7 Things You Need to Know About Sports Physicals

We moms spend our fair share of time in the bleachers or on the sidelines, watching our kids run, block, tackle, pass, shoot, kick, dance, cheer, swim, wrestle — and the list goes on. But before that happens, we should spend some time in the doctor’s office making sure our kids’ sports physicals are up to date.

stethoscopeMost school athletic programs require a sports physical before participation so, in most cases, it’s not optional. And it shouldn’t be because these types of physicals are designed to catch health problems that, if they go undetected, could cause serious health issues for young athletes. In most cases, a sports physical will only take about 15 to 20 minutes and they’re covered by most insurance programs. (If it’s not covered, cost is about $25.)

Here are 7 things you should know about why sports physicals are so important BEFORE your kid steps foot on the field or in the gym.

  • Doctors will ask about any past heat-related illnesses.
  • Doctors will educate the student and parent about how to avoid getting a heat-related illness.
  • Doctors will look at the child’s cardiovascular health and any potential problems.
  • Doctors will check lungs and blood pressure.
  • Doctors will check for any possible joint issues as well as flexibility.
  • Doctors will talk to you about family history, trying to determine if there is any link to people passing out during exercise or any incidences of sudden death.
  • Sports physicals can and do catch health complications that are capable of causing life-threatening conditions for athletes.

More questions about sports physicals? Click HERE to see an interview with Dr. Steve Goss of Mercy about this important exam.

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Check out Mercy’s new mobile health bus!

mobile unitWe all know people who are reluctant to go to a doctor’s office, right? And some people live so far out in the country that a trip to the doctor is a real challenge. So what if the doctors and nurses come to you?

Mercy has a new mobile health bus valued at $650,000 that will be used to reach rural communities and under-served patients throughout Northwest Arkansas and beyond. The 40-foot long bus is 8-feet wide and can provide everything from mammograms to heart screenings, giving people immediate test results. The bus may also be used for charity care services.

The bus is part of a $1 million dollar investment Mercy is making to reach more patients in need.

If you’d like to see the bus in person, you can get a tour of the new motor coach next week on Tuesday, July 29th at 10 a.m. at the General Mills office, which is located at 3605 Southern Hills Boulevard, Suite 300, in Rogers. (If your kids or teens are interested in the medical profession, this would be a cool experience for them to see this kind of mobile medical facility in person.)

Healthy Mama: When to treat a child’s fever

By Kimberly Steed, nurse and mother of 2

Every parent has battled a child’s fever. It often happens after the doctors’ offices have closed, in the middle of the night or on the weekend. As parents, we’re often left wondering, “What should I do, or should I do anything at all?

feverFever in a healthy child is usually not serious. Fever by itself is usually harmless and just the body’s way of fighting an infection. For healthy, normal-acting children with a rectal temperature lower than 102° F (38.9° C), medication is usually not required. If your child’s fever is making him or her uncomfortable, try giving acetaminophen or ibuprofen but be sure to follow the package directions.

As a mother, I’ve been there. My son had several fevers as an infant and early toddler. He was fine and playing one minute, and the next minute he was fussy, crying & inconsolable. Except for a few throat infections, Glyn has been a healthy child and eventually I started to recognize other symptoms such as a strange smell on his breath, a grimacing when he swallowed, pulling at his ears, not eating/drinking normally, or a red throat.

My husband (who is also a doctor for Mercy) recommends getting medical attention for a fever for the following situations:

  • Infants who are less than three months of age and who have a rectal temperature of 100.4° F (38° C) or greater, regardless of how the infant appears (Even the infant that looks well should be evaluated by a medical professional.)
  • Children who are three months to three years who have a rectal temperature of 100.4° F (38° C) or greater for more than three days or who appear ill (other symptoms might include being fussy, clingy and/or refusing to drink fluids).
  • Children 3 to 36 months who have a rectal temperature of 102° F (38.9° C) or greater.
  • Children of any age whose oral, rectal, tympanic membrane, or forehead temperature is 104° F (40° C) or greater or whose axillary temperature is 103° F (39.4° C) or greater.
  • Children of any age who have a febrile seizure. Febrile seizures are convulsions that happen when a child (between six months and six years of age) has a temperature greater than 100.4° F (38° C).
  • Children of any age who have recurrent fevers for more than seven days, even if the fevers last only a few hours.
  • Children of any age who have a fever and have a chronic medical problem such as heart disease, cancer, lupus or sickle cell anemia.
  • Children who have a fever as well as a new skin rash.

Besides treating a fever with medications like acetaminophen and ibuprofen, a parent should make sure their child is drinking more fluids because it’ll decrease the risk of dehydration. Also, be sure your child is getting enough rest.

