Category Archives: Educational

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Genetic Testing for Kids and Teens

What is the value in genetic testing?

If you could see into the future of your health, would you? As the medical world continues to discover new links between individual genes and health risks, the wealth of insight hidden in your chromosomes may be the closest we’ve come to legitimizing fortunetelling as a profession. Your unique human genome is your personal crystal ball, swirling with predictions for the future of your health. Through DNA testing, medical professionals can help you navigate inherited genes associated with vulnerabilities to illness or mutated genes known to increase the risk of developing genetic disorders.

While not all gene mutations and hereditary diseases are understood, genetic screenings often provide essential information to help physicians pinpoint and understand the cause of an illness. With this knowledge, physicians can suggest customized preventative care plans to help patients lessen the effects of current health problems and avoid chronic medical issues in the future.

For parents who are concerned for their infant, child, or teenager’s health, genetic testing may be useful to help identify inherited or abnormal changes in a child’s chromosomes, proteins, and individual genes. Genetic screenings, also known as predictive testing, are becoming a popular option for parents to be. For couples who worry about passing along hereditary illnesses or medically significant mutations, investigating their individual carrier status can help them better understand any future health problems their children may face. When carrier status test results show potentially harmful hereditary genes, parents are given the option to test their newborn’s DNA for any inherited genetic disorders or complications.

Since prevention and early detection is key to successfully treating many illnesses and disorders, genetic testing in infants provides an incredible opportunity for parents and physicians to improve the child’s quality of life. Parents who suffer from hereditary illness can now help their children avoid unnecessary medical struggles by working with their doctor to understand the best preventative care options for their newborns. From infants to adolescents, parents can use genetic testing to confirm or rule out a suspected diagnosis, connect the dots of current symptoms, predict susceptibility of late onset disorders in high risk patients, and detect the risk of specific contributing factors to known hereditary disorders.

Is predictive testing ethical for kids and teens?

Genetic testing is not innately harmful. However, the results can cause emotional duress for both parents and children. Understandably, many people would prefer to not know if they are likely to inherit an incurable disease. For parents who opt to screen their children for genetic mutations, it can be a heavy burden to bear. Parents who discover their children may likely suffer from an untreatable disease in the future often feel hopeless after learning their child’s lifespan may be shortened.

On top of personally processing the information, parents are placed in a tough spot when it comes to discussing test results with their children. Is it best to prepare a child for struggles they may face by divulging the truth of their test results? Is it wrong to not inform your child of their genetic mutations, so they can make the necessary health decisions to help prevent or lessen the symptoms of a chronic illness? On the contrary, is it best to not tell your child of potential health risks and possibly lose their trust if they choose to undergo a genetic screening as an adult? Or worse, will hiding potentially hazardous results and postponing treatment harm their wellbeing in the future? As many parents are quickly discovering, the issue isn’t clearcut.

Studies have shown many teenagers would prefer to know the results of their DNA screening. Many parents are already witnessing an increase in older children and teens inquiring about genetic testing. As genetic testing becomes more commonplace, we can expect the number of curious teens to increase. While this may not seem like an immediate threat, anyone with children can tell you techsavvy kids are quick to find new discoveries on the Internet. For some teenagers, knowing they can prevent or reduce severe symptoms of a disease is quite empowering. For others, the accompanying fear and anxiety may pose a greater risk to their health. Due to the personal nature of individual situations, handling the ethics of genetic testing is best done on a casebycase basis.

Preventative care is key to your child’s longevity and well-being, regardless of whether or not you partake in predictive testing.

In the past, finding proper treatment often relied on a physician’s ability to make educated guesses based on a patient’s symptoms and medical history. By analyzing known contributing genetic factors, genetic testing offers promise to expedite appropriate treatment programs and narrow the selection of viable prescriptions and therapy options for patients. For example, some gene mutations result in malabsorption of specific nutrients. If you are aware of the nutrients your body can’t absorb, you can supplement with vitamins or enzyme treatments to help alleviate your symptoms and prevent mutations from developing into a chronic illness. With detailed information on your genetic makeup, physicians can more accurately recommend customized dietary and physical health recommendations, as certain foods or physical activity may be detrimental to certain patients with scientifically understood genetic mutations.

