• Which health conditions are more common in children with autism?

    If your child is diagnosed with autism, it’s not surprising that your initial focus is working with his or her pediatrician to learn everything you can about managing this disorder. One thing that often gets overlooked is the fact that autism also increases the risk of other health conditions in kids . By knowing the conditions that your child has a greater risk of developing, you can be vigilant about spotting the symptoms and reporting them to his or her pediatrician as soon as possible. Although your pediatrician is the best source of information about your child’s specific health risks, here are some of the conditions that occur more frequently in kids with autism.

    Gastrointestinal disorders
    Gastrointestinal—or GI—disorders are among the most common co-occurring conditions with autism. Kids who have autism are more likely than other kids to suffer from a range of GI symptoms, including:

    • Chronic constipation
    • Diarrhea
    • IBS
    • GERD

    As with most conditions, researchers are not sure why there is an increased risk of GI disorders with autism. Your pediatrician can recommend many different treatment options, depending on the nature of your child’s symptoms. The discomfort of GI disorders can impact your child’s behavior, so finding effective treatments is important.

    Sleep disorders
    Autism is closely linked with disrupted sleep, and most kids with autism will experience problems with sleeping at least sporadically. For some kids, sleep problems become chronic, leading to ongoing problems with falling and staying asleep. Disrupted sleep can cause a range of symptoms for kids with autism, including:

    • Daytime drowsiness
    • Hyperactivity
    • Inattentiveness

    Sleep disorders in kids with autism can also affect the rest of the family’s sleep. Your pediatrician will try to determine if there are underlying causes for your child’s disrupted sleep, such as medication side effects, and recommend bedtime strategies that can help.

    Seizure disorders
    There is a close link between seizure disorders and autism. Kids with autism have a dramatically increased risk of developing a seizure disorder, while kids who have seizure disorders are more likely to be diagnosed with autism.

    Treating seizure disorders is important for the overall wellness of kids with autism. Your pediatrician may recommend medications and dietary changes.

    Finding out that your child has autism can be overwhelming, but the Las Vegas pediatricians at Sunrise Children’s Hospital are here to help you every step of the way. Call our children’s hospital at (702) 233-5437.

  • Provide your kids the tools they need to say no to alcohol

    Parents don’t like to think about their kids experimenting with alcohol, but the truth is that by the time kids reach high school, most of them will. Talking to your kids early, often, and truthfully about alcohol is the best way to protect them from the potentially dangerous consequences of drinking and to give them the tools they need to make smart decisions. If you are concerned that your child is abusing alcohol, talk to his or her pediatrician about steps you can take. This advice will help you get the conversation about alcohol started with your kids in a way that it will sink in.

    Be a good example
    Your kids watch everything you do closely, so set a good example by the way you use alcohol. Don’t reach for a drink at every social occasion, so kids understand that drinking isn’t necessary to have fun.

    Living a healthy lifestyle that involves physical activity, healthy eating, and not drinking to excess will teach your kids that these are normal, smart decisions that you make and expect them to make, too.

    Don’t wait to bring it up
    It’s never too early to start talking about alcohol in an age-appropriate way. For young children, talking about how alcohol can make you feel sick can be a good lesson, while slightly older kids might be interested in hearing about the ways that alcohol affects the body.

    When kids reach middle school and high school, they are likely to encounter kids who are experimenting with alcohol. Talk to them about peer pressure and their right to say no to things that they don’t want to do. Focus on the health and legal consequences of drinking for kids in their age groups.

    Open the lines of communication
    Be open to kids asking questions about alcohol at any age, and answer them truthfully and without judgment. Resist the urge to lecture. Kids who feel respected are more likely to come to you for advice.

    Remind teens that they can call you if they find themselves in a risky situation, and that you will help them without asking questions.

    Talk to your physician at Sunrise Children’s Hospital for more advice for helping your kids navigate topics like alcohol and drug use. Contact our children’s hospital in Las Vegas to learn more about all of our services or to request a referral to a physician by calling (702) 233-5437.

