Baby’s Protection from Infection

After your newborn comes home from the hospital, it’s normal to want to introduce your new little one to your family and friends. At the same time, you want to protect him from getting an infection from a visitor. A newborn can also get sick from being exposed to people by going out in the community. Many new parents wonder when is it “safe” to take the baby out in public. Trying to decide what is best for the baby in these situations can be difficult. And unfortunately, the answer is not always simple.

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Infect​ions in Newborns

Fighting infectious diseases today is much easier than in the past. Proper hygiene and proper precautions, along with numerous vaccines, antibiotics and rapidly advancing medical technology, help prevent many infections. However, some infections may be transmitted to a baby before birth. A fetus and a newborn baby have limited ability to prevent and fight infectiou​s diseases. Special care may be needed for babies who develop an infection before, during, or after birth.

Some of the diseases which can affect ​​babies after exposure before or during birth include:

  • Viral infections: Cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex virus, chickenpox (varicella virus), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), Rubella virus, hepatitis viruses, parvovirus
  • Bacterial infections:Group B Streptococcus, syphilis, Listeria, Pertussis
  • Parasite infections such as toxoplasmosis

How to prevent infection in your baby

  • Wash your hands with soap and water after changing nappies, preparing food or going to the toilet. You should also wash your hands often if you have a cold.
  • Try to restrict the number of other people who hold your baby in the early months, as far as possible.
  • In the early weeks, keep your baby away from overcrowded areas, such as shops and restaurants.
  • If you have pets, try to keep them away from your baby during the first few weeks.

Keeping Baby Healthy: Do I Need to Worry About Germs?

It is true that getting exposed to germs makes the immune system savvier. When the body is infected by a virus, the immune system usually figures out how to defend itself. Then, the next time you come in contact with that specific microorganism, the immune cells are ready. They can often fight it off without your getting sick.However, that doesn’t mean that deliberately exposing your child to germs is smart. Your baby will get all the germ exposure he or she needs naturally. You don’t need to help along the process by having your uncle sneeze on your baby.Keep in mind that germs like cold and flu viruses that are pretty benign in adults can cause problems in young babies. For that reason, parents should be very careful to protect their babies from germs in the first three months — and if possible, the first six.

At times you will have to balance practicality with the ideal situation. These tips sound straightforward, but everyone’s situation is different. For example, if you have older children, it is harder to avoid playgroups or schools. If you have lots of pets, it may be difficult to prevent them from having any contact at all with your baby. Talk to the healthcare team about how far you need to go to protect your baby from infection.As your baby gets stronger, you will need to worry about infection less.


Good Carbs vs. Bad Carbs

What’s the difference between a sandwich made on white bread and one made with 100% whole grain bread? Or, the difference between French fries and side salad made with spinach, tomatoes and carrots? All the foods above are carbohydrates. But the second option in both includes good carbohydrate foods (whole grains and vegetables). In the past five years the reputation of carbohydrates has swung significantly. Carbs have been touted as the feared food in fad diets. And some carbs have also been promoted as a healthful nutrient associated with lower risk of chronic disease. So which is it? Are carbs good or bad? The answer is that they are both.


What Are Carbs?

Carbsare molecules that have carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms.In nutrition, “carbs” refers to one of the three macronutrients. The other two are protein and fat.Dietary carbohydrates can be split into three main categories:

Sugars: Sweet, short-chain carbohydrates found in foods. Examples are glucose, fructose, galactose and sucrose.

Starches: Long chains of glucose molecules, which get broken down into glucose in the digestive system.

Fiber: Humans cannot digest fiber, although the bacteria in the digestive system can make use of some of them.

The main purpose of carbohydrates in the diet is to provide energy. Most carbs get broken down or transformed into glucose, which can be used as energy. Carbs can also be turned into fat for later use.

Good Carbs vs. Bad Carbs

Why are good carbs like fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains so good for us?  Here are some of the many ways.

