What is Triggering Your Child’s Hives?

Learn how to treat your child’s hives, which could have been triggered by a food, drug, or recent viral infection.

Has your child ever had hives?

What was the first thing you thought of?

If you’re like most parents, it is likely what your child had recently eaten, thinking that is most likely to be what is causing their allergic reaction.

Hives can be scary, because they can appear suddenly all over your child's body. They are one of those things that typically looks worse than it is though.
Hives can be scary, because they can appear suddenly all over your child’s body. They are one of those things that typically looks worse than it is though. Photo by Sussman et al (CC BY 4.0)

It is important to remember that there are many more things in addition to food allergies that can cause hives in kids though. These include medications, infections, exposure to the sun, and for some kids, even physically stroking their skin, which is called dermographism.

What are Hives?

A hive on your child's lip is much different from swelling inside their mouth and throat.
A hive on your child’s lip is much different from swelling inside their mouth and throat. Photo by Sussman et al (CC BY 4.0)

Hives are a type of allergic or immune system reaction that occurs when something triggers the release of chemicals, including histamine, from cells in a child’s body.

Hives are usually harmless if they are the only symptom your child is having.

Unfortunately, children with hives and more severe symptoms, such as wheezing, difficulty breathing or swallowing, or swelling in their mouth or throat, may have anaphylaxis – a life-threatening allergic reaction. These children need immediate medical attention.

Symptoms of Hives

In addition to their typical appearance as red or pink raised areas on your child’s skin, hives are usually:

  • itchy
  • seen alone or are in groups
  • varied in size, with some being smaller than your child’s finger tip and other’s larger than a half-dollar size. Also, hives can often merge or join to form even larger hives that, for example, can cover half of your child’s abdomen.
  • temporary and come and go over several hours. They often don’t go away completely though. Instead, old hives go away in one part of your child’s body, while new ones continue to appear somewhere else. Any individual hive shouldn’t last more than 24 hours. If it does, then your child may have a similar skin rash, such as erythema multiforme, and not simple hives.

Less commonly, hives can sting, be painful, and can leave bruises on your child’s skin.

Kids with hives may have additional symptoms depending on what is triggering the hives. For example, if a viral infection is causing the hives, then they may have a sore throat, runny nose, and/or cough.

What is Triggering Your Child’s Hives?

Although some things, such as certain foods, commonly cause hives, keep in mind that almost anything can trigger hives.

Common causes of hives can include:

  • foods, especially peanuts, eggs, tree nuts, milk, shellfish, wheat, and soy
  • medications, especially antibiotics like penicillin and sulfa drugs
  • additives in foods or medications, such as the food dye tartrazine (Yellow No. 5)
  • infections, especially viral infections
  • insect bites and stings
  • latex
  • exercise
  • stress
  • exposure to heat, cold, or water, no matter what the temperature is
  • dermatographism, a physical urticaria, in which hives are triggered by stroking the skin, such as by scratching

How do you figure out what is causing your child’s hives?

It can be hard.

To help figure it out, keep a diary of all of your child’s medications and everything he recently eat or drank, shortly before breaking out.

Allergy testing is sometimes necessary to figure out what is causing hives, especially if your child’s hives are not going away or they keep getting hives over and over. Fortunately, most kids don’t need testing for their hives, and unless the trigger is obvious, like when it follows eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or they are on Amoxil for an ear infection, there is a good chance that they won’t get hives again.

Treatments for Hives

Since hives are caused by the chemical histamine, it makes sense that you would treat them with an antihistamine medication, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl). Other sedating antihistamines that are sometimes used to treat hives include hydroxyzine (Atarax) and cyproheptadine (Periactin).

Non-sedating antihistamines, including Allegra, Claritin, Clarinex, and Zyrtec, are also used to treat hives, expecially hives that last longer than 6 weeks.

Less commonly, a child may need a steroid to treat his episode of hives.

Other treatments, especially for chronic hives, can sometimes include doxepin (Sinequan), an antidepressant that can work as a potent antihistamine, montelukast (Singulair), and medications such as ranitidine (Zantac) or cimetidine (Tagamet), which are more commonly used to treat reflux.

In some cases of persistent hives, your pediatrician might recommend that you give your child multiple medications, for example, both Zyrtec and Allegra, with Zantac!

Of course, the best treatment for hives, whenever possible, is to remove and then avoid whatever has triggering them.

