Sunrise Children's Hospital
For more than three decades, Sunrise Children’s Hospital has been Nevada’s largest, most comprehensive children’s hospital.

A Look at Neutropenia

Posted on 3/16/2012

White Blood Cells

White blood cells, which are produced in the bone marrow, are essential in fighting disease and foreign substances that invade the body. Neutropenia, also called agranulocytosis, is a rare condition in which white blood cells are not produced by the bone marrow in adequate amounts or they are destroyed at an abnormally high rate. As a result of this condition, the levels of white blood cells circulating through the body are too low, increasing a child’s likelihood for infection. 

Neutropenia can be the result of medications or treatments, such as chemotherapy, or inherited and present at birth. Tumors, infections, aplastic anemia, autoimmune diseases, or fibrosis of the bone marrow can also cause this condition. Your child may be at risk for developing neutropenia if he or she:

  • Is taking certain medications
  • Is exposed to certain chemicals or radiation
  • Has a family history of certain genetic conditions
  • Is suffering from any autoimmune disorders
  • Has an enlarged spleen
  • Has a vitamin B-12 or folate deficiency
  • Has leukemia or myelodysplastic syndromes

If your child experiences the symptoms associated with neutropenia, consider seeking the advice of his or her pediatrician. The signs of this condition can be caused by many different illnesses, so do not immediately assume that neutropenia is the culprit. The symptoms may include bacterial pneumonia; bleeding gums; low white blood cell count; sudden fever, jaundice, chills, or sore throat; or infection.

Treatment for this condition depends on many different factors. With the help of an experienced pediatric specialist, you can decide the best treatment plan for your child. Treatments include transfusion of white blood cells, antibiotic treatment, white blood cell-stimulating factors, or the removal of potential causative agents (toxin or medication).

If your child must undergo a white blood cell-reducing therapy, such as chemotherapy, consult with your pediatrician to learn about possible preventive measures that you can take to help avoid this condition. If you have any further questions, contact the healthcare team of Sunrise Children’s Hospital at (702) 731-5437.

Preparing for Surgery at Sunrise Children's Hospital

Posted on 3/15/2012

Has your child recently been scheduled for surgery at Sunrise Children’s Hospital? Although surgery can be stressful and frightening for your child and yourself, learning as much as you can about what to do before, during, and after the procedure can help to alleviate these negative emotions. In this video, you can view a step-by-step description of your child’s surgery day and what you and your child are likely to experience.

If you have any other questions regarding your child’s surgery day, do not hesitate to call the staff of Sunrise Children’s Hospital at (702) 731-5437. You can also receive assistance and support through our Child Life Department.

Taking Care of Your Child's Ears

Posted on 3/12/2012

Children's Ear Health

From hearing to balance, your child’s ears are essential in helping him or her interact safely with the environment. Although ears do not typically require too much cleaning and attention (just to be washed regularly), there are a few things that every parent and child should know to keep them healthy. Read on to learn more about taking good care of your child’s ears.

  • Regular cleaning:
    While many people may think of earwax as an unnecessary and even gross product of the ear, this substance actually serves an important purpose. It is secreted to lubricate, clean, and protect the skin of the ear canal. As it is produced and makes its way to the opening of the canal, you can gently clean it out of your child’s ear with a damp washcloth. Cotton-tipped swabs are not recommended for cleaning, as they can cause earwax to become impacted in the ear canal, which can result in impaired hearing.  
  • For pierced ears:
    If your child has recently had her ears pierced, be sure to allow the piercings to fully heal before the earrings are removed. As it is healing, use a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol to clean the piercing thoroughly while the earring is still in place to help prevent infection. 
  • While in the pool:
    Many children can suffer from a condition called swimmer’s ear after swimming in a pool for a certain period of time. To prevent this painful infection, dry your child’s ears thoroughly after each swim. A few drops of rubbing alcohol may help to dry out any remaining moisture left in the ear canal.
  • In hot and cold weather:
    Make sure that you apply sunscreen onto your child’s ears (and yours too!) before any prolonged sun exposure to avoid sunburn. When it is cold outside, keep his or her ears covered and warm with a hat or headband to avoid frostbite.

If your child experiences pain or other symptoms associated with his or her ears, consider seeking treatment at Sunrise Children’s Hospital of Las Vegas. Contact our friendly staff at (702) 731-5437 to schedule a consultation or to learn more about our services.

Proper Nutrition for Your Child

Posted on 3/6/2012

Children's Nutrition

Instilling proper eating habits while your child is young will not only help to keep your child healthy as he or she grows, but will also translate into a much healthier future as an adult. Unfortunately, today’s children are surrounded by unhealthy fast-food and highly processed meal choices. Help your child to make good choices and stay healthy by learning a little bit more about proper nutrition from the tips below:

  • Make a variety of healthy food options available
    Although your child may have a group of favorite foods, it is important to be sure that they partake in many different types of foods. Eating a variety of healthy, nutrient-rich foods will ensure that your child gets the necessary nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that he or she needs.
  • Avoid sugary soft drinks and juices
    When your child is thirsty, his or her body is craving a glass of refreshing, cold water. Encourage your child to choose water (or milk, for the calcium) most often instead of sugary fruit juices, soft drinks, juice cocktails, or sweetened teas.
  • Always remember a healthy breakfast
    Making sure that your child gets a nutritious breakfast each morning will allow him or her to participate in learning and other activities with optimal focus and energy.
  • Be a good role model for healthy eating
    Your child looks up to you as a role model—make sure that you are making healthy choices, too. Eating a balanced and nutritious diet while also staying physically active will not only help you set a good example for your child, but will also keep you looking and feeling great.

If you would like to learn more about proper nutrition for your child, contact the healthcare professionals of Sunrise Children’s Hospital. Our staff offers comprehensive pediatric care services to the community of Las Vegas, Nevada. Call us today at (702) 731-5437—we are happy to answer your questions.

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy in Children

Posted on 2/29/2012

Heart Care

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a form of heart muscle disease that occurs due to genetic problems with the structure of the heart muscle. The gene that leads to this condition can be inherited or occurs from changes in a child’s genome. The abnormal structure of the heart muscle causes it to become thick, which makes it more difficult to pump blood to the rest of the body efficiently. This extra strain can lead to the uneven development of the heart muscle and blockages of blood flow through the heart—it can even lead to fatal abnormal arrhythmias.

HCM in children often leads to chest pain, dizziness, light-headedness, and fainting, especially during physical activity. If your doctor suspects that your child may be suffering from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, he or she may suggest a few diagnostic tests to evaluate your child’s heart function. These tests may include a chest x-ray, blood tests, a stress test to see how your child’s heart responds to exercise, the attachment of a heart catheter, or an echocardiography.

Although this condition is not completely curable, it can be managed by controlling symptoms and working to prevent complications associated with the condition. Certain medications may be indicated to help remove excess fluid from the body, easing the strain on the heart muscle. A child with an arrhythmia (abnormal heart beat) may need to take anti-arrhythmic and blood-thinning medicine to prevent the formation of blood clots. In cases when blood flow is blocked, surgery may be necessary to remove the thickened portion of the heart muscle or to repair a damaged heart valve.

Your child may be at risk for HCM if he or she has a closely related family member, such as a parent, sibling, or grandparent, who also has the disease. To find an experienced and compassionate pediatric specialist in the greater Las Vegas area, contact the staff of Sunrise Children’s Hospital by calling (702) 731-5437 today. Our facility offers one of the largest pediatric cardiac care programs in the Southwest, providing healthcare to children throughout the region.

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