  • Can children have IBS?

    Irritable bowel disease, or IBS, doesn’t only affect adults. Kids are also vulnerable to this uncomfortable condition, and it can have an impact on their everyday lives. If your child is experiencing symptoms of a gastrointestinal problem, make an appointment with a children’s hospital pediatrician to determine if IBS could be to blame.

    What exactly is IBS?
    IBS is not actually a disease but is rather a group of symptoms that occur together and affect the gastrointestinal, or GI, tract. People of all ages with IBS experience symptoms including:

    • Abdominal pain
    • Abdominal bloating
    • Constipation
    • Diarrhea

    For some people, these symptoms only show up occasionally, while others only experience a certain set of symptoms—such as only constipation or only diarrhea—and experience them on an ongoing basis.

    How common is IBS in kids?
    Doctors aren’t sure exactly how many kids are affected by IBS, but some studies have indicated that up to 14% of high school students have the condition. It appears to occur equally in boys and girls.

    IBS is most common in kids who have family members with the disease. Kids who suffer from depression or anxiety are also more prone to developing IBS. If your pediatrician suspects your child has IBS, he or she may order some medical tests to rule out other conditions before making a diagnosis.

    How is IBS treated?
    Treatment for IBS depends on the type of symptoms being experienced. For some kids, dietary changes are all that are needed. Kids may need to avoid common trigger foods, such as:

    • High-fat foods
    • Milk products
    • Caffeine
    • Artificial sweeteners
    • Beans
    • Cabbage

    If symptoms aren’t improved by dietary changes, then medications may be necessary. Laxatives may help with chronic constipation, while antidiarrheal medicines can help with diarrhea. For chronic abdominal pain, antispasmodic medications may be used.

    Living with IBS can be a challenge, but at Sunrise Children’s Hospital, our pediatricians can help your child find a treatment plan that effectively manages symptoms. For all of your child’s medical needs, trust our children’s hospital in Las Vegas. We’re here to answer your questions about our services and provide referrals to pediatricians. Call (702) 233-5437.

  • How will a brain injury affect your child’s development?

    Brain injuries can have serious impacts for people of all ages, but for children, they can be especially devastating. Because children’s brains are still developing, the implications of a brain injury can be more severe. If you think your child has suffered a brain injury, getting emergency care at a children’s hospital as soon as possible is critical. Here is what you need to know about brain injuries in kids and the potential long-term impacts for development.

    How common are brain injuries in kids?
    Children face a serious risk of brain injuries. These injuries are the leading cause of death and disability for children and teens in the US , with the age groups of 0-4 and 15-19 being most at risk. Approximately 62,000 kids between birth to age 19 are diagnosed with a brain injury annually, while 564,000 seek emergency care for potential brain injuries.

    Car accidents, sports injuries, and falls are the most common causes of brain injuries in kids. Physical abuse also plays a role in the prevalence of brain injuries in kids.

    How is development affected after a brain injury?
    It is difficult to predict exactly how a brain injury will affect a child. Several factors can influence the kinds of impacts an injury causes, including:

    • Which part of the brain is injured
    • Cause of the injury
    • Severity of the injury

    Often, the impacts of a brain injury are not immediately apparent and can take years to appear. Some of the developmental impairments that can occur affect:

    • Concentration/attention span
    • Communication skills
    • Motor coordination
    • Sensory issues (such as visual or hearing impairments)
    • Reading skills
    • Socially appropriate behavior

    Can developmental impacts be prevented?
    Although developmental impacts can be hard to prevent after a brain injury, since there is no clear way to determine how an injury will affect a child, there are things parents can do to mitigate the risk and limit the severity of developmental issues:

    • Get emergency treatment as soon as possible after an injury
    • Participate in ongoing therapeutic treatment
    • Arrange support for developmental issues, such as classroom help and therapy

    The children’s emergency room in Las Vegas at Sunrise Children’s Hospital is equipped to provide fast diagnosis and critical care to kids facing brain injuries. To learn more about all of our pediatrics services, please call (702) 233-5437.