Good carbs are:

  • Low to moderate in calorie density, which means we can eat filling amounts and satisfy our hunger, but not worry about going overboard on calories.
  • High in an enormous variety of nutrients.
  • Devoid of refined sugars and refined grains. In America, refined sugars like corn syrup now make up more than 20% of the calories we eat each day. That’s a big problem because our human bodies evolved over centuries and centuries to metabolize unrefined carbohydrates. Daily intakes of sugar in our bloodstream are directly linked to our current epidemics of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
  • High in naturally occurring fiber, which helps lower not only blood sugar and insulin levels but also LDL bad cholesterol. Fiber-rich foods also help you fill up on fewer calories so that you can lose weight more easily. A high-fiber diet also helps prevent constipation, hemorrhoids, and certain cancers.
  • Low in sodium.
  • Low in saturated fat.
  • Very low (often zero) cholesterol, and no trans fats.

Fake, processed (bad) carbs, the carbs consumed by most Americans, are:

  • High in calorie density.Just a few bites of a corn dog or energy bar, and you’ve taken in a bunch of calories.
  • High in refined sugars. Whether white sugar, corn syrup, or so-called “natural” sugars like honey and added fruit juices.
  • High in refined grains like white flour.
  • Low in many nutrients.
  • Low in fiber.
  • High (often very high) in sodium.

If you have a lot of weight to lose, or have health problems like metabolic syndrome and/or type 2 diabetes, then you are probably carbohydrate sensitive. In this case, reducing carbohydrate intake can have clear, life-saving benefits. On the other hand, if you’re just a healthy person trying to stay healthy, then there is probably no reason for you to avoid “carbs” – just stick to whole foods as much as possible. If you are naturally lean and/or highly physically active, then you may even function much better with plenty of carbs in your diet.

The Rise of Nurse Practitioner

The Nurse Practitioner (NP) profession was ranked #6 in the U.S. News and World Report’s 100 Best Jobs of 2016, and it’s easy to see why: good working conditions, the ability to be a dedicated provider, and increased job satisfaction are just few. According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), there are more than 205,000 NPs in the United States as of 2014, with an estimated growth to 244,000 by 2025. Nurse practitioners care for patients in a variety of settings and are one of four recognized advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) roles, which also include Clinical Nurse Specialists, Nurse Anesthetists, and Certified Nurse Midwifes. All NPs must complete a master’s or doctorate degree program, and they hold certificates in one of 8 recognized specialties, with Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) being the most popular at 54.5%.


The American Association of Nurse Practitioners reports that more than 205,000 NPs are currently licensed to practice, and an estimated 17,000 new NPs completed academic programs in 2013-2014. Clearly a fast-growing part of the healthcare marketplace, NPs are now getting paid more often for procedures patients commonly associate with physicians, helping to alleviate the struggle to access quality healthcare when physicians are in short supply. Primary responsibilities of NPs include diagnosing and treating acute, episodic or chronic illness, focusing on health promotion and disease prevention, prescribing medications, and performing or interpreting diagnostic tests.

History of Nurse Practitioners

The NP profession is a fairly new profession dating back to the late 1950s. Due to a shortage of primary care physicians in the United States, the need for NPs increased. Physicians began training nurses to identify and treat the primary care needs of children and families. With collaboration from pediatrician Dr. Henry Silver, Loretta Ford, a public health nurse, developed the first training program for NPs at the University of Colorado in 1965.When Ford conceptualized the NP role she envisioned the NP to assess, diagnose, treat, and evaluate—the same as it is today. The early NP programs granted no degree upon graduation, only a certificate. The first master’s degree NP program was established in 1967 by Boston College and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, the first organization for NPs of all specialties, was formed in 1985.

Specialty Fields

Some specialty fields are more likely to attract NPs than others. NPs practice in all types of specialties and settings: cardiology, emergency care, family practice, geriatrics, oncology, pediatrics, primary care, school health and women’s health.

According to the 2012 National Sample Survey of Nurse Practitioners, 75% of the NP workforce has earned certification in a primary care specialty, but less than half of them, 48%, work in a primary care office or facility.

The AANP data show that more than 16% of NPs are in internal medicine or pediatric subspecialties, while almost 9% are in surgical specialties and 6% are in psychiatry/mental health. Neonatal and emergency care, each making up 3%, and palliative care/pain management, at 2%, were the most frequently reported specialties in the “other” category.

