Renown Scribbles | Children's Health & Wellness | Renown Children's Hospital | Northern Nevada health information Wed, 23 Apr 2014 23:12:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Autism: One Mother’s Journey Wed, 23 Apr 2014 00:02:57 +0000 Renown Ness, Sparks Mom, Freelance Writer

I don’t think any mother is prepared to hear that her child has special needs. My son’s autism diagnosis jolted me out of parenthood complacency three and a half years ago, and at times I feel as if I’m still trying to wrap my head around it.

At six years old my Beckett is a wonderful little boy who delights in airplanes, loves his little brothers and writes his name on any piece of paper he can find. But Beckett has autism, and it has taken years and countless hours of therapy for him to be able to play with airplanes appropriately, show affection for his brothers and learn how to hold a pencil, much less write his name.

Despite the fact that autism is common among boys — 1 in 42 — I knew very little about autism spectrum disorders before Beckett’s diagnosis. And I certainly didn’t know the spectrum was so wide. In telling Beckett’s story I hope to share with other parents those things I wish I’d known and offer a perspective I didn’t have. I also tell Beckett’s story because I am proud of him.

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Benefits of Breastfeeding Mon, 21 Apr 2014 16:43:55 +0000 Renown Jean Hixon, Robin Hollen and Anne Franz
Lactation Consultants, Renown Health

If you are pregnant, you may be asking yourself if you want to breastfeed your baby. There are many benefits to breastfeeding. Here are some facts from the American Academy of Pediatrics that may help you with your decision.

Human milk is uniquely superior for infants. Your body makes milk specifically for your baby and it changes as your baby grows. Breast milk provides complete nutrition for your baby for the first six months.

Research has shown that breast milk contains numerous antibodies and immune factors that protect baby against  illnesses such as ear infections, diarrhea, bacterial meningitis, respiratory infections and urinary tract infections.

There are health and wellness benefits for mothers as well. Among other positive effects, women who breastfeed lose weight more quickly, have a lower risk of breast and ovarian cancer later in life, and may even have less of a problem with osteoporosis and hip fractures.

Breastfeeding is convenient and economic. The cost of buying formula can add up quickly, and with breastfeeding, there are no bottles to carry around and clean. When your baby is hungry, he or she won’t have to wait for you warm up a bottle to be fed.

Renown offers breastfeeding classes and forums. For a full list of classes, visit If you would like a private consultation with a certified lactation consultant, call The Lactation Connection at 775-982-5210 or visit

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The Miracle Month of May Thu, 17 Apr 2014 23:29:47 +0000 Renown Kiemmy Boc, CMNH Coordinator, Renown Health Foundation



May is for Miracles!
And you can be part of it! Across the country, and here in northern Nevada, the month of May is dedicated to helping sick and injured kids receiving treatment at Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (CMNH). Renown Children’s Hospital is the only CMN Hospital in northern Nevada.

Your support goes to purchasing medical equipment, research, training and helping families get the quality healthcare they need. Here’s how you can get involved:

Miracle Balloon Campaigns
Visit any Rite Aid, Chico’s FAS, Costco, Walmart or Sam’s Club and make a donation for a paper Miracle Balloon. Proceeds directly benefit your Children’s Miracle Network Hospital.

Now through May 24 – Rite-Aid

May 1 – 31 – Costco

May 1 – 31 – The Summit

May 1 – June 11 – Walmart

May 1 – June 21 – Sam’s Club

May 1 – June 30 – Chico’s FAS/ White House|Black Market and Soma Intimates

Miracle Madness Dance Marathon

Grab the family and hit the dance floor! Join us for dancing, arts and crafts, games and more!
Friday, May 2
4 p.m. to 2 a.m.
The lawn of the Joe Crowley Student Union
$7 each or $50 for a group of 12



Book Signing Event with Author Jan Zebrack
Former longtime teacher and local resident Jan Zebrack will autograph her newest book “Analogies for Kids.” Jan is giving 100% of the proceeds to CMNH.
Tuesday, May 6
11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Sierra Gifts
Sierra Tower, First Floor, Renown Regional Medical Center
Buy the Book


Credit Unions for Kids Coin Box Collection Campaign
Drop off your extra pocket change this month at participating members of the Northern Nevada Credit Unions Chapter League.
Now through May 31
Frontier Financial Credit Union, Great Basin Financial Credit Union, Greater Nevada Financial Credit Union and Financial Horizon Federal Credit Union


For more information on CMNH events in May or any time of the year, or to make a donation contact Kiemmy Boc at 775-982-4836. We also offer an online donation option. Thank you for making miracles happen!



