The summer is certainly the hottest time of the year. Most people don’t want their children sitting inside all summer, but they need to be aware of the safety tips that can keep their children safe while exercising during the hottest months. Emergency room doctors like Dr. Josyann Abisaab treat children each summer for heat stroke and dehydration; and these situations can easily be avoided with a bit of preparation and knowledge.
If there is a high heat or humidity warning in your area, children should only participate in intense physical activities for 15 minutes or less. Before they participate in prolonged physical activities, children need to be well-hydrated.
During the first hour of exercise, children should then be given plenty of water to drink and they should continue drinking either water or a sports drink every 20 minutes for as long as they are exercising.
During strenuous activities in the heat, children should have on light-colored and lightweight clothing and should only be wearing one layer.
If children start to feel lightheaded, too hot, or fatigued, they should get to a cooler, shaded environment and should drink plenty of water or carbohydrate-electrolyte beverages.
These tips will help to reduce the number of visits to the E.R. where physicians like Josyann Abisaab treat heat-induced sicknesses each summer.
With Spring Break quickly approaching, it’s important to think about safety considerations for the family. The many ERs throughout the country, where doctors like Dr. Josyann Abisaab work, see frequent avoidable injuries and accidents at this time of year.
If you’re heading to the beach, make sure that all babies under six months of age are kept out of the direct sunlight. If the sun can’t be avoided completely, it is acceptable to apply a small amount of sunscreen to the baby. Whenever possible, dress babies in light weight clothing that covers their arms and legs and give them brimmed hats for protection.
People often make the mistake of going to the ER when their condition is not an emergency. Not only is this a waste of time and money, it also causes stress and unnecessary disorder in the emergency room. Doctors such as Dr. Josyann Abisaab recommend that you think objectively about the condition you encounter, before making that decision. Here is a general list of symptoms which may need to be dealt with in an ER:
- Loss of consciousness
- Signs of a stroke such as numbness or sudden weakness in one side of the body such as in the face, an arm or a leg; sudden loss of vision, especially in one eye; loss of speech, trouble talking or understanding; sudden memory loss; unexplained dizziness or sudden falls
- Serious traumatic injury (to the head, for example)
- Instant, severe, inexplicable pain
- Bleeding which does not cease after ten minutes of direct pressure
- Signs of a heart attack such as a feeling of pressure, squeezing, fullness or tightness in the chest for over two minutes; burning or aching under the breast bone; chest pain accompanied by lightheadedness
- Sudden severe/ persistent vomiting
Next month, a conference will take place from November 11-13 in Beirut, Lebanon of The Lebanese Society of Emergency Medicine. This 4th annual conference, where Dr. Josyann Abisaab is on the Scientific and Organizational Committees, will include lectures and workshops about everything from Neuropsych and Trauma to Oncology, Cardiovascular Emergency, and even a Wilderness Medicine Track.
The conference is being co-sponsored by The Global Emergency Medicine Program at Weill Cornell Medical College/Division of Emergency Medicine, where Dr. Josyann Abisaab is a faculty member. In addition to Dr. Abisaab, ten other faculty members from New York Presbyterian Hospital will participate in the conference in Lebanon.
Most people feel more sick during the night than they do during the day. Unfortunately, this often means that your child’s fever spikes, or the cough worsens, during the hours when your doctor is usually not available. This means that more parents end up being seen in the E.R. by doctors like Dr. Josyann Abisaab. Some of the time, these E.R. visits, or frantic middle-of-the-night calls, could be avoided.
If your child has an allergy attack at night, an antihistamine should help to calm the symptoms. Keep one on hand, and ask your doctor for a recommendation about which one to have available. If your child has asthma, make sure to have a bronchodilator, a peak flow meter to watch your child’s breathing and preventative medicines like steroid medications around.
Take preventative steps as well to keep your child’s room allergy and asthma free. Close the child’s windows, ban animals from the room, put all bedding into an allergy-proof cover, install hardwood flooring and use HEPA filters in your vacuum.