What You Need To Know About Hives

Hives are not considered chronic or long-term until they last for six weeks or longer. Chronic hives are rarely caused by food allergies. In fact, triggers for chronic allergies are only found about 20 percent of the time.

What if no cause is found for your child’s chronic hives? Then your child has idiopathic hives, which should eventually go away.

What else should you know about your child’s hives?

Individual hives are also called welts (not whelps, a common misspelling for welts) or wheals.

It is a common myth that it has to be something ‘new’ that is causing your child’s hives, as it is much more common that your child has had something two, three or more times before it finally triggers hives.

And although an allergic reaction to a food is usually fairly quick, occurring within minutes to hours, it may take days or weeks for an antibiotic to trigger hives in your child. Your child might not even break out until a few weeks after finishing their last dose!

Also keep in mind that a pediatric allergist and/or pediatric dermatologist can often help your pediatrician figure out what is causing your child’s hives.

More on Your Child’s Hives

The Latest on Masks to Keep Kids From Getting COVID

Face masks work to prevent the transmission of COVID and can help keep kids, many of whom are too young to be vaccinated, from getting COVID.

That kids wearing face masks to keep them from getting COVID is controversial is amazing to many people, especially pediatricians.

Why wouldn’t you want your kids to wear a mask if it could protect them?

The Latest on Masks to Keep Kids From Getting COVID

And yes, the data does show that wearing a mask is safe and protects kids from getting COVID…

Need some proof?

Let’s take a look at what’s happening in Texas.

A few weeks ago, there were 86 active staff and 708 active student cases in GISD.
A few weeks ago, there were 86 active staff and 708 active student cases in GISD.

In one north Texas school district that opened early, on August 2, they now have 67 active staff cases and 564 active student cases.

While that’s a lot, it is important to keep in mind that as cases are continuing to rise in most other school districts, leading to more than a few temporary school closures, they are actually dropping in GISD!

Why?

Staff and students in GISD are wearing masks and their active case counts are dropping!
Staff and students in GISD are wearing masks and their active case counts are dropping! They also limit the capacity for indoor and outdoor events once positivity rates get too high.

It is almost certainly because their staff and students are wearing masks!

Masks Save Lives

Wearing a mask can protect the person wearing the mask and the people around them.

Need more proof that masks work?

Wearing a mask is especially important to protect those who are too young to get vaccinated and those who have a true medical contraindication to getting vaccinated against COVID.

“When used in conjunction with widespread testing, contact tracing, quarantining of anyone that may be infected, hand washing, and physical distancing, face masks are a valuable tool to reduce community transmission.”

An evidence review of face masks against COVID-19

Wearing a mask is also important as COVID variants surge, some of which are more infectious, even to those who are fully vaccinated.

Masks save lives.

“Without interventions in place, the vast majority of susceptible students will become infected through the semester.”

COVID-19 Projections for K12 Schools in Fall 2021: Significant Transmission without Interventions

Parents should ignore the misinformation and disinformation about facemasks and COVID-19.

“To maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others, fully vaccinated people should wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.”

Use Masks to Slow the Spread of COVID-19

In addition to social distancing, they should wear a mask and should encourage their kids who are at least two years old to wear masks in school and when in public around a lot of other people.

More on Masks Save Lives

Treating Kids with COVID Monoclonal Antibodies

While anti-SARS-CoV-2 monoclonal antibodies have an EUA for older, high risk children with COVID, they are not routinely recommended by most experts.

While you are likely used to hearing that there are no real cures or treatments for COVID, a few treatments do have emergency use authorization, including monoclonal antibody therapy.

“Monoclonal antibodies that target the spike protein have been shown to have a clinical benefit in treating SARS-CoV-2 infection. Preliminary data suggest that monoclonal antibodies may play a role in preventing SARS-CoV-2 infection in household contacts of infected patients and during skilled nursing and assisted living facility outbreaks.”

Anti-SARS-CoV-2 Monoclonal Antibodies

And they are available for use in kids who are at least 12 years old!

Treating Kids with COVID Monoclonal Antibodies

So why doesn’t everyone with COVID get treated with these monoclonal antibodies?

“Three anti-SARS-CoV-2 monoclonal antibody products currently have Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs) from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 in nonhospitalized patients with laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection who are at high risk for progressing to severe disease and/or hospitalization.”