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Beating the Bloat During Pregnancy Wed, 16 Apr 2014 00:24:30 +0000 Renown Tamsen Carson, PA, Renown Health

Unfortunately retaining fluid and having swollen ankles during pregnancy is very common and can be totally normal.  About 50-percent of pregnant women experience bloating or water retention.  It is usually the worst during your last trimester, but can really happen anytime during pregnancy.

The best thing to do when you see swollen ankles is to elevate your feet and drink a lot of water – it’s recommended you drink six- to-eight glasses of water a day. Sometimes, putting lemon in the water can help with the swelling as well.

If you are walking a lot, you will get swollen ankles, but don’t stop walking! It is good for you, you just need to plan to wear support hose, or tight socks that go up to your knees, which will help with preventing the swelling in the first place. As summer approaches and the temperature rises outside, the swelling will also increase, so it’s important to remember to stay hydrated and cool.

However, it should be noted that sometimes fluid retention can be a sign of something more serious, specifically preeclampsia. If you have sudden swelling, especially in your hands and/or face, it is a good idea to see your doctor and get your blood pressure checked.


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Introducing…The Lactation Connection! Fri, 11 Apr 2014 21:48:50 +0000 Renown Like any expectant parent, we have been counting down to the arrival of our newest addition!

Welcome to The Lactation Connection blog! This is a place where moms and moms-to-be can receive the latest information on all-things breastfeeding – news, expert advice, tips, classes, events and more, all from a team of certified lactation consultants.

If you haven’t already, we invite you to take a moment to subscribe to The Lactation Connection blog. As a subscriber, you will receive a weekly email alerting you of our latest blog post. If you subscribe this month, you will automatically be entered to win a $100 gift card to The Lactation Connection retail store, located at Renown Regional Medical Center.

The Lactation Connection Retail Store
Renown Health is committed to helping you in your breastfeeding journey. Our newly-opened 800 square foot retail store specializes in all-things breastfeeding. The store is located in The Shops at Renown inside Renown Regional Medical Center, across from Starbucks.

The Lactation Connection retail store features:
• Private consultation room for appointments with one of our five certified lactation consultants. Our consultants have more than 75 years of combined lactation experience.
• Sales and rentals of breast pumps
• Breast pump and breastfeeding supplies (bottles, bags, pillows, bras, etc.)
• Baby/infant retail items
• Infant weigh scales for drop-in weight checks
• Certified bra-fitter
• Lactation Liaison to assist parents to the proper level of care and resources for their needs

To make an appointment online, click here, or call 775-982-5210.
The Lactation Connection is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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Recognizing and Treating Head Lice Fri, 11 Apr 2014 00:27:57 +0000 Renown Chelsea Wicks, MD, Pediatrician, Renown Medical Group Pediatrics

Now that warmer weather is here, we will likely see an increase in head lice infestations in school-aged children.  Lice are wingless parasites that thrive on human hair. This is a very annoying, yet common problem in children aged three to 12 years old. Head lice are highly contagious in this age group because of close contact with one another and a higher incidence of sharing personal items such as hats, combs and hairbrushes. Though lice are irritating,  they are not dangerous and do not carry disease. They can cause some itching of the scalp as they do tend to bite and draw small amounts of blood to feed.

Though small, lice are visible by the naked eye. Typically you will notice the eggs, or nits, first near the scalp where they are laid. They are white, tan or brown in color. It can be difficult to tell the difference between nits and pieces of dandruff.  The best way to determine which it is is by trying to shake it out; the nits will cling tightly to the hair while the dandruff should shake off easily.  Adult lice are the size of a sesame seed and hatch from the nits about two weeks after being laid.  Adult lice can be seen crawling or moving around and they can live off the hair for up to two days.

There are several medicated creams that can be used to treat lice. Some over the counter options are very effective. Others can be obtained by prescription from your child’s primary care provider. It is important to use the treatments as directed. To help prevent re-infestation, wash all bedding and clothing that may be contaminated in hot water and dry at high heat.  If items cannot be washed, you can have them dry cleaned, or wrap them in air tight bags for two weeks to kill off the lice.

To prevent lice infestation in your children, talk to them about not sharing hats or any hair products with other children. Lice cannot jump from one person to the next (though they have been known to hop!), but they easily travel from one hair follicle to the next through direct contact.  If you’re notified that your child has come into contact with someone who is known to be infected, check their scalp every three to four days until you’re comfortable they are not at risk any more.

Treatment can be tedious and difficult at times. If you feel you have used the treatments correctly and you are still unable to clear the infestation, speak with your child’s doctor.


