Dr. Howard Gollup is a board-certified pediatrician with Aurora Advanced Healthcare in Germantown. He cares for children from birth through adolescence. Though he cannot respond to individual medical questions, he welcomes your feedback and suggestions for future topics.
I just received my weekly edition of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. This publication with a somewhat macabre name is actually a very important and interesting periodical produced by the Centers for Disease Control. I was surprised to read that October is “National Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month”. I wasn’t aware Sudden Cardiac Arrest had its own month.
The month is dedicated to educating the public about what sudden cardiac arrest is and how to respond to it.
I wish I had a nickel each time a parent qualified an observation about their child with the phrase “I know I am not supposed to compare my child to another child, but…..”
I am not sure when the notion started that comparison is unkosher. Dr. Benjamin Spock, whose teachings on child care were followed to the letter by a generation of parents, wrote that comparing children was unhealthy for their development. However, he was referring to comparison that fostered competition, concerned that they led to feelings of superiority or inferiority amongst children. Perhaps the recognition that children are individuals with diverse talents and skills was twisted into the idea that parents should never compare children—even for the purpose of discerning and appreciating their differences. In the past, some physicians perpetuated the teaching. After all, pediatricians are an optimistic lot by nature, assuming children are normal until we have reason to believe otherwise. Or, is it easier to dismiss concerns with a cliché? Whatever the reasons are, the concept has remained part of common parenting culture.
There has been a lot of recent press examining the issue of head injury and concussion in athletes in general, but student athletes in particular. The lessons learned from players injured on the field are well taken, and can apply to head injuries in children no matter how sustained.
A concussion is any change in mental function after a head injury—any abnormality in the way the brain is working. It can be caused by direct trauma to the head, or injury to the body that. Indirectly, jars the head. It was once thought that loss of consciousness was the only meaningful symptom. Now, there is focus on less obvious, but significant, symptoms. One of the most important signs is lack of ability to recall events immediately preceding or following the injury. Other symptoms include headache, nausea, lightheadedness, vision problems, loss of memory, confusion, inability to concentrate, or sleep disturbance. Changes can also include signs noticed by others such as unsteadiness, weakness, confusion, or inability to follow directions.