course of medicine if he/she isn’t seeing any improvement in the condition. The doctor should be contacted for further instructions. In this case, a surgery is an alternative. The doctor will ask the child to get a CT scan of the sinuses.

The best thing about sinusitis is that it isn’t contagious. So if a kid is infected with it, he/she can still go to school and have fun with the rest of the kids. But kids who have sinus problem should stay away from environmental pollutants and allergies, which can trigger the condition again in them.