Of course, it’s important to stress genetic mutations or abnormalities are not necessarily a diagnosis. Many people never experience symptoms or severe complications from mutations or abnormalities found in their genes. While test results should never convince you of a diseaseriddled future, being aware of hereditary strengths and weaknesses can encourage you to learn new health habits so you can avoid future illness.

Preventative care is the best solution for successfully treating or avoiding future illness. Perhaps the most important role of predictive testing is helping physicians understand a patient’s detailed genetic makeup, so they can provide an optimal preventative care treatment plan. For example, if a parent suffers from a chronic disease caused by a known genetic mutation, screening your child’s DNA may be beneficial to help predict or prevent the possibility and severity of the inherited mutation. By taking preventative health measures from an early age, proper treatment can prevent certain gene mutations from developing into a chronic illness. For children with diseases like autism, genetic testing can inform their pediatrician of specific contributing genetic factors influencing the severity of their illness. Knowing what specific DNA chromosomes are contributing to a child’s autism helps the physician provide a customized treatment plan for the child’s personal health needs.

If you’re interested in genetic testing, affordable options are available. Physicians generally do not offer comprehensive genetic testing of all 23 chromosomes, as costs to the patient would likely be exorbitant. Luckily, there are many credible online companies offering full genetic testing services to the public for a fraction of the cost. With genetic testing services available online, more families are able to use this valuable resource as a means to discuss optimal preventative care with their primary physician.

While new developments in genetic testing continue to spark further debate, it’s easy to agree any contribution to improve preventative health care is ultimately beneficial for patients. Preventative care is at the core of helping children and teens grow into healthy adults. Regardless of a parent’s decision to partake in genetic testing, preventative care is always recommended to help control unexpected infections and improve the quality of life for patients suffering from chronic conditions.

Kids and Teens Medical Group believes strongly in the importance of readily available quality medical care to maintain your child’s health. We are committed to delivering comprehensive preventative care with same day and walkin appointments. To help you provide a healthy future for your child, we offer nutrition education for families every Monday at our Pasadena location.

Our board certified doctors provide pediatric care to infants, children and adolescents. Please Click Here for more information on our pediatric medical services, or Contact Us online if you’d like to schedule an appointment or learn more about our hours and services. To speak with a staff member at either of our locations, please call the numbers listed below. To help our team better assist you, please mention this blog post and any questions you may have when calling our office. To reach our customer care team, please call (818) 361-5437.

How to Keep Your Child Healthy this Winter

Why Do Children get Sick More Often in the Winter?

While the cold weather isn’t necessarily to blame for the influx in illnesses, the conditions that winter creates can hinder your child’s immune­ system. When the air gets chillier, everyone rushes indoors and turns up the heaters. By doing this, people unwittingly create a social gathering for viruses and bacteria to mix, mingle, and sneeze their way around the room. Certain areas, such as schools, offer cramped indoor quarters complete with recycled air that, quite literally, blows germs and bacteria around the room. To make matters worse, cold weather tends to be drier, depleting your child’s mucosa of moisture. Mucosa lines the sinuses and the back of a person’s throat. This hydrating defense mechanism needs moisture to keep the nose and throat from becoming dry, irritated, and more susceptible to bacterial and viral invaders. Unfortunately, dry mucosa often weakens your child’s immune system around the time they’re heading into community areas, such as schools, where their body must battle the germs awaiting them inside.

Winter’s chilly air gets more blame than it deserves, but the season does contribute to living conditions that weaken the immune system’s defense mechanisms, making it easier for viruses to invade and grow in your child’s sinuses and respiratory system.

