Trains, Planes and Automobiles – With Kids!


Whether you’re spending a vacation day at local attractions or touring for weeks across the world, you’re going to have to travel to get to your summer destinations. When your child experiences motion sickness, it can ruin your whole excursion. 

Alzein Pediatric Associates is here to help you avoid and treat motion sickness to keep your family happy and healthy, no matter where you’re going this summer. 

Motion sickness is a common malady for kids ages 2 to 12. It happens when the brain gets confusing signals from the inner ears, the eyes and the nerves in the feet and hands. For instance, if a child is positioned in any vehicle – a car, bus, plane, ship or train – where he can’t see the outside, his inner ear can sense the motion, but his eyes and extremities can’t. All three senses must send the same signals of movement to the brain to avoid motion sickness.  Motion sickness is characterized by an upset stomach that could lead to vomiting, a cold sweat, paleness and fatigue. 

First, take steps to avoid motion sickness in the first place. If it’s a short trip, keep your child’s stomach empty. For longer trips, give your child a very light meal or snacks of bland food like saltine crackers – nothing greasy, rich or spicy. Avoid fast food. 

Prohibit your children from watching movies, playing with smartphones or tablets, reading, drawing or coloring while traveling. Keep your child’s attention outside the vehicle far in the distance through the front window, not the side. Play games such as The Alphabet Game, finding letters in order on billboards, the memory game I Took A Trip or Twenty Questions, which is easily adaptable for kids of all ages. Start a story with “Once upon a time”, letting each traveler add to the plot, line by line. Visit your local library for children’s books on CD. 

If at all possible, start your travel right before nap time or bed time, so children sleep during travel. 

Make sure your child tells you as soon as he feels sick, so you can do all you can to make symptoms tolerable.
• If possible, stop the vehicle and let your child walk around. Continue to take frequent breaks as you travel.
• Wrap ice in a clean cloth and place it on his forehead with eyes closed.
• If possible, open windows for fresh, cool air.
Help your child take slow, deep breaths to ease nausea.
• Bring along a cloth moistened with mint or ginger essential oil, placed in a plastic ziplock bag. Let your child breathe in that aroma.
Have your child sip ginger ale.
Apply light firm pressure to the inside of the wrist, or be ready with an acupressure wrist band. 

If your child has experienced motion sickness before that does not respond to these conservative treatment methods, talk to your Alzein medical professional. We may recommend ginger extract or guide you through administering over-the-counter Dramamine in children older than two. In severe cases and in cases of very long trips, we may prescribe Zofran to ease symptoms. 

It’s best to be prepared when traveling, even if your child had an iron stomach on your last trip. While most children outgrow motion sickness by the age of 12, a variety of factors including the intensity of motion and the level of stress or excitement can make symptoms appear unexpectedly. 

When you have questions about staying healthy while traveling, we are here to help. Call your Alzein Pediatric Associates medical professional at 708-424-7600 today.

A Summer Fashion That’s a Real Flop

“Bump toe” sandals, like the pink ones on the right, are a healthier, safer choice for your child’s growing feet.

One of the best things about summer is the wardrobe change. No more need to pull on snowsuits, scarves, hats, gloves and boots. Oh, the joy of shorts and t-shirts, being ready for the outdoors at any moment!

Alzein Pediatric Associates has a word of warning: Don’t get too relaxed about footwear. We know flip flops are super easy, but they are also cause a super amount of trouble. Flips flops, or thongs, those rubber shoes with just a strap between the toes, are one of the most hazardous choices you can make for your child. 

The most basic function of a shoe is to protect the foot from injury. Immediately, flip flops fail this test. Flip flops expose wearers to blunt trauma, punctures, cuts and scrapes. The toe straps can rub, causing blisters and open wounds. Because flip flops catch on the walking surface and bend back, your child is at a much higher risk for stubbed toes, torn toe nails and toe fractures. The foot is not held firmly in place in the flip flop so the foot moves constantly on the base, causing rubbing and blisters. All these wounds leave your child’s at great risk of contracting warts, HPV, staphylococcus and fungal infections of the feet and of the toenails. Even worse, tripping in a flip flop can cause serious bone breaks, sprains, and inflamed, ruptured or torn ligaments. Wearing a wet or damp flip flop is especially dangerous to stability and the safety of the foot. 