Education Today

Today’s NP student graduates with either a master’s or doctorate degree and the ability to provide care in a wide range of settings, including inpatient, outpatient, and rural settings. Prospective NP students are RNs who typically have one year or more nursing experience in the area in which they desire to specialize. Current requirements for all NPs to practice include: a bachelor’s degree in nursing, registered nurse licensure, graduate nursing education, national board certification, and state-specific NP licensure and registration.

No matter what their chosen specialty, all NPs are a vital part of the American healthcare industry and are predicted to experience excellent opportunity in the near future.



Teens need REM Sleep

REM (rapid eye movement) sleep is extremely important for everyone, but in teens it is essential because their minds and bodies are still developing. REM sleep affects moods, health, and learning (cognitive) abilities. Most teens do not get the right amount of REM sleep due to the fact that teens’ sleep cycles are different from adults and children. Teens struggle to fall asleep at night simply because their bodies prefer sleeping in the afternoon and evening rather than at night. Teens are equally surprised to discover they should be getting between eight and ten hours of sleep each night.

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When puberty begins, teens face many challenges in obtaining an adequate amount of sleep. They must have a solid opportunity to sleep to accommodate for a rapid period of physical, cognitive and emotional development. As teens’ internal body clocks shift, their sleep stages shift. Circadian rhythms shift, causing teens to want to go to bed and wake up later. These changes often conflict with early middle and high school start times. The earlier a teen wakes up for school, the less time they spend in rapid eye movement (REM) – dreaming sleep which occurs more in the second half of the night and particularly in the early morning hours. Deprivation of REM sleep has an impact on teens on many levels, and the less time spent in that stage, the more they are at risk of negative consequences on their emotion regulation, learning and overall health.

Here are a few ways that sleep deprivation and inadequate sleeping habits can affect your teen’s overall well-being:

  • REM sleep directly contributes to emotional regulation, learning and memory– all necessary for successful performance in school, social relationships and self-esteem. Problems with learning, attention and emotion regulation can be caused by REM sleep loss. When a teen is sleep-deprived, they could wake the next morning feeling hyper and energetic, but over the course of the day they are more likely to have difficulty regulating their mood, become withdrawn and irritable.
  • Poor sleep duration and sleep period timing affect immune function.A sleep-deprived individual is more likely to catch a cold or lose some of their ability to fight infection.
  • Poor sleep duration and sleep period timing impact mood, especially if sleep disturbances occur over long periods of time. If a teen is consistently sleep-deprived month after month, it can contribute to depression, hopelessness and can even be a sign of increased suicide risk ideation. A chronic lack of sleep can create agitation and uncontrollable mental and physical impulses. There are other direct biochemical effects of sleep deprivation involving the irregular distribution of mood-stabilizing, attention-regulating neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine.

What parents can do

You can always educate yourself about sleep. The National Sleep Foundation publishes a Sleep for Teens toolkit that lays out issues related to teen sleep. One of the most important ways you can help your teen sleep better is to understand why sleep is so important.Talk to your teen’s school administration, to teachers and parents, and to the local community about the importance of sleep and the special sleep needs of teenagers.

Teens need between 8-10 hours of sleep to meet their needs and to perform at their best during their waking days. For teenagers, sleep is nothing less than fuel that powers their brain and its development. Sleep is a biological necessity and essential for health and daily functioning. It’s as important as a healthy diet and regular physical activity.



Mobile Health Industry Booming

The use of modern technologies for health-related applications is on the rise lately. The miniaturization of components and reduced manufacturing costs are helping to push mobile health into the mainstream. Moreover, the industry is projected to grow in the coming years. Telemedicine innovative solutions continue to rapidly expand in several healthcare areas such as primary health care, psychiatry, genetics, radiology and so on. A few major driving forces for the telemedicine market include increasing aged population, rising cost of healthcare and rising prevalence of chronic diseases.