What Can You Do to Help Your Kids Stay Healthy?

In the upcoming winter months, it’s important to keep your child’s immune system at optimal health. This enables the body to avoid viral and bacterial invaders, as well as encourage a speedier recovery if a virus does happen to find it’s way into your child’s system. Keep your children’s bodies full of Vitamin C, Echinacea, and other vitamins and antioxidants known to strengthen the immune system.

If your child does happen to get sick, make sure they receive medical care as soon as possible. Treating a cold at its onset helps save your child a lot of grief and sniffles. For children who are running a high fever or suffering from severe symptoms, call your pediatrician or visit an urgent care facility immediately. When your child has a high temperature or unsettling symptoms, it is important that you do not let anxiety get the best of you. Stay calm. Remaining calm and aware helps your child feel safer, and also puts you in a better state so you can best assist them.

Your child’s health needs don’t always fit into a perfect schedule. Your child’s fever doesn’t care if it’s raging after regular business hours. That’s why pediatric clinics offer after hours or urgent care programs, like our Kids and Teens Extended Hours urgent care services. Our after hours clinic offers your child access to fast medical attention when they need it the most.

To help accommodate the influx in colds and illness, our Kids and Teens Extended Hours Care is available to help families in Pasadena and San Fernando Valley receive the medical care they need after our regular business hours.

How to Know if You Need Urgent Care or Emergency Care.

Many parents don’t know if their child truly needs to be taken to the ER, or if their child’s health problem could be treated at an Urgent Care or Extended Hours Care facility. If your child is not experience a lifethreatening situation, Urgent Care or Extended Hours is likely to be your best option. Emergency room visits often have significantly longer wait times for nonmedical emergency patients, and the doctors available are exclusively trained for general emergency care. As for your pocketbook, emergency room visits are notorious for requiring higher copays and deductible costs. If your child isn’t experiencing a medical emergency, visiting an after hours care clinic, like our Kids and Teens Extended Hours Care, will save you both time and money.

Here are a few of the health concerns and nonlife threatening emergencies we treat at our Kids and Teens Extended Hours Care.

  • Sprains, strains and minor fractures
  • School screenings and sports physicals
  • Minor cuts and burns
  • Allergies, rashes and infections
  • Fevers, colds, flu and coughs
  • Basic eye and ear care
  • On site Xray and lab services
  • On site infusion services
  • Vaccinations and boosters

Our Kids and Teens Extended Hours Care

Our Kids and Teens Extended Hours Care welcomes walk-ins, and works hard to ensure our wait times are under 15 minutes. To accompany our low wait times, we offer low copays, and expert care from Board Certified pediatricians who specialize in medical care catered to growing kids and teens. We make it our priority to see your child as soon as possible, so you can help them get on the road to recovery sooner.

Symptoms can mask underlying causes, which is why we strongly emphasize the importance of treating the “whole patient”. If you’re a current patient, we can quickly and easily access your medical records to help us better assist with your current health condition. Having your child’s medical history is vital to helping a doctor give an accurate diagnosis. At Kids and Teens Medical Group, we keep detailed records of your child’s medical history, giving our facility the advantage of finding underlying causes or unique risks that an emergency care doctor may miss.

If your child is a new patient without access to their current pediatrician’s medical records, we’ll ask that you fill us in on your child’s medical history after you arrive. We’ll combine your provided information with other medical information we can access by reviewing medical records available online and reports in our multi-hospital database. By creating a thorough medical history for your child, we can help them receive the right diagnosis every time they visit our pediatric facility.

At Kids & Teens After Hours Pediatric Care, our mission is to deliver comprehensive medical services and treat non-life threatening emergencies for families in Pasadena and San Fernando Valley. Our board certified doctors provide pediatric care to infants, children and adolescents. As a NCQA Certified Patient Centered Medical Home, we are proud to have NCQA Certified pediatricians working in some of the most prominent hospitals in the area. In an effort to help as many families in our area as possible, our after hours pediatric care locations accept MediCal, HMO and most PPO insurance plans.