  • How much sleep do kids need?

    Just was with adults, sleep is the cornerstone of good health for kids. At your child’s check-ups with his or her pediatrics specialist, be sure to discuss sleep habits and healthy sleep amounts with the doctor, so you can ensure your child is getting the shuteye he or she needs for good health. Here is a look at the recommended sleep amounts for kids at different ages of their development.

    Newborns, infants and toddlers
    It’s not surprising that newborns, infants and toddlers require more sleep than any other age group. For these ages, aim for these amounts of sleep:

    • Newborn to three months of age: Between 14 and 17 hours is recommended. As little as 11 and as much as 19 may be appropriate, but not less or more than those amounts.
    • Infants between four to 11 months of age: Between 12 and 15 hours is ideal, but anywhere between 10 to 18 hours may be acceptable.
    • Toddler between one to two years of age: Between 11 and 14 hours is recommended, but anywhere from nine to 16 may be healthy.

    Preschoolers and school-aged kids
    Kids in this age range still need a significant amount of sleep, as they grow and adjust to a new schedule. These are healthy targets for this age group:

    • Preschoolers between three and five years of age: Between 10 and 13 hours is a good goal, but as a little as eight hours and as much as 14 may be healthy
    • School-aged kids between six and 13 years old: Between nine and 11 hours is recommended. Some kids may need as little as seven or as much as 12.

    Teens and young adults
    During these years, kids transition to having similar sleep needs as adults. Teens are frequently at risk of getting too little sleep, so keep these ranges in mind:

    • Teens between 14 and 17 years: Between 8 and 10 hours, though some teens may need as little as seven or as much as 11 hours of sleep to be healthy.
    • Young adults between 18 and 25 years: Between seven and nine hours, with as little as six and as much as 11 being appropriate.

    Let the pediatrics specialists in Las Vegas at Sunrise Children’s Hospital keep your kids healthy at all stages of life. Get a referral to a physician by calling (702) 233-5437.

  • When to take your child to an orthopedic specialist

    If your child has an orthopedic injury or symptoms of a chronic orthopedic issue, how do you know when it is time to see a specialist? There are several reasons treatment by a pediatric orthopedic specialist may be appropriate for your child. Here are some of the reasons your child may need a referral to an orthopedist.

    Your pediatrician can’t treat the problem.
    In some cases, your pediatrician may start out treating your child’s orthopedic issue but eventually decide that more complex care is needed. In other instances, you may see a pediatrician for an acute problem, and he or she may determine you need a different level of care.

    As stated in the video, your pediatrician may refer you to an orthopedic specialist if your child needs a procedure or has a problem that is too complex to be treated by a generalist.

    Your child has scoliosis.
    Scoliosis refers to a curvature of the spine that can cause pain and mobility issues if left untreated. Because scoliosis is a chronic condition without a cure, a pediatric orthopedic specialist should monitor your child’s spine and the impact of treatment.

    An orthopedic specialist may treat your child first with a brace to try to straighten the spine, and if that is not effective, surgery may be necessary.

    Your child has flat feet.
    All kids have flat feet at birth, but if your child doesn’t develop foot arches as he or she grows, then flat feet could cause pain and make walking difficult. You may notice that your child has flat feet if his or her ankles turn inward while walking.

    A pediatric orthopedic specialist may recommend surgery to correct the arch in kids with flat feet, so walking is no longer painful.

    For orthopedic care designed with kids in mind, choose Sunrise Children’s Hospital. Our children’s hospital in Las Vegas offers a comprehensive range of pediatrics treatments, including orthopedic care and surgical services . Contact us at (702) 233-5437 to request a referral.

  • How to treat common childhood allergies

    Kids often sniffle and sneeze, but prolonged periods of cold-like symptoms may not be a cold, but could instead be allergies. Allergies can happen any time of the year, but they are most common in the spring and fall. If you suspect your child has allergies, consult with your pediatrics specialist for diagnosis and treatments to help your child feel better.

