blog twincity pediatrics

Have you met our nurse practitioners?

We are delighted to have two extraordinary nurse practitoners, Danielle Keever and Whitney Ewing, as part of our team at Twin City Pediatrics. These wonderful providers are beloved by our patients and deliver quality and compassionate care to each child they see. For those of you who are unfamiliar with what a nurse practitioner does, here is a brief explanation.

A nurse practitioner (NP) is an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) who is qualified as a medical provider having completed a Master's degree in nursing (MSN) and an additional two years of required clinical education. NPs diagnose medical problems, order treatments, prescribe medications, and make referrals for a wide range of acute and chronic medical conditions within their scope of practice. NPs tend to concentrate on a holistic approach to patient care, and they emphasize health promotion, patient education/counseling, and disease prevention. Most NPs maintain close working relationships with doctors and consult them as needed.

January 18, 2015

Milk, it does a body good...even when sick

Like most doctors, I spend a lot of time teaching parents how to help their kids feel better while they are sick.  I run through the list of things that may be helpful, depending on the age of your child and whatever is ailing them.  Tylenol and Motrin for fever or aches and pains, honey for cough, Vick's vapor rub  and bulb suctioning (especially my beloved Nose Frida) for nasal congestion and on and on.   I often get a surprised smile from a child when I recommend ice cream or a milkshake to soothe a sore throat - especially when I emphatically say "Ice cream for this kiddo.  Doctors orders!"  But parents sometimes are suprised to hear me encourage dairy while their child is sick.  

Turns out, there is a common misbelief that dairy products (milk especially) should not be given to kids when they have a cold or a fever.  Some people are worried that the milk increases mucus or phlegm production. Others worry that milk will turn sour or cause a stomachache for someone who has a fever.

But let's set the record straight!  There is no scientific or biologic reason to avoid milk when you are sick with a fever or a respiratory illness such as a cold. (Though gastrointestinal or stomach bugs are a slightly different story as we do recommend avoiding milk immediately after vomiting of in some cases of chronic diarrhea).

A great study was published on this subject in the 1990s.  Researchers exposed study participants to rhinovirus (the virus that causes the common cold) and those people then kept track of what dairy products they ate or drank and their symptoms.  Secretions from the nose were even measured (they actually collected and weighed their dirty Kleenex tissues).  And they found that the amount of nasal secretions and reported symptoms of degree of congestion had no relationship with milk or dairy intake.  Other studies have confirmed these findings.

As for drinking milk with a fever... not only is it okay, it's preferable to drinking plain water.  Typically when running a fever, a child loses their appetite for solid foods.  However, it is important for them to stay hydrated and continue to get calories and nutrients from milk to boost their ability to fight their infection.  So grab your blender to combine milk, a banana, some honey (if your child is over 12 months) and maybe even some peanut butter for protein to make a nourishing milkshake for your sick child.  Even young babies with fever need formula or breast milk, not plain water. The milk will not curdle or cause a stomach ache in any way. If, on the other hand, your child is vomiting, then stick to clear fluids until her stomach settles (at least 6-8 hours after the last episode of vomiting).