Anti-SARS-CoV-2 Monoclonal Antibodies

In general, they are mainly used in those older children (at least 12 years of age) and adults who are at high risk for severe disease.

“When using monoclonal antibodies, treatment should be started as soon as possible after the patient receives a positive result on a SARS-CoV-2 antigen or nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) and within 10 days of symptom onset.”

Anti-SARS-CoV-2 Monoclonal Antibodies

Also, ideally, treatment with monoclonal antibodies should be started very early, but even more importantly, it involves an IV infusion. So it is not something that your pediatrician will likely be able to give your child in their office.

So where can you get these monoclonal antibodies?

Monoclonal antibody therapeutic treatments have been distributed to hospitals and infusion centers around the country. You can hopefully find a treatment location nearby if you need to get your high risk child treated.

How do you know if your child is high risk?

People aged 12 or older may be considered at high risk for developing more serious symptoms—making them eligible for mAb treatment—depending on their health history and how long they’ve had symptoms of COVID-19.
People aged 12 or older may be considered at high risk for developing more serious symptoms—making them eligible for mAb treatment—depending on their health history and how long they’ve had symptoms of COVID-19.

Does your child who is at least 12 years old have chronic kidney disease, diabetes, heart problems, chronic lung disease, including moderate to severe asthma and cystic fibrosis, etc., sickle cell disease, a neurodevelopmental disorder, including cerebral palsy, or have a medical device (tracheostomy, gastrostomy, or positive pressure ventilation, etc.)? Are they immunosuppressed? Are they overweight, with a BMI above the 85th percentile for their age?

Talk to your pediatrician if you aren’t sure if your child is high risk and if you need help finding COVID monoclonal antibodies for your child.

Treating Kids with COVID Monoclonal Antibodies?

You may also want to ask if getting your child treated with monoclonal antibodies is something you really should do…

“Currently, there is insufficient evidence for utility, safety, or efficacy to recommend the routine use of monoclonal antibody therapy for children and adolescents with COVID-19, even those considered to be at higher risk of hospitalization or severe disease. At this time, neither bamlanivimab nor casirivimab plus imdevimab should be considered standard of care in any pediatric population, even in patients who meet high-risk criteria. There are no data supporting safety and efficacy in children or adolescents, and the evidence supporting use in the adult population (including young adults) is modest and/or unpublished and has limited applicability to pediatrics or to many specified risk groups.”

Initial Guidance on Use of Monoclonal Antibody Therapy for Treatment of Coronavirus Disease 2019 in Children and Adolescents

And know, that while monoclonal antibody treatments do have EUA for older children, a panel of pediatric experts has recommended against their routine use.

So get your kids vaccinated now and don’t think you can rely on monoclonal antibodies if they get sick…

More on COVID Treatments

Are We Going to See a Summer Surge of RSV This Year?

Folks need to understand that RSV might still be coming. If not in the next few months, then maybe this summer. And if there is no summer surge of RSV, then it will likely be back even worse next year.

A summer surge of RSV?

I know, it sounds ridiculous, right?

After all, in a typical year, RSV season begins in September or October and peaks in December or January.

Of course, this hasn’t been a typical year…

Are We Going to See a Summer Surge of RSV This Year?

Except for COVID-19, rhinovirus, enterovirus, and some adenovirus, we haven’t seen most of the seasonal viral outbreaks that we typically see each year.

There hasn't been any RSV in Texas this year.
There hasn’t been any RSV in Texas this year.

There was no RSV, flu, or seasonal coronavirus, etc.

Not that anyone has been complaining…

It was one of the bright spots that came out of all of the social distancing, mask wearing, and travel restrictions to control the COVID-19 pandemic!

So why would anyone think that we might see a summer surge of RSV?!?

The news that folks in Australia started getting hit with RSV a few months ago, when it was still summertime!

Remember, Australia is in the Southern Hemisphere and their summer runs from December to February and their autumn from March to May.
Remember, Australia is in the Southern Hemisphere and their summer runs from December to February and their autumn from March to May.

What caused the summer surge of RSV in Australia?

An unexpected surge that is also being reported in South Africa

“Recent reports from Australia described an inter-seasonal RSV epidemic in Australian children following the reduction of COVID-19–related public health measures from September 2020 to January 2021.”

