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Kids with kidney disease and cold and flu season

With the summer winding down, the dreaded cold and flu season is just around the corner.  Parents with children who have a history of kidney disease need to keep in mind a few things during this season of stuffy noses and coughs.

  • Avoid NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen, Motrin, Advil, naproxen, and Aleve.
    • NSAIDs are known to decrease blood flow to the kidneys and can cause more damage.
  • Avoid Pseudoephedrine or any medications that may contain similar ingredients.
    • Pseudoephedrine is usually an ingredient for decongestants like Sudafed and is known to increase blood pressure.
  • Say YES to the flu shot early.
    • Children with kidney disease ....

The anti-inflammatory diet and multiple sclerosis

We have all seen inflammation on the surface of our bodies. Redness, heat, swelling or pain after a cut or sprain are examples of this process at work. In these cases, inflammation benefits the body by bringing more nutrients and immune activity to the injured or infected area, helping it to heal.

When inflammation occurs without purpose or is persistent, it can cause damage and illness. This type of abnormal inflammation is the root of many chronic diseases, including multiple sclerosis (MS).

Many factors contribute to chronic inflammation including stress, exposure to toxins such as cigarette smoke and dietary choices. We have control over some of the causes of inflammation. Learning what foods have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body may be beneficial in reducing long-term disease risk.

The anti-inflammatory diet is a balanced, sensible way of eating. It not only influences inflammation but also provides your body with adequate energy, vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and fiber. Here are a few recommendations for eating to reduce and prevent inflammation:

Handling stress with kids in the hospital

As the back to school sales begin, we are reminded that soon our kids will be back on the bus and returning to school routines.  As adults we may look forward to the return of a consistent routine or dread the increased activity that comes with sports, homework and friends.  For our children school can be both exciting and anxiety producing as well.

Stress can be a contributor to many illnesses and is something that we all can use help managing. (Want to find out how much you know about stress and your kids? Take this 5 question quiz here.) The questions bring up some great ways to manage stress daily for our kids; but what about the stresses of chronic illness or hospitalization?  What can you do for your child to decrease their anxiety in the hospital?

Easy make-ahead meals to beat MS fatigue

In my last post about eating well with multiple sclerosis (MS), we discussed meal planning and prep to help enable you to eat nutritiously through the week.

Maybe you’ve decided to carve out some time to make a list and prep some food for the week. Good for you! Need some inspiration?

Here are a few recipes that will produce left overs that hold up well and can be packed up for healthy lunches. Don’t forget to include plenty of extra fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grain cereals and non-fat dairy products to be eaten as breakfast and snacks.

Meal 1: Chilled peanut noodles with grilled chicken breast and steamed broccoli

Click here for the recipe.

The whole-wheat noodles give you a good dose of fiber to help keep you regular and the protein from the peanuts will help you feel full longer than other vegetarian pasta dishes. Cook enough chicken for you and your family to have a 4 oz. portion both for dinner lunch the next day, plus an extra pound for another recipe later in the week.

This noodle dish can be served room temperature right after it is made. It is also great eaten cold the next day. If you are sensitive to heat and don’t want to heat up you kitchen re-heating food then you will love this dish.

Meal 2: Slow-cooker vegetarian chili with a whole grain roll

Click here for the recipe.

This dish is ...

Organizing an Efficient Kitchen to Fight Fatigue with MS

In the last few weeks, I’ve shared tips to help create healthful meals that are fatigue-friendly for people living with multiple sclerosis (MS).

Your meal plan is set and your pantry is stocked with nutritious, easily-prepared foods. Here are a few helpful kitchen gadgets and some minor adjustments that can make cooking more efficient and feel like less of a chore:

  • Secure your cutting board. When you are not able to buy pre-cut vegetables and fruits and need to do the chopping yourself, make sure to secure your cutting board. Placing a non-slip mat or wet towel under the board works well. This keeps it from slipping when you slice, dice and grate.
  • If you are sensitive to heat, keep the kitchen cool. Try ...

What to tell kids when a loved one is ill or in the hospital

When a loved one in the family is in the hospital or dealing with a chronic illness it can be hard to know what to say to the youngest family members.  It’s natural to want to “protect” them by not telling them or talking to them, but chances are the kids already know that something is going on.  An honest conversation can help to ease any misunderstanding they may have. 

Here are some important areas to cover when navigating a discussion about the illness or hospitalization of a loved one:

  • Honesty – Use words and descriptions that are appropriate for their age. If they are older they may ask specific details about the illness.  It’s good to call the diagnosis by name.  They may come back at a later date with other questions or even ask the same questions more than once. 
  • "Can I catch it?" – Children often have the fear that they can “catch” illnesses. They need to know, if in fact it isn’t a contagious disease, that they can not catch the illness from their loved one by being near them, hugging them and visiting with them.  This is particularly important if it is a brother or sister who is ill.
  • "Did I cause this?" – Many ....

What to expect when your child is in the Pediatric ICU (PICU)

Just the mere mention of the Pediatric ICU (PICU) can be frightening to both kids and parents.  But having a basic understanding of what people and equipment can be found in the PICU can help to lessen the anxiety.

What is the PICU?

The PICU at Swedish is a section of the hospital that provides the highest level of medical care for your child (0 to 18 years).  The PICU is different than just the regular pediatric floor because it allows for more intensive nursing care of your child and advanced continuous monitoring of their blood pressure, heart rate, breathing and more.  Patients in the PICU may also require more intensive therapies such as ventilators (a breathing machine) and certain medications that require close monitoring.

Who is hospitalized in the PICU?

Kids who are seriously ill whose medical needs cannot be met on the regular Pediatric unit will be in the PICU.  PICU patients may have breathing problems such as asthma or pneumonia, have had a lengthy surgery, have seizures or any other physical condition.  Time spent in the PICU depends on....

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