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Wearing flip flops as a child can cause a lifetime of pain. 

“Walking in a flip flop changes your child’s way of walking,” says Dr. Alzein. “This altered gait, caused by a shorter stride and the unnatural toe curling and gripping to hold the flip flop in place, abnormally stretches the arch and tendons, doesn’t develop the proper muscles needed for a healthy stride, strains muscles and bones, changes your child’s posture, and will cause life long problems in the feet, ankles, knees, hips and back.”

Flip flops will cause flat feet from lack of arch support, toe deformities, plantar fasciitis and bone pain. Flip flop wearers are more like to experience stress fractures from the lack of shock absorption and lack cushioning on the ball and heel of the foot. 

A better choice? “Bump-toe” sandals, available in a variety of prices at local stores and online. These shoes, the pink ones in the middle in the photo above, are easy to put on, dry quickly if they become wet and give your child’s foot the support needed. 

Dr. Alzein says, “Look for shoes that fit your child’s foot, both width and length. Avoid buying shoes with room to grow, as these are tripping hazards, along with causing blisters and sores, which again leads to an altered gait. Shoes should have both sturdy heel coverage and toe coverage. The shoe should not be able to twist or bend. Straps should keep the foot firmly in place in the shoe. 

Avoid passing shoes down to other children, as the unique wear pattern from the first owner will disrupt the next child’s natural gait and foot shape. 

“Never allow your child to wear flip flops while biking, running or using a scooter or skateboard,” says Dr. Alzein.

Is there a place for flip flops? “Yes,” says Dr. Alzein. “Flip flops are great for the beach and for the pool. Wear them there, and make a healthier choice for everyday shoes.” 

SLIT Allergy Treatment Changes Life Of Merrionette Park Youngster – Dr. Hassan Alzein pioneers emerging, no-injection therapy in Chicagoland

It was when her paramedic husband Andrew “freaked out” that Michele Costello really became terrified. Son Braeden’s eyes were so inflamed from allergies that “they looked like they were going to pop right out of his sockets,” said Costello. “And when Andrew flipped out, I knew something was really wrong.”

Braeden was just 3 years old when he started experiencing severe allergic rhinoconjunctivitis, beginning in the spring when the trees bloomed. He would suffer from a stuffed nose and itchy, watering and swollen eyes until the first frost in late fall. Often, these reactions resulted in a trip to the emergency room for the Merrionette Park family.

The family’s pediatrician, Dr. Hassan Alzein of Alzein Pediatric Associates, began prescribing the therapies available for a toddler, including prescription medications, over-the-counter medications and nasal sprays. “For many children with allergies, avoidance is the first line of treatment and can often be good enough – not having a dog, keeping the air conditioning on, perhaps taking an antihistamine when warranted. However, in Braeden’s situation, avoidance wasn’t enough or really even possible, so medication was necessary.” Unfortunately, Braeden’s allergies were so intense, these treatments were of minimal help and Costello worried about how many drugs and medications she was putting into her pre-schooler.

Dr. Alzein referred Braeden to a local allergist who performed blood tests and then recommended weekly injections, subcutaneous allergen-specific immunotherapy or SCIT, during the allergy season, but Costello just couldn’t bring herself to go through with that course of action.

“I couldn’t see myself taking a then 4-year-old for a weekly shot, and I wasn’t entirely convinced they would work, as the allergist mentioned that Braeden was the youngest patient she’d ever seen,” said Costello. The family instead adhered to Dr. Alzein’s medication recommendations, even though the Braeden protested that the frequent use of nasal spray was “shooting in his brain.”

Summer was a nightmare for the Costellos. “We went from having the heat on to putting on the air conditioner, never opening windows. There’s a big old tree in the neighbor’s yard that faced Braeden’s window, so of course there was no way he could sleep with the window open. All that stuff would blow right in on him.” Both Michele and Andrew were vigilant about protecting Braeden as much as possible. “No matter how tired he was, he had to take a bath before going to bed. We washed his hands constantly, we nagged him about putting his fingers on his face and in his eyes. We told him constantly, ‘wash your face, wash your hands’. We were always on him.”

In 2013, when Dr. Alzein attended a World