Delayed Start of the Respiratory Syncytial Virus Epidemic at the End of the 20/21 Northern Hemisphere Winter Season, Lyon, France

Is it because they got their COVID-19 cases under good control early and relaxed many of their COVID-19 related public health measures, including eliminating mandates to wear masks and most restrictions on public gathering, and allowed kids to go back to school?

Whatever the reason for the surge, what is most troubling is that we may not have to wait until this summer for our own surge!

“In 2020, the first RSV cases of the 20/21 season were detected in Lyon at week 46 and 47 (Figure 1) at the same time of the southern hemisphere outbreak. A sustained detection of cases was observed from week 51, which is the expected time of the epidemic peak, to week 5. On week 6, the RSV epidemic was declared in the first French region (Ile de France) while the number of RSV cases has continued to increase in the Lyon population.”

Delayed Start of the Respiratory Syncytial Virus Epidemic at the End of the 20/21 Northern Hemisphere Winter Season, Lyon, France

France is seeing RSV too – with a 4 month delay to the start of their season. And they haven’t relaxed their physical distancing recommendations as much as Australia, as they were still seeing cases of COVID-19.

And as if all of that wasn’t enough, the summer surge of RSV in Australia is at rates that are much higher than is seen in a typical RSV season!

Wasn’t that expected?

“Our results suggest that a buildup of susceptibility during these control periods may result in large outbreaks in the coming years.”

The impact of COVID-19 nonpharmaceutical interventions on the future dynamics of endemic infections

While larger future outbreaks have been expected, most people likely thought they would start with next year’s season.

“Our findings raise concerns for RSV control in the Northern Hemisphere, where a shortened season was experienced last winter. The eventual reduction of COVID-19–related public health measures may herald a significant rise in RSV. Depending on the timing, the accompanying morbidity and mortality, especially in older adults, may overburden already strained healthcare systems.”

The Interseasonal Resurgence of Respiratory Syncytial Virus in Australian Children Following the Reduction of Coronavirus Disease 2019–Related Public Health Measures

I’m not sure anyone is ready for RSV and COVID-19 at the same time. That’s not the Twindemic folks were warning us about!

But maybe we should get ready to start seeing some RSV.

March is typically close to the end of RSV season, not the beginning.
March is typically close to the end of RSV season, not the beginning.

After all, rates of RSV are starting to increase in Florida and the South Atlantic division of the United States.

While there is no way to know if we will see this trend in other states and we may just be delaying when RSV season starts anyway, parents should know that we can always protect those who are most at risk from severe RSV disease.

“Ideally, people with cold-like symptoms should not interact with children at high risk for severe RSV disease, including premature infants, children younger than 2 years of age with chronic lung or heart conditions, and children with weakened immune systems.”

RSV Prevention

At some point, we might even have to consider changing when Synagis, the monthly shot that can help prevent RSV, is given. Should we continue giving Synagis to high risk infants this Spring and Summer, for example, instead of stopping in March?

Mostly, folks need to understand that RSV might be coming. If not in the next few months, then maybe this summer. And if not this summer, then it will likely be back with an even worse next year.

More on RSV

What is the Rule of Two/Too?

The Rule of Too/Two is an easy way to discover possible risks of genetic conditions in your family medical history.

Have you ever heard of the Rule of Two?

No, this isn’t about Star Wars…

What is the Rule of Two/Too?

If you didn’t know about the Rule of Two/Too, you will likely be very surprised to know that there are more than one of these rules!

The Rules of Two is a quick and easy way to figure our if your child's asthma is under good control.

The Rules of Two is a quick and easy way to figure our if your child’s asthma is out of control.

Remember that one now?

What about this other one?

The rule of Two/Too.

Arthur Grix proposed the Rule of Too/Two to make things simple for primary care providers when looking for genetic conditions within a family.
Arthur Grix proposed the Rule of Too/Two to make things simple for primary care providers when looking for genetic conditions within a family.

The Rule of Too/Two can help you figure out if you might have a genetic condition in your family!

After all, filling out your family medical history is pretty easy for most people. Knowing what to do with all of that information, especially how it might translate into a risk for a genetic condition is the tricky part…

“Family health history questions that result in answers using the descriptors “too” or “two”may indicate a genetic condition.”

A Toolkit to Improve Care for Pediatric Patients with Genetic Conditions in Primary Care

And that’s where the Rule of Too/Two comes in!

It reviews many of the red flags for genetic conditions and can help you figure out if you or your kids should undergo any kind of genetic screening.

