You At Your Best

August 2017 • Back to School

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YOU AT YOUR BEST | nwAdg.cOm/YOUATYOURBEST AUgUST - BAck TO SchOOl | SATURdAY, JUlY 29, 2017 | 21 Special to NWa Democrat-Gazette Pediatric hospitalists are primary care providers who specialize in the care of children who are hospitalized. The Washington Regional pediatric hospitalist team is led by medical director Neil Tracy, MD, who is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics. Dr. Tracy earned his medical degree at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, where he also completed an internship and residency in pediatrics. The Washington Regional pediatric hospitalist team also includes: • Gideon Mecum, MD • Megan Owen, APRN • Drew Hamby, MD • Rachel McKelvy, MD (joining in September) Hospitalists are based in the hospital and don't have a clinic to tend. Because they are on site, they are readily available to hospitalized patients any time of day. Pediatric hospitalists work closely with a child's regular doctor and other providers who are involved in the child's care. The pediatric hospitalist team is in contact with the child's family as well, providing details and notifying them of any change in the child's condition. When it is time for a patient to go home, a pediatric hospitalist oversees discharge instructions and also assists the family in scheduling follow-up visits to the patient's regular pediatrician, who will receive a summary of the hospital stay as well as recommendations for ongoing care. This streamlined process allows patients to go home sooner, since their discharge doesn't have to wait until an office-based pediatrician makes rounds. More information is available at Take a minute to take a temperature Special to NWa Democrat-Gazette There's a busy school day ahead, but your child wakes up feeling a little sweaty and even turns down his favorite breakfast. As mild as these symptoms sound, they may mean your child has a fever and needs to stay home – or maybe even head to the doctor's office. While childhood fevers themselves generally are not dangerous, what causes them may be, says Neil Tracy, MD, medical director of the pediatric hospitalist program at Washington Regional Medical Center. "Fever is the immune system's natural response for fighting infections such as the flu, for instance, but a child's fever also can be caused by heat exhaustion, severe sunburn and many other noninfectious reasons," Dr. Tracy explains. If your child has any signs of fever – sweating, shivering, headache, muscle aches and weakness, dehydration and loss of appetite – it's important to use a thermometer to check his or her temperature. There are many different types of thermometers, including those that take measurements by mouth, by ear or with a swipe across the forehead. A rectal thermometer is often recommended for taking an infant's temperature. "Whatever type of thermometer you choose, just be sure to follow the directions for your thermometer to avoid injury and to get an accurate reading," Dr. Tracy says. If your child does have a fever, that alone is not cause for alarm. To help you determine whether your child needs medical care for a fever, Dr. Tracy offers the following guidelines. See a doctor if: • Your baby is younger than three months and has a rectal temperature of 100.4°F or higher. • Your baby is older than three months and has a rectal temperature of 102°F or higher. • Your child is under age two and has a fever that lasts more than a day. • Your child is two years or older and has a fever that lasts more than three days. "Very high fevers – higher than 104°F – can lead to confusion, hallucinations and convulsions," Dr. Tracy says. "If your child has these fever symptoms, get medical attention right away, and give him or her fluids to prevent dehydration." Also, he adds, seek immediate medical help if a baby or child has: • A severe headache or sore throat. • Abnormal rash or sensitivity to light. • Neck pain and stiffness. • Mental confusion. • Repeated vomiting. • Difficulty breathing. • Unusual listlessness or irritability. • Any unexplained symptoms. A healthcare professional can help determine whether the fever is cause for concern by asking whether your child is eating, playing, alert or dehydrated. Dr. Tracy says, "If you are ever in doubt about whether your child needs medical treatment for a fever, call his or her doctor." Washington Regional's pediatric hospitalists are based in the Women and Infants Center, home to the largest neonatal intensive care unit in Northwest Arkansas. Washington Regional Pediatric Hospitalists Reassurance for kids and their families Dr. Neil Tracy, MD

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