A new study published recently in Pediatrics highlights that more children and teenagers are suffering traumatic brain injuries while playing basketball. Taking a ten year range from 1997 to 2007, researchers looked at visits to emergency rooms like the one where Dr. Josyann Abisaab works. They found that, for people under the age of 20 treated for basketball related injuries, the number of traumatic brain injuries had shot up by 70%.
Overall, the traumatic brain injury proportions doubled for boys and tripled for girls during this time, said senior study author Dr. Laura B. McKenzie.
Certainly, doctors like Josyann Abisaab, researchers and centers like the Brain Trauma Foundation encourage coaches, athletes and parents to understand what causes traumatic brain injuries and to recognize the signs of a possible concussion.
In a fascinating new study by Dr. Janice Bell and others from the University of Washington, they found that babies and children up until age 4 who didn’t sleep enough at night were more likely to be obese five years later than were their better-rested peers. Those children who slept for less than 10 hours a night were 80% more likely to be obese five years later.
Bell believes that this is actually the first large, nationally representative study that links lack of sleep with childhood obesity. Their study, in addition, did not find any differences by ethnicity or social status, as have other similar studies in the past.
Pediatrician Dr. Jennifer Shu said, in response to the study results, that it “gives parents one more reason to prioritize healthy sleeping habits in their young children’s lives.”
Certainly, with obesity on the rise in America and E.R. doctors like Dr. Josyann Abisaab seeing many complications from obesity, this study may be a helpful first step.
Asthma, according to The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, affects nearly 34 million Americans. Each year, over 200,000 emergency room visits are due to allergy attacks, as are 300 deaths. Serious asthma attacks may warrant a visit to the emergency room where doctors like Dr. Josyann Abisaab will assess the situation and treat the patient accordingly.
Once in the emergency room, there are a number of treatment techniques that doctors may use. These include:
- A nebulizer machine with bronchodilators. These work to relax muscles around the bronchial tissue to help with better breathing.
- Iptratropium combined with nebulized albuterol is often used for acute asthma attacks in the E.R. This helps to stop spasms of the muscles surrounding lung tissue.
- An intravenous injection of corticosteroids may be given to reduce the inflammatory processes.
- In severe situations, patients may be treated with an injection of adrenergic medications including epinephrine or terbutaline.
Oxygen may be administered through a breathing mask and a pulse oxymeter will most likely be placed on a finger or earlobe to evaluate blood oxygen concentration levels. While the administration of oxygen won’t stop the attack, it will provide more oxygen to the blood and may help to prevent death.
Lyme disease is an infection which is often misunderstood by parents and misidentified by the health community. One of the reasons for the confusion is that Lyme disease manifests in many different ways in the body. Another reason is that it varies so widely from state to state.
The most classic symptom of Lyme disease, and the one that most doctors like Dr. Josyann Abisaab, will ask you about is a rash. The circular rash occurs at the site of the tick bite approximately 7-14 days after the initial bite. The rash actually resembles a bulls-eye. Other symptoms are commonly flu-like symptoms including fever, muscle aches, chills, headache, fatigue and joint pains.
Unfortunately, when Lyme disease goes untreated, it can cause many problems including continued fever and fatigue, swollen glands, pink eye, aseptic meningitis, Bell’s palsy, arthritis and concentration problems.
If you live in an area where Lyme disease is more common, like in the Northeastern area of the United States, and you are exhibiting these types of symptoms, you should seek attention from a medical professional.
Summer is a time when children have more time off and more time to explore and to enjoy. At the same time, emergency room doctors like Josyann Abisaab see a great deal of avoidable injuries in the summer. Keep these tips in mind as you enjoy your summer with your children.
Drowning is one of the leading causes of accidental death among young children. Children shouldn’t be left unattended while in a bath, pool, lake or other body of water and home swimming pools should be protected and securely locked.
Since people drive more during the summer, there is an increased rate of car accidents. Make sure that children are always buckled and that they are always in the age-appropriate car seats while traveling. Heat and dehydration also cause a great deal of E.R. visits. Never leave a child in the car and keep kids well hydrated during the summer.
Did you know that vehicle crashes are the number one cause of unintentional injury-related deaths for children under 14? Most of these accidents actually occur close to home, often when parents don’t bother to buckle a child since they are only driving a short distance.