The Rule of Too/Two includes:

  • being TOO tall as compared to their genetic potential for height
  • being TOO short as compared to their genetic potential for height
  • getting sick at TOO early/TOO young an age – extreme early onset cardiovascular disease, cancer, or renal failure, etc., and developing adult disorders in childhood can be a sign of a genetic cause
  • TOO many people in a family having the same condition
  • having an unusual or extreme presentation of a common condition that is TOO different than usual, like breast cancer in a male family member
  • a family member having TWO different types of tumors
  • a condition in TWO generations of family members
  • a condition that affects TWO people in the family
  • a family member with TWO or more birth defects or congenital anomalies

When you fill out your family health history, if you are using the terms ‘too’ and ‘two’ very often, then you might talk to your health care provider to take a closer look.

“Everyone is eligible for one tumor, one birth defect (ASD, cleft lip, birth mark, etc.).”

Arthur Grix, MD

The Rule of Too/Two is an easy way to discover possible risks of genetic conditions in your family medical history.

There are other genetic risk assessment methods besides the Rule of Too/Two.
There are other genetic risk assessment methods besides the Rule of Too/Two.

Which ever method you use, if you find genetic risks in your family tree, you might want to see a genetic counselor for further evaluation.

More on the Rule of Two/Too

Lab Tests That Are Often Misinterpreted

To get the most accurate results and avoid false positive and false negative results, you want to use the right test for the right patient, and then know how to interpret the results correctly.

There are a lot of good reasons that most doctors should do fewer lab tests.

For one thing, many are simply unnecessary.

And few tests are inexpensive.

Another reason, one that you likely haven’t thought of, is that sometimes lab tests are misinterpreted, leading to unnecessary treatments.

Lab Tests That Are Often Misinterpreted

In addition to false positive and false negative test results, which are an inherent risk with almost any test, you sometimes run the risk that your doctor doesn’t truly understand how to interpret the results of the test they ordered.

How is that possible?

Consider Lyme disease testing.

Unless you live in or visited an area with ticks that cause Lyme disease and you have symptoms of Lyme disease, then you don’t need to be tested for Lyme disease. If you do get tested, you doctor should use two-tiered testing – an EIA or IFA test first, and if positive, Western blot testing.

The CDC recommends two-tiered testing for Lyme disease.

How do you know if your Western Blot test is positive?

A positive IgM Western blot for Lyme disease requires at least two of the following bands of the test to be positive:

  1. 24 kDa (OspC)
  2. 39 kDa (BmpA)
  3. 41 kDa (Fla)

And a positive IgG Western blot for Lyme disease requires at least five of the following bands of the test to be positive:

  1. 18 kDa
  2. 21 kDa (OspC)
  3. 28 kDa
  4. 30 kDa
  5. 39 kDa (BmpA)
  6. 41 kDa (Fla)
  7. 45 kDa
  8. 58 kDa (not GroEL)
  9. 66 kDa
  10. 93 kDa (2)

What happens if someone only sees one of the IgM bands or four of the IgG bands? Are they going to know it is a negative test or are they going to wonder if they have Lyme disease?

Still, that doesn’t mean that you should never test patients for Lyme disease. You just want to use the right test for the right patient, and then know how to interpret the results correctly.

What other tests are often misused or can be easily misinterpreted?

  • blood allergy tests – Ever been told you’re child is allergic to everything? That’s likely because instead of a simple positive or negative result, blood allergy tests are prone to false positive results
  • the PPD test – it is important to understand that interpreting the tuberculin skin test depends on the child’s risk factors and that a previous BCG vaccine can trigger a false positive
  • rapid strep tests – prone to false positive results, picking up strep carriers, especially if you test kids who do not have classic symptoms of strep throat
  • rapid flu tests – prone to false positive results if you test when flu activity is low
  • thyroid function tests
  • monospot test – this is a non-specific test, so is not just for mono and most experts recommend that it no longer be used
  • EBV titers – titers of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) antigens, including viral capsid antigen (VCA), Early antigen (EA), and EBV nuclear antigen (EBNA) can all appear at different points in your infection, from early on to years after you have recovered. Many persist for the rest of your life after you have had mono, which some folks confuse as a new infection or a relapse.
  • vaccine titers
  • ANA – while your anti-nuclear antibody test should typically be negative and a positive ANA can be a sign of arthritis, it is also very common for kids without any problems to have a positive or elevated ANA
  • WBC
  • vitamin D levels
  • drug testing
  • tox screening
  • covid-19 tests
  • EEGs

Why are these tests so easily misinterpreted?