One of the less effective methods of bringing a fever down is “sponging” or baths. Alcohol sponging is NOT a good idea, though, because of the risk of toxicity throfever articleugh skin absorption. If you’re ever in doubt on whether to treat a fever or what a fever might mean, or if your child appears ill and it concerns you, call your doctor for advice.

Last summer while Matt was in Alaska, Glyn developed a fever. He was playing with his trains, and this is how I found him. His temp was 103° F degrees. But after an injection of “vitamin R” (Rocephin) and oral antibiotics, he was ready to welcome daddy home. :-)

Kimberly is wife to Dr. Matthew Steed, whose number one passion is to care for the pregnancy and birthing needs of women. You may call him at the Mercy clinic at 479-338-5555 to begin your prenatal care and let him help you enjoy your pregnancy journey. His office is located in the Mercy Physician’s Plaza just off Interstate 540 in Rogers.

NWAMotherlode.com does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is for informational purposes only and isn’t a substitute for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor if you have questions about a medical condition. Don’t delay getting professional medical advice because of something you read online. This website doesn’t necessarily recommend or endorse any specific tests, doctors, products, procedures or opinions discussed on the site.

Healthy Mama: Struggling with separation anxiety?

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Dr. Matthew Steed and his daughter, Araceli, enjoy a refreshing imaginary drink during a recent tea party.

By Kimberly Steed, RN, MNSc. (woman, nurse, mother of 2 and wife of Dr. Steed)

The last few months I’ve been dealing with SEPARATION ANXIETY. Our oldest child, Glyn, never seemed to have an issue with me leaving or walking away. When and if he did, it was easily resolved. But that hasn’t been the case with our daughter Araceli.

Weekdays I have a sitter who watches her while I work, but every time I left the room she’d seem to have a panic attack! Strategically placed baby gates separate our home and as soon as I stepped over the gate, she suddenly started screaming and pleading, “Mommy, Mommy please don’t go!” It’s not only hard on her but also hard on me. I hated seeing her so upset, so I’d often try to stay with her longer — trying and hoping to her calm down.

Offers of rewards, delaying my exit, holding and hugging her never seem to calm her enough. I found myself getting more stressed, scolding her and even putting her in “time-out.” Over the last few weeks, her separation anxiety has improved and left me wondering if anything I’d done during those first few weeks might have made things worse.

Separation anxiety is a normal stage of development that starts at about 7 months of age. Normal separation anxiety is most common between the ages of 10-18 months and gradually disappears by 3 years of age. Separation anxiety may cause trouble with bedtime, resulting in an anxious, crying, and/or clinging little angel.

The severity and intensity of separation anxiety depends on how well the parent and child reunite, the child and the adult’s coping skills and how well the adult responds to the separation issue. A child of an anxious parent many times will be an anxious child. Separation anxiety is a normal stage of development and is only considered a mental health disorder in approximately 4%-5% of children and adolescents.

I wanted to know how to respond and what actions are helpful and appropriate when dealing with Araceli’s (our) separation anxiety. For a child with normal separation anxiety, here’s what I found:

  • Practice Separating. Leave for brief periods at first.
  • Plan separations after naps or feedings. Separation anxiety occurs more often when babies are tired or hungry.
  • Make up a “goodbye” ritual. Having a ritual reassures your child and can be as simple as a special wave through the window.
  • Keep things familiar. Have the sitter come to your home and when the child is away from home, have them take a familiar object with them.
  • Keep the same primary caregiver. If you hire a caregiver try to keep him or her so your child is not constantly left with someone new.
  • Make leaving simple. Tell your child when you are leaving and let them know that you plan to return and then GO. Don’t stall when it’s time to leave.
  • Reassure and don’t give in. Reassure your child that he or she will be fine while you’re gone. Set limits to help your child adjust.

After doing some research, I stopped letting my daughter know in advance that I’d be leaving. Now I wait until it’s time to leave and I kneel down and tell her I’m leaving, but I’ll be back. I give her a kiss and tell her to be a good girl.

At first she would cry and ask me not to leave. Then she moved on to “I need to tell you something” but couldn’t remember what she wanted to say. :-) Then she started asking me “Mommy, you come back?” Most recently, she is simply waving “Bye, Mommy.” Success at last!

After doing a little homework on this, I’m betting Araceli’s separation anxiety was likely made worse by my initial reactions. Now that we’ve tackled separation anxiety, I guess we should move on to the next issues… Thumb Sucking and Potty Training! Fingers crossed.