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Five Things You Should Know About Growing Pains Tue, 08 Apr 2014 15:46:13 +0000 Renown Vanessa Slots, MD, Pediatrician, Renown Medical Group Pediatrics

What are growing pains?
Growing pains are not actually caused by growth, as the name suggests. They are thought to be caused by muscle overuse since pains typically occur after an active day of running, jumping and climbing.

How do growing pains present?
Growing pains are described as an ache or throb in the leg muscles, most often in the thighs, calves and behind the knee. Usually, pain is intermittent, occurs in both legs, and most prominent in the late afternoon or early evening but occasionally will wake children from sleep. The pains may be severe enough to cause crying. Fortunately, growing pains are typically gone by morning and should not interfere with normal daily activity.

What is the common age for growing pains?
Growing pains occur between two and 12 years of age and are generally gone by adolescence.

What can I do for my child if they experience growing pains?
Gentle massage, use of a heating pad, giving analgesics (Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen) and/or stretching exercises may ease the discomfort.

When should my child be evaluated by a physician?
Your child should be evaluated by a physician if the pain is:

  • persistent
  • still present and/or worse in the morning
  • severe enough to interfere with normal activities
  • located in the joints
  • associated with injury
  • associated with other signs and symptoms such as swelling, redness, tenderness, warmth, rash, limping/inability to bear weight, weight loss or fatigue
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Ella’s Story Thu, 03 Apr 2014 17:00:20 +0000 Renown In just 24 hours, Jennifer Marini’s infant daughter went from a healthy, thriving baby to completely paralyzed from the neck down. Ella was diagnosed with Transverse Myelitis, a neurological disorder that has no known cure. Jennifer shares their story of courage and hope for the future.

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What You Need to Know About RSV Bronchiolitis Tue, 01 Apr 2014 15:52:40 +0000 Renown Chelsea Wicks, MD, Pediatrician, Renown Medical Group Pediatrics

Bronchiolitis is inflammation of the small airways in the lungs that tends to happen in infants and young children, often due to viral infection. The symptoms are often similar to an asthma attack. There tends to be a bad cough and it can frequently lead to difficulty breathing.

Respiratory Syncytial Virus, commonly known as RSV, is one of the specific viruses that can cause bronchiolitis.  RSV tends to be prevalent in our community of Northern Nevada in late winter, typically February and March. This year, I continue to see children with RSV even this late in the season. This virus can be deadly to young infants, especially those who were born prematurely and young children with chronic lung disease, including asthma.

RSV is spread by respiratory droplets and is highly contagious. It can travel through the air and can live on hard surfaces such as counter tops and door knobs. The best way to prevent RSV is good hand washing techniques and limiting exposure to others who are ill with upper respiratory infections. Though it can be deadly in small infants, it may present as a common cold in an adult.

To help prevent RSV infection, high-risk infants may also qualify for an injection that is given monthly during the winter months. Because there are limited supplies of this medication, each infant has to be assessed to see if they qualify. Your general pediatrician or pediatric specialist can help you determine if your child qualifies.

There is no specific treatment for RSV once it has been contracted. We can only provide supportive care such as breathing treatments, oxygen if needed and occasionally steroids to help with the inflammation. Not all children are at risk for difficulty breathing due to RSV, but if you are ever at all concerned that your child is having trouble breathing, it is important to have them assessed as soon as possible.

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What is a Midwife? Thu, 27 Mar 2014 18:12:02 +0000 Renown Jessica Good, Certified Nurse Midwife, Renown Health 

A Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) is a person who received a Masters degree specializing in taking care of women, both during and outside of pregnancy. Nurse Midwives are also qualified to take care of newborns in their early life.

Typically, midwives are nurses first. The schooling takes two to three years and midwives must be certified in order to practice, meaning they have to all meet the same standards. Midwives are different than doctors in that they are with expectant mothers during labor and are present for more of the labor experience. In addition, CNMs help the moms-to-be with a lot with support – during pregnancy, labor and birth, trusting that intervention is not needed in a normal labor.

Midwives help women who desire a natural birth without pain medication, but also support women who choose to have an epidural or other pain medication. Midwives also assist with breastfeeding and postpartum complications that may arise.

At Renown Health, midwives work with healthy pregnant women who do not have a very high risk pregnancy. They work in partnership with physicians, so in case a physician is needed in a high risk situation, there is always someone available. Midwives at Renown Health are qualified to assist on surgical birth, so they can continue to offer support to their patients in the case that a C-section or other surgery is necessary.

You may have heard of a term called a lay midwife. This type of midwife did not receive education in the same way as a Certified Nurse Midwife. They are not permitted to deliver babies in the hospital and typically work with women who want a home birth. There are currently no CNMs that do home births in Reno, though CNMs around the world work in many different settings.

For more information or to schedule an appointment with a midwife, call 775-982-4100.


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