52% of smartphone users gather health-related information on their phones. That includes information about a specific medical problem or procedure, or diet, nutrition, and fitness-related information. Other popular health topics include:

  • prescription or over-the-counter drugs,
  • alternative treatments,
  • health insurance,
  • depression, anxiety or stress,

However, searching for health information isn’t the only use of mobile devices among providers. Healthcare professionals widely use mobile devices for mobile health (mHealth) services as well, which is estimated to be a $26 billion market globally by 2018. There are many factors in play that are affecting the transformation of the health industry, but much of it seems to begin with the growing ubiquity of cell phones, smartphones, and mobile devices. 17 percent of mobile phone users were using their devices to look up health and medical information, and Juniper recently estimated that 44 million health apps were downloaded in 2011.

The amount of health data is exploding in line with the growing adoption of health and medical apps, much of it thanks to the increasingly wearable, portable and user-friendly devices using smart sensors that can capture and transmit all kinds of biometric data. Smartphones are connecting with these diagnostic apps and health-measuring devices to help you stay on top of your health and fitness — like Basis’ heart and health tracker, Lark, Fitbit, and Jawbone’s Up — to name a few.

Mobile devices will also change the way that we communicate with doctors, as physicians may help describe possible treatments or procedures to patients on an iPad using multimedia, visual cues, genomic/anatomical maps, etc., prescribe post-treatment apps to our smartphones so that treatment doesn’t end once you walk out the door of the hospital, or become a solution for modern communication platforms, like Skype, that will facilitate remote checkups, treatments, diagnostics, through the phone, or over video. Got a strange looking rash? Take a picture, or scan it on this app.

As a result of this shift in mobile health use, an increasing number of mobile health apps are being developed to cater to the needs of healthcare professionals. This rapid development opens up a large market of mobile device users in all areas of medicine from otolaryngology to anesthesiology, which healthcare organizations are realizing. Everything from care collaboration platforms to mobile EHRs or EMRs is being developed, which is attracting more and more healthcare providers across the globe. In fact, the global mobile health market is expected to grow annually at a rate of 33.5% between 2015 and 2020.

Nursing Mnemonics Tips

They say that the best nurses are excellent at obtaining assessment, and this is true! If nurses would look at the nursing process, assessment is the first step. Gathering information about the client will provide clues for what care you can give and what you can do. If you have a weak foundation in assessment, the rest of the process follows. But with the many ways to assess a patient, assessment has become an overwhelming process. To be more systematic, here are nursing health assessment mnemonics and tips you can use to accurately and quickly assess variety of patients in with different conditions and in various situations.

Nursing Mnemonics Tips

  1. Management of Heart Failure: “DAD BOND CLASH”

Management of heart failureis to relieve patient symptoms, to improve functional status and quality of life, and to extend survival. Medical management depends on the type, severity, and cause of HF. It can include reducing the workload of the heart by reducing preload and afterload; elimination of contributing factors such as hypertension. Remember the mnemonic “DAD BOND CLASH” for the medical management of heart failure.

D: Digitalis
Increases the force of myocardial contraction and slows conduction through the atrioventricular node; improves contractility, increasing left ventricular output, and enhances diuresis.

A: ACE Inhibitors

Promotes vasodilation and diuresis by decreasing afterload and preload, ultimately decreasing the workload of the heart.

D: Dobutamine
IV medication administered to patients with significant left ventricular dysfunction and hypoperfusion; stimulates the beta-1-adrenergic receptors.

B: Beta-blockers
Reduces mortality and morbidity in HF by reducing the adverse effects from constant stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system.

O: Oxygen – Oxygen may be necessary as HF progresses; need is based on the degree of pulmonary congestion and resulting hypoxia.

N: Nitrates
Causes venous dilation, which reduces the amount of blood return to the heart and lowers preload.

D: Diuretics
To remove excess extracellular fluid by increasing the rate of urine produced in patients with fluid overload.

C: Calcium Channel Blockers

Causes vasodilation, reducing systemic vascular resistance.

L: Lifestyle Changes

Restriction of dietary sodium, avoidance of excess fluid intake, weight reduction, and regular exercise.