Kimberly is married to Mercy physician Dr. Matthew Steed. Dr. Steed’s number one passion is to care for the pregnancy and birthing needs of women. You may call him at the Mercy clinic at 479-338-5555 to begin your prenatal care and let him help you enjoy your pregnancy journey. His office is located in the Mercy Physician’s Plaza just off Interstate 540 in Rogers.

MERCY2NWAMotherlode.com does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is for informational purposes only and isn’t a substitute for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor if you have questions about a medical condition. Don’t delay getting professional medical advice because of something you read online. This website doesn’t necessarily recommend or endorse any specific tests, doctors, products, procedures or opinions discussed on the site.

Healthy Mama: What foods should I avoid eating while I’m pregnant?

healthy mama logo

By Dr. Matthew Steed, Mercy family practice doctor and obstetrician (and father of two)

Most women seem to have a change in appetite immediately after finding out they’re pregnant.

Your appetite may go into overdrive or disappear altogether. Along with the change in appetite you may notice strange cravings. Everyone has an opinion about what certain cravings mean as well as what you should and shouldn’t eat while pregnant.

So from a medical standpoint, what should a woman that is pregnant avoid eating?

Shellfish

no food or drinksUncooked shellfish, including oysters, clams, mussels and scallops should be avoided. Cooked shellfish should be cooked until the shell opens.This ensures that bacteria and parasites have been killed.  If the shell doesn’t open on cooked shellfish then discard, because more than likely the shellfish was dead before cooking and may have been sick.

Chocolates

It’s ok to indulge in leftover Valentine’s chocolate, but avoid chocolates filled with liqueurs like Grand Marnier, Amaretto or Kuluha.  All alcohol should be avoided during pregnancy.

Meat, Fish and Dogs

Make sure that all meats are well cooked and not pink in any area. Undercooked meats can have E. coli, salmonella and toxoplasma. Sushi should be avoided but California rolls made with avocado and cooked crab is a great alternative.

It’s ok to enjoy a hot dog now and then, but they are high in nitrates, fat and sodium, so don’t eat them a lot even if you’re craving them.Make sure they are cooked until steaming. Handle the juice from hot dogs and other meat packaging carefully and don’t let the juice come in contact with other food.

Due to the risk of mercury the FDA recommends limiting fish to 12 ounces (about two servings) a week and avoiding some kinds of fish altogether. Click here for more info.

Canned items like smoked fish, such as salmon or trout are okay as long as they are not from the refrigerator section.Those that are refrigerated can contain listeria and are only safe if they are heated until steaming or they are part of a dish that has been cooked.  Avoid carving stations and refrigerator-ready-to-eat foods. Make sure meat is well cooked and still steaming hot when it is served.

Ice Cream

ice creamAvoid homemade ice cream that is made with raw eggs.  Raw eggs can contain salmonella (cooking kills salmonella, but freezing does not).

Holiday Foods

Turkey should be cooked until it reaches 180 degrees.Dressing or stuffing should be cooked outside of the turkey and in a separate baking dish.

Ensure ciders and soft cheeses are pasteurized. Unpasteurized items can contain listeria. Homemade eggnog should be avoided since it is generally made with raw, unpasteurized eggs and alcohol. Check the label for store bought or opt for the “soy nog” which does not contain eggs or dairy products.

During the time that my wife was pregnant for each of our children she had cravings for sugar. She has told me that she would go through the cabinets at the house looking for something sweet. There was a box of cake mix that she said she wanted to eat, but would have second thoughts about consuming a whole cake on her own. She even considered just eating some of the cake mix raw. You should never eat cookie dough or cake mix raw. As long as the cake is cooked, then a piece or two should be okay for a woman during an uncomplicated pregnancy.

Don’t be surprised if you are eating things you never would before. Enjoy your pregnancy along with all the fun and odd foods you may be craving.

Quick Facts:

1.  Always wash your hands before and after handling food.

2.  Ensure food is thoroughly cooked.

3.  Avoid unrefrigerated items or items that have been sitting out for 2 hours or more.

4.  Avoid ALL alcohol.

5.  Consult your physician with any questions about foods to avoid.

What did you crave when you were pregnant?

Dr. Steed’s number one passion is to care for the pregnancy and birthing needs of women. You may call him at the Mercy clinic at 479-338-5555 to begin your prenatal care and let him help you enjoy your pregnancy journey. His office is located in the Mercy Physician’s Plaza just off Interstate 540 in Rogers.

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NWAMotherlode.com does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is for informational purposes only and isn’t a substitute for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor if you have questions about a medical condition. Don’t delay getting professional medical advice because of something you read online. This website doesn’t necessarily recommend or endorse any specific tests, doctors, products, procedures or opinions discussed on the site.

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