False Positive Test Results

For one thing, many people underestimate the risk of false positive test results.

That’s why it is important to remember that a positive test doesn’t necessarily mean 100% that you have any specific disease or condition. It just means that you have a positive test.

“EEG will be negative in a large portion of patients with epilepsy, and may be positive in patients without epilepsy. False positive EEG findings commonly lead to unnecessary use of antiepileptic drugs and may delay the syncope diagnosis and treatment. EEGs are most helpful in specific situations when there is high pre-test probability for epilepsy based on history and exam, and clinical presentation.”

Do not routinely order electroencephalogram (EEG) as part of initial syncope work-up.

The fact that you can actually have a false positive EEG test should help you understand this whole issue a little better.

So how do you reduce the chance that you will have a false positive test result – or a false negative for that matter?

“A given test will have a higher positive predictive value in those patients with a higher prior probability of disease.”

Sensitivity, Specificity, and Predictive Values of Diagnostic and Screening Tests

You have to understand the sensitivity, specificity, and predictive values of the tests you use. And the things that influence them.

“The positive and negative predictive values vary considerably depending upon the prevalence of influenza (level of influenza activity) in the patient population being tested.”

Rapid Diagnostic Testing for Influenza: Information for Clinical Laboratory Directors

For example, when no one has the flu and disease prevalence is low, you are more likely to have false-positive rapid antigen test results. So that positive flu test this year, when no one has the flu might not actually mean that you have the flu either. It is probably a false positive, which makes you wonder why the test was done in the first place…

And know that you can’t just test everyone for everything…

More on Lab Tests That Are Often Misinterpreted

Mental Health Treatment Tips for Teens

Things your teen can do to help them cope with anxiety, depression, insomnia, and other mental health issues.

What do we do when our kids are having mental health problems?

Counseling?

Medication?

There are many tools your teen can learn to help them manage anxiety, stress, and other mental health issues.
There are many tools your teen can learn to help them manage anxiety, stress, and other mental health issues.

Cognitive behavioral therapy?

Whatever we do, there are times when they might need a little more help

Mental Health Treatment Tips for Teens

Most importantly, teens with mental health issues, like depression and anxiety, should know what to do when these specific problems flare up (follow the links for detailed advice):

  1. extra anxiety – learn to manage anxiety when it attacks with different exercises, like deep breathing, focusing on their five senses, thinking positively for 12 seconds, or laughing at a video they typically find funny, etc.
  2. extra social anxiety – are there specific social situations that make your anxiety worse during which you will need extra help
  3. extra sadness – learn grounding and mindfullness skills
  4. not being able to sleep – teens who have trouble sleeping should learn about progressive muscle relaxation and guided imagery
  5. not being able to get out of bed – call your health care provider if this happens most days and have a plan in case it happens once in a while
  6. feeling lonely
  7. wanting to self medicate – see your health care professional if you are turning to drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism to deal with stress. Overeating is another negative coping skill to avoid.
  8. getting more easily distracted – talk to your health care provider, as this can be a sign of worsening anxiety and depression
  9. getting angry
  10. coping with a breakup – how can they deal with the heartbreak after a breakup?
  11. getting bullied – you’re not alone.
  12. feeling like you want to hurt yourself – teens thinking of hurting themselves should know that they should seek immediate help

Whatever they are going through, it is especially important that your teen knows that things will get better!

Although that often doesn’t seem likely when you are in the middle of a crisis, it is true.

That can be easier to understand once you review these stories of hope and recovery!

What else can you do?

In general, things like keeping a journal, getting daily exercise, and talking to your friends and family members are positive coping skills that can be helpful.

Create healthy habits and avoid spending too much time online.

“We all need a little extra help sometimes. If you are feeling sad, afraid or overwhelmed, talk to someone you trust – whether it is a family member, close friend, therapist, or case manager. It is important to reach out for help if you need it.”

Hey Teens! Take Care of Your Mental Health

You can also always talk to your pediatrician or other health care provider.

More on Mental Health Tips for Teens

Other Treatments for ADHD

In addition to stimulant and non-stimulant medications, behavior management therapy can help your child with ADHD.