    Common allergy triggers
    Although a number of different things can trigger allergy symptoms, in most cases, seasonal allergic rhinitis is to blame. About 40% of kids suffer from these kinds of allergies, also called hay fever. Common triggers of seasonal allergic rhinitis include:

    • Ragweed pollen
    • Grass pollen
    • Mold, such as leaf mold

    The time of year your child experiences the worst allergy symptoms will give your pediatrics specialist clues about what is triggering them. For example, if your child suffers from spring and summer allergies, then grass pollen is likely to blame.

    Treatment options
    If your child’s allergy symptoms are mild, your pediatrician may recommend that your try over-the-counter medications, such as children’s antihistamines. If those are not effective, prescription allergy medications may be helpful.

    If these medications don’t work, your child may be referred to a pediatrics allergy specialist for immunotherapy. Allergy immunotherapy, also sometimes called allergy shots, works by introducing small amounts of the allergy trigger into the patient’s system, gradually building up the body’s tolerance. Once tolerance is increased and the body stops having an immune response to the trigger, your child should no longer experience symptoms.

    Lifestyle changes
    If your child has allergies, there are a few things you can do at home to reduce symptoms. Resist opening windows in your home or car, which will increase exposure to the allergen. Installing higher quality air filters in your home’s HVAC system may also help.

    If your child spends time outside when allergen levels are high, he or she should take a shower or bath before going to bed. This will remove traces of pollen and other allergens from skin and hair.

    If your child is suffering from allergy symptoms, the pediatricians at Sunrise Children’s Hospital are here to help. Contact our children’s hospital for a referral to a pediatrics specialist by calling (702) 233-5437.

  • What are the signs of appendicitis?

    It isn’t yet known exactly why humans have an appendix, but it can certainly cause problems when it becomes inflamed. The appendix is a small structure located in the lower right-hand quadrant of the abdomen. Appendicitis is most likely to affect people between the ages of 10 and 30, but it can happen at any age. It’s essential to get your child emergency care if you think he or she might have an inflamed appendix. In Las Vegas, Sunrise Children’s Hospital is open day and night to administer superior children’s emergency care.

    Abdominal pain
    Appendicitis causes abdominal pain that may be very severe. When you watch the accompanying video, you’ll hear a pediatric surgeon explain that the pain might be located in the right-hand part of the abdomen. However, nearby areas may also become painful.

    The pain of appendicitis tends to have a rapid onset. It may worsen if the child walks or coughs, and so you may notice your child trying to shuffle in a hunched-over position, perhaps while grasping the belly.

    Gastrointestinal distress
    In addition to abdominal pain, appendicitis can result in the following digestive issues:

    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Constipation
    • Diarrhea
    • Abdominal bloating
    • Inability to relieve gas

    Typically, children with appendicitis don’t want to eat anything. One major concern is the potential for dehydration. Let the emergency care doctor know if your child has been unable to keep fluids down.

    Ruptured appendix
    If appendicitis isn’t treated right away, usually with emergency surgery, then the appendix may rupture—a potentially life-threatening complication. Call 911 if you think your child might have a ruptured appendix .

    A ruptured appendix can cause the same symptoms as appendicitis. It can also cause:

    • High fever
    • Chills
    • Weakness
    • Feeling of rectal fullness

    Call 911 or take your child to the children’s emergency care team at Sunrise Children’s Hospital if you think he or she is having a serious health issue. Our highly trained team of pediatric specialists understands the unique needs of our young patients, and can help your child feel well again quickly. For general information about our children’s hospital in Las Vegas, call a registered nurse at (702) 233-5437.

  • Talk to your teen about healthy relationships

    The thought that one’s teen is being mistreated or abused is horrifying for any parent. If you have suspicions that your teen may be in a relationship that involves emotional, physical or sexual abuse, talk to a pediatric specialist right away. Or, call the police department if your teen might be in danger. The pediatricians at Sunrise Children’s Hospital are always here to listen, and to help parents learn how to help their teens build healthy, respectful relationships.