ER doctors such as Josyann Abisaab will advise that you absolutely never turn on the engine to the car until everyone is buckled in – no matter how short the trip will be. In addition, air bags can kill and seriously injure children and children under 12 should always ride in the back. This is particularly true if the car has a passenger-side air bag.
Similarly, it’s essential to know which car seats to use for your children, and to use them correctly. Children who are under one and weigh less than 20 pounds need to be in rear-facing seats. The seat can be turned around when the baby is one and weighs between 20 and 40 pounds. Once your child reaches 40 pounds, he can be in a booster seat, and should remain so until he is approximately 80 pounds.
Certainly, emergency room doctors like Dr. Josyann Abisaab see children who have swallowed serious choking hazards. As a parent, it is very important to child-proof the house and to check each room for choking dangers. Make sure, when you purchase toys, that you only purchase items that are age-appropriate.
Obviously, if you have older children, this poses a problem. Keep toys with small parts far out of reach of small children and teach your older children about the dangers that their toys can pose to their small siblings.
One interesting idea is to purchase a parts tester which you can get at most toy stores for only a few dollars. These will test objects for you to see if they are small enough to pose a choking hazard.
When you enter a room, look around for choking hazards. Make sure you know CPR and that any caregivers that you hire or take your children to know CPR as well.
One of the main reasons that children end up in the E.R. is because of falls. The more precautions you take in the home, the less likely it will be that you’ll experience a dangerous fall. For very small children, this means never leaving a child unattended on the bed, sofa or changing table.
Advice on Small Children & Falls with Josyann Abisaab
Once your child is between 6 and 12 months old, make sure that all furniture is away from windows so that they can’t climb up on the furniture and fall out of the window. Put window guardrails on all second-story windows and above. Obviously, one of the most tragic things that emergency room doctors like Josyann Abisaab see is children who have fallen from windows in the home. Make sure to put safety gates at the top and bottom of each staircase.
Older Children & Falls Advice with Josyann Abisaab
Finally, for slightly older children, make sure to keep the stairways clear so that no one trips over toys, clothing and other items. Also place rubber pads under any loose rugs so that they don’t slide across the floor and cause accidents.
Children’s Health Care: Is it an Emergency?
Certainly, there are times when a child gets hurt badly enough that you know they need to go to the emergency rooms. There are other situations, however, that aren’t as clear cut. During these times, you have five main options.
You can handle the problem at home. Minor illnesses and cuts, some rashes, minor coughs, colds, bruises and the like can all be handed with over the counter treatments and love. If you aren’t sure what your child needs, you can always call your primary care physician. The doctor or nurse can help you to figure out what steps need to be taken.
You can always visit an urgent care center if you have a non-emergency at night or on the weekends. You can usually have X-rays taken, have stitches done, and have care for minor injuries that require medical attention but that aren’t life threatening.
The last two actions are more extreme and they include visiting the ER where emergency room physicians like Josyann Abisaab will care for you, or calling 911. Many serious conditions require a visit to the emergency room including head trauma, dehydration, meningitis, breathing issues and more. Sometimes, you may feel that you need the help immediately and that you’ll need the help on the way to the hospital. In this situation, it’s best to call 911 and to get the care that you need immediately.
Chest Pains: A Leading Cause of Er Visits
According to AHRQ News and Numbers which is based on data in Emergency Department Visits for Adults in Community Hospitals from Selected States, 2005, chest pains are one of the leading reason that people visit the emergency room. Chest pains that did not appear to be a heart attack upon examination accounted for 1.6 million visits in 23 states in 2005.
The top four reasons to visit the emergency room, as reported by this study were: sprains and strains (2.4 million visits), bruises and superficial injuries (2 million), abdominal pain (1.7 million), and then chest pains at 1.6 million. In less than 5% of the cases, the patient was actually admitted to the hospital.
Five additional conditions that were seen a great deal by the emergency room were: back problems (1.4 million), leg and arm open wounds (1.3 million), headaches (1.2 million), nose and throat infections (1.1 million), and skin infections/urinary tract infections (1 million).