So most people know that stimulant and non-stimulant medications are available as treatment for ADHD.

But what else is available?

Other Treatments for ADHD

Wait, why would you need to consider other treatments?

Well, believe it or not, some kids can’t tolerate stimulants.

And others either can’t tolerate non-stimulants either, or neither work for them.

So what’s left?

There’s behavior management therapy.

In fact, although it is often overlooked, it is important to remember that behavior management therapy should be the first treatment for younger, preschool children with ADHD.

“There are many forms of behavior therapy, but all have a common goal—to change the child’s physical and social environments to help the child improve his behavior.”

Behavior Therapy for Children with ADHD

And even though older kids are often treated with medication, they too might benefit from behavior management therapy.

“Under this approach, parents, teachers, and other caregivers learn better ways to work with and relate to the child with ADHD. You will learn how to set and enforce rules, help your child understand what he needs to do, use discipline effectively, and encourage good behavior. Your child will learn better ways to control his behavior as a result. You will learn how to be more consistent.”

Behavior Therapy for Children with ADHD

Typical behavior management therapy techniques might include positive reinforcement and allowing your child to earn rewards for desired behaviors and withdrawing privileges to try and decrease other behaviors.

You also want to help your child:

Some children with ADHD may also need social skills training and behavioral therapy for help controlling impulsive behavior.

Once you find a therapist, you can expect it to take time for your child to master the behavioral therapy techniques and better control his ADHD symptoms.
Once you find a therapist, you can expect it to take time for your child to master the behavioral therapy techniques and better control his ADHD symptoms.

And of course, accommodations at school (504 Plan vs IEP) can also be helpful so that your child has extra time to take tests if needed, modified instructions and assignments, and extra break time, etc.

What About Alternative ADHD Treatments?

What about all of those “other” treatments for ADHD that you might have heard about?

At those homeopathic dilutions, it is unlikely that there is any real active ingredient left in the Brillia pills. Remember, homeopathy works by the law of the minimum dose and  although it doesn't say it on the label, homeopathic medications only contain a "memory" of an active ingredient.
At those homeopathic dilutions, it is unlikely that there is any real active ingredient left in the Brillia pills. Remember, homeopathy works by the law of the minimum dose and although it doesn’t say it on the label, homeopathic medications only contain a “memory” of an active ingredient.

Restrictive diets, vitamins, minerals, brain training, and homeopathic remedies that are basically diluted to nothing…

Nutritional lithium, probiotics, and digestive enzymes…

You are actually trying to help your child with ADHD, right?

If all you have tried are alternative therapies to try and help your child with ADHD, then it's time to talk to your pediatrician about some real treatments.
If all you have tried are alternative therapies to try and help your child with ADHD, then it’s time to talk to your pediatrician about some real treatments.

Then try something that at least has a chance of working…

And if nothing works, keep in mind that your child might not actually have ADHD. Maybe something else is causing their symptoms or problems, like obstructive sleep apnea, depression, anxiety, or a learning disability, etc.

More on ADHD Treatments

Pediatric Referral Guidelines

These referral guidelines can help you figure out when to refer a sick child to a specialist, how quickly you should get the child seen, and what to do as part of your pre-referral workup.

As much as we like to create a medical home for our kids, there are times when we have to refer them to specialists to help diagnose or manage an issue.

It is sometimes hard to know when that time is though.

Or what you can do before you start the referral process.

Do you know what to do as part of pre-referral workup for a child with short stature?
Do you know what to do as part of pre-referral workup for a child with short stature?

Reviewing our collection of pediatric referral guidelines can help to make sure that you send the right patient to the right specialist at the right time. And can help avoid unnecessary referrals and testing!

Pediatric Referral Guidelines

This is especially important because it can sometimes take time to get a pediatric patient in to see a specialist, so you don’t want a sick child to wait months only to discover that you could have or should have done something else.

Most importantly, these types of guidelines can help you figure out when to refer a sick child to a specialist, how quickly you should get the child seen, and what to do as part of your pre-referral workup.

Do the specialists you routinely refer to have their own guidelines you can look to before referring a patient?