    Understand the risks
    Every parent and child wants to believe that mistreatment and abuse will never affect their family. Unfortunately, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services , about one in every 10 teens who have dated have also experienced physical or sexual abuse.

    Abusive relationships can affect anyone, but teens may be at a higher risk if they:

    • Struggle with depression
    • Have experienced violence previously
    • Have abused drugs or alcohol
    • Have academic problems at school

    Teach your teen to recognize unhealthy relationships
    It can be tough to have serious conversations with teens. Know that even if your teen appears to not be taking what you say to heart, he or she will still remember it.

    An indirect approach may be helpful as an icebreaker. Watch movies with your teen that feature both healthy and unhealthy relationships. Talk about the movies, and point out that a healthy relationship is characterized by:

    • Mutual respect and support
    • Shared decision-making
    • Honest, open conversation

    Additionally, both partners should feel free to have friends and enjoy activities outside the company of each other.

    Point out the characteristics of unhealthy relationships, such as the following:

    • Decisions are made by just one person
    • There is pressure to withdraw socially from friends and outside interests
    • One partner controls the other’s time and interests
    • There is verbal abuse or threats
    • There is physical abuse, including objects being thrown
    • One partner requires the other to constantly check in with texts or calls

    Your teen should also know that unhealthy relationships usually don’t begin that way. At first, the partner may seem caring and loving, but then become gradually more controlling and abusive. Let your teen know that he or she can always come to you for non-judgmental help.

    Sunrise Children’s Hospital is your family’s partner in health. We’re here to provide superior care to your children at every stage of their lives, and to support their developmental, psychosocial and medical needs. You can speak with one of our registered nurses in Las Vegas by calling (702) 233-5437.

  • Signs that your child has low vision

    No parent wants to hear that their child has a chronic medical condition or impairment. But the sooner an issue is diagnosed, the sooner pediatric specialists can help the child and the entire family. If you think your child may be struggling with low vision , you should know that the specialists and nurses at Sunrise Children’s Hospital are here to help you. Our multidisciplinary team is uniquely qualified to care for the sensitive physical and emotional needs of our young patients.

    Understanding low vision
    Refractive errors are quite common. These are eye disorders such as nearsightedness and farsightedness. Low vision is different.

    Whereas refractive errors can be corrected with contact lenses or eyeglasses, low vision refers to impairment that can’t be adequately addressed with these devices.

    Children with low vision may have problems with one or more of the following areas:

    • Contrast sensitivity

    • Central vision

    • Clear vision

    • Peripheral vision

    • Depth perception

    • Ability to process visual information

    Identifying the challenges of diagnosing low vision
    It isn’t always easy to detect pediatric impairments, since young children may be unable to communicate their challenges. Other kids might simply assume that their vision is just like everyone else’s.

    Avoid relying on school screenings to adequately assess your child’s vision. Instead, take him or her to a pediatric expert who can perform a comprehensive vision exam . Every child needs an eye exam annually—or more often if you notice possible problems.

    Signs of pediatric low vision
    Any of the following signs may indicate that it’s time for your child to have another comprehensive vision exam. Some of them are behavioral in nature:

    • Frequent blinking

    • Frequent eye rubbing

    • Habit of covering one eye

    • Tilting the head

    Other possible signs of low vision in kids are academic in nature:

    • Losing one’s place often while reading

    • Trying to avoid reading and other close work

    • Failing to copy down notes or assignments from the chalkboard

    • Having trouble remembering written information

    • Holding books close to the face

    • Having a short attention span

    The developmental, psychosocial and medical needs of your child are our top priorities here at Sunrise Children’s Hospital . We provide comprehensive pediatric care and family support services to help our neighbors in Las Vegas cope with acute and chronic health issues. To speak with a friendly member of our nursing staff, give us a call at (702) 233-5437.