A: Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers

ARBs block the effects of angiotensin II at its receptor; have similar hemodynamic effects as of ACE inhibitors. Serves as alternative for for patients who cannot tolerate ACE inhibitors.

S: Sodium restriction
A low-sodium diet (2 to 3 g/day) diet and avoidance of drinking excess amounts of fluid is recommended.

H: Hydralazine
Lowers systemic vascular resistance and left ventricular afterload.

  1. Level of Consciousness Assessment: “AVPU”

The AVPU scale is a system where you can measure and record a patient’s responsiveness to indicate their level of consciousness. It is a simplification of the Glasgow Coma Scale, which assesses a patient response in three measures: eyes, voice, and motor skills. The AVPU scale should be assessed during these three identifiable traits, looking for the best response for each. It has four possible outcomes for recording and the nurse should always work from best (A) to worst (U) to avoid unnecessary tests on patients who are clearly conscious.

A: Alert

V: Response to Verbal Stimuli

P: Response to Pain

U: Unresponsive

  1. Health History Assessment: “SAMPLE”

In general, do not obtain a detailed history until life-threatening injuries have been identified and therapy has been initiated. The secondary survey is essentially a head-to-toe assessment of progress, vital signs, etc. SAMPLE is often useful as a mnemonic for remembering key elements of the patient’s health history.

S: Symptoms

A: Allergy

M: Medications

P: Past Medical History

L: Last Oral Intake

E: Events leading up to the illness or injury

As a nurse, you always need to have the right answers to a problem at the right time. You are not allowed to make any mistakes, or the time to peruse through books seeking for clarification. With so much to cram into your head, mastering disease conditions and their treatment options is quite the challenge. Taking a different approach other than just trying to remember the facts as they are would make the job simpler and more bearable.


Hand Washing 101

You might be wondering why it’s such a big deal, but the truth is that hand washing is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of infection and illness. Not only does it keep germs from affecting you, but it stops any bacteria from getting passed to others and causing illnesses ranging from the common cold to the far more serious, Escherichia coli and salmonella. However, even people who understand the importance of washing their hands might not use a technique that’s actually effective. Hand washing might seem as simple as rubbing your hands together under the stream of a faucet, but there are several elements to consider, including the how long you should spend washing, how often you should do it, what temperature water you should use and what to do once you’re finished. Here are some tips on how to do it right.

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  1. Use cold or lukewarm water

You don’t need to use hot water to wash your hands! Researchers at Vanderbilt University found washing with hot water killed no more germs than washing with cold. If the water were hot enough to kill bacteria, it would be too hot to tolerate. Plus, they argue, hot water can irritate the protective layer of skin, making it less resistant to bacteria. Washing with hot water is bad for the environment. The Vanderbilt researchers estimate that washing our hands with hot water generates 6 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. each year — more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire country of El Salvador and about the same as 1.2 million passenger vehicles.

  1. Make the process fun

Make sure you scrub thoroughly, including the backs of your hands, wrists, between your fingers and under your fingernails, for at least 20 seconds, according to the CDC. To encourage kids to wash for a full 20 seconds, teach them to sing the happy birthday song twice while washing.

  1. Plain old soap will do the trick

While soap is necessary, anti-bacterial soap is not. Studies show it is no more effective than regular hand soap, and some researchers are concerned that it will lead to the development of drug-resistant bacteria, making it harder to fight germs in the future.

  1. Hand sanitizers work in a pinch

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers, gels or wipes, are a good option if you don’t have access to clean water or soap. But they don’t kill all germs and are less effective if your hands are visibly dirty or greasy. The CDC recommends a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol to maximize germ-killing power.

  1. Wash often, wash well

We all know to wash our hands after we use the toilet and before we eat or prepare food. Here are some other times your hands need a washing:

  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick or visiting someone in the hospital
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After changing diapers or helping a child use the toilet
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching an animal, its food or its waste
  • After touching garbage

When you wash your hands, you should have a good idea about safe water temperatures and proper washing techniques. You should also know the best way to dry your hands to ensure you don’t re-contaminate yourself after washing. But up next, you’ll find out the best ways to prepare for hand washing.