If not, consider reviewing these referral guidelines for:

  • adolescent medicine – abnormal uterine bleeding, eating disorders
  • pediatric allergy & immunology – allergic rhinoconjunctivitis, anaphylaxis, asthma, atopic dermatitis, drug allergy, eosinophilic esophagitis, food allergy, immunodeficiency, insect hypersensitivity, sinusitis, urticaria/angiodema
  • back pain
  • pediatric cardiology – heart murmur, palpitations, arrhythmia, abnormal ECG, chest pain, syncope, hypertension, Kawasaki, genetic disorders, premature and term infants, hyperlipidemia
  • concussions
  • developmental-behavioral pediatrics – speech/language delay, delayed milestones, ADHD, preschool behavior disorder, autism
  • eating disorders – anorexia nervosa, bulimia, avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder
  • pediatric endocrinology – hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, goiter, thyroid nodule, diabetes, obesity, acanthosis nigricans, short stature, failure to thrive, precocious puberty, premature thelarche, premature adrenarche, delayed puberty
  • pediatric gastroenterology – abdominal pain, celiac disease, chron’s disease, diarrhea, hematochezia, food allergy, peptic ulcer disease, GER, vomiting, constipation, failure to thrive, eosinophilic esophagitis
  • GI conditions – abdominal pain, constipation, reflux, failure to thrive, vomiting, diarrhea, celiac disease, Crohn’s Disease / Ulcerative Colitis, Suspected Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE)
  • pediatric headaches
  • pediatric hematology – anemia, thrombocytopenia, neutropenia, coagulation defects (bruising and bleeding)
  • infectious diseases – recurring fevers, recurrent sinusitis, FUO, recurrent abscesses
  • metabolic disorders – developmental regression, hypotonia, stroke like episodes, recurrent seizures, failure to thrive, hypoglycemia, abnormal labs, positive newborn screen
  • menstrual irregularity
  • pediatric nephrology – microhematuria, gross hematuria, proteinuria, acidosis, cystic kidneys, hypertension
  • pediatric neurology – recurrent seizures, febrile seizure, first seizure, developmental delay, tics, autism, concussion, headaches
  • pediatric ophthalmology – visual acuity, ptosis, dacryostenosis, glaucoma, nystagmus, strabismus,
  • pediatric orthopaedics – flat feet, intoeing, chronic knee pain, acute knee pain, scoliosis
  • physical or occupational therapy/hand therapy
  • pediatric pulmonology – apnea, asthma, BPD, chronic cough, cystic fibrosis, recurrent pneumonia
  • psychiatry
  • pediatric rheumatology – arthralgias, joint swelling, weakness, back pain, malar rash, extremitiy color changes, positive ANA
  • umbilical hernia
  • pediatric urology – balanitis, bladder stones, dysfunctional voider, dysuria, frequency, hematuria, hernia, hidden penis, hydrocele, hydronephrosis, incontinence, kidney stoney, labial adhesions, meatal stenosis, paraphimosis, penile adhesions, phimosis, testicular pain, varicocele, vesicoureteral reflux
  • urology – undescended testicle, phimosis, UTI, hydronephrosis

And if you’re lucky, you might learn enough in the referral guidelines to save your patient a referral!

More on Pediatric Referral Guidelines

Algorithms to Manage Common and Rare Pediatric Conditions

From an elevated ANA to a child with recurrent fractures, these evidence based clinical pathways, guidelines, and algorithms can help pediatricians figure out what’s the best next step for their patients.

What do you do when a baby has abnormal muscle tone, an elevated TSH, high blood pressure, or a high phenylalanine level ?

Do you refer them to a specialist for further management?

Or do you do a little research first, grabbing a few of your medical books?

There is an algorithm to help your pediatric provider figure out what to do if your kids have high blood pressure.
There is an algorithm to help your pediatric provider figure out what to do if your kids have high blood pressure.

Since these aren’t necessarily common things, you likely do need a little help to make sure you do the right thing, but on the other hand, you don’t have all day to research one problem…

So what do you do?

“Implementation of multiple evidence-based, standardized clinical pathways was associated with decreased resource utilization without negatively affecting patient physical functioning improvement. This approach could be widely implemented to improve the value of care provided.”

Standardized Clinical Pathways for Hospitalized Children and Outcomes

Having guidelines and algorithms to look to for some extra help would probably be nice…

Algorithms to Manage Common and Rare Pediatric Conditions

And here’s how you can quickly and easily find many of those guidelines and algorithms:

And of course, you can always look things up in a textbook, call your favorite expert, or refer your patient to a specialist if you need more help.

More on Managing Common and Rare Pediatric Conditions

%d bloggers like this: