Acute Gastroenteritis

This year’s winter is definitely more unique than ever. Temperatures in high 50’s and no snow on Christmas has altered winter break plans as well as the cycle for the most common pediatric condition such as acute gastroenteritis (AGE), commonly known as “stomach flu”.

AGE usually presents with vomiting, diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramping pain. In medical literature, diarrhea is defined as a passage of three or more loose or watery stools per day (or more frequent passages of stool than is normal for the individual). Frequent passage of formed stools is not diarrhea, nor is passing of pasty stool by a breastfed infant.

Vomiting is usually the first of presenting symptoms, and more commonly than not, it occurs in the middle of the night. After emesis subsides, diarrhea begins. Ongoing fluid and electrolyte losses lead to dehydration in children which is the major cause of morbidity in children with acute gastroenteritis. Continue reading “Acute Gastroenteritis”

Organic vs. conventional food

I like food!!

I like to eat and cook, and whenever I can, I prepare meals from a scratch. I cook for my whole family, trying to satisfy everyone’s cravings, especially the toughest critics – my kids. That is why, I pay special attention to ingredients.

For many years now, I have been slowly progressing towards organic food. I usually use mostly organic ingredients, unless I cannot find the once that answer my requirements, at which time I turn to conventional products. The other day, we had friends over for dinner and got into conversation about organic vs conventional food. To my great surprise, I realized that many people choose to omit eating certain products for a sole reason – not organic. I decided it was time for me to re-visit organic food vs conventional food and its effect on children.

First, let’s start off with defining what organically-grown foods mean. Organically-grown foods are grown without the use of synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. Organic food is not necessarily is 100% made of all organic ingredients. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), mandates for all ingredients to be organically certified for a product to be labeled “100 percent organic”. “Organic” labeled food usually consist of at least 95% certified organic ingredients. Products with at least 70% certified organic ingredients are labeled as “made with organic ingredients”.

So, what is being looked at when organic food gets compared to conventional? Food related illness, such as gastroenteritis. Food usually becomes contaminated by raw manure fertilization, crops irrigation with contaminated water, or fecal contamination during processing and handling. The risk of contamination with bacteria resistant to multiple antibiotics is higher in conventionally grown products, but overall risk of bacterial contamination is not different. To minimize the food-borne illnesses, always follow this simple rules:

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Nutrition for young athletes

I was recently attending a seminar which discussed different issues pediatricians are faced on daily basis when they see young athletes. One of the issues that was brought to our attention was an adequate nutrition of a young athlete. With so many kids, including my own, trying to search for an edge in hopes of improving performance, proper nutrition is essential for success.

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