Please Click Here for more information on our Kids and Teens Extended Hours Care, or Contact Us online if you’d like to schedule an appointment or learn more about our hours and services. To speak with a staff member at either of our locations, please call the numbers listed below. To help our team better assist you, please mention this blog post and any questions you may have when calling our office.

To reach our Northridge location, please call: (818) 2804268
To reach our Pasadena location, please call: (626) 7958811

Dangers of Fireworks – 4th of July Safety Tips

4th of July is a fantastic time to see displays of fireworks, as well as participate using your own store bought fireworks. We say “store bought” because you should never make your own fireworks. Unfortunately, fireworks can be very dangerous when not properly handled. The last thing you want on 4th of July is a trip to the doctor/emergency room.

Fireworks Safety Tips and Facts to Keep in Mind this 4th of July

  • According to the fireworks information center, 36% of firework accidents occur in the hands and fingers, most likely caused by improper handling or defective fireworks.
  • Don’t be fooled by sparklers – they actually burn up to a temperature of 2,000 degrees. There’s a reason 31% of fireworks injuries comes from sparklers.
  • Always supervise children who wish to participate – fountains are more for adult usage, but safer fireworks for kids include black snakes, poppers/cracker snaps, whistlers, and champagne party poppers.
  • You should always light your fireworks for your kids, while having them watch. Kids and fire generally do not mix.
  • No matter where you buy fireworks from, there is always a chance of malfunction or equipment failure, posing a serious threat to your health.
  • If a firework does not set off, then never try to-relight it or pick it up – it could explode.
  • Always keep water handy or nearby in case of an accident.
  • If you have pets, keep them inside – they may be very sensitive of fireworks explosions.

We hope you keep these fireworks safety tips in mind so that you can safely enjoy your 4th of July with your children. Our best advice we can offer is to travel to a spot where fireworks can be viewed or attend a fireworks display. Not only do they use the best fireworks possible, it is a much safer choice keeping you and your children out of danger.

In case an accident occurs, make sure you know where your nearest pediatrics doctor is located. A famous phrase to live by is “it’s better to be safe than sorry.”

[ratings]

Bracing for the Summer: Kids Sports Injuries Prevention

Kids love to engage in physical activity, whether it be indoors roughhousing or outdoors playing with friends, it’s always important to consider how your kid is playing. Sports – whether it be tee ball, baseball, soccer, football, etc. –  are a great way for kids to channel their young energy, but kids sports injuries may take place unexpectedly.

How to Prevent Kids Sports Injuries

    • Exercise – with the increasing cases of overweight children, it’s important to make sure your kid is in great shape. Not only is it beneficial for their health, but it will dramatically decrease the chances of an injury to your child.
    • Staying Hydrated – as we’re all familiar with, summer time can bring out some of the hottest temperatures. Combine the heat with heavy physical exertion while playing sports and you have a recipe for dehydration. Whether it’s sports drinks or water, replenishing your child’s fluids will keep them from unnecessary kids sports injuries.
    • Proper Gear – every sport will have appropriate gear that kids should be wearing if they are playing. Find out what gear the sport offers – helmets, shin guards, eye protection, mouth guards, sunscreen, etc. Don’t be concerned about how “weird” your child looks either, safety is always the most important.
    • Pick a Good Program – when we say “good” program, we mean choose an organized sports program or (summer camp program) with employees/coaches who are committed to your child’s safety. Make sure someone in the program is knowledgeable when it comes to handling an emergency situation (i.e. CPR and first aid training).

Accidents may happen, but the best thing you can do is be proactive about it. Following our kids sports injury prevention tips are a great starting point! In case an emergency does arise, we have same day pediatric care facilities in 7 different locations as well as pediatric urgent care with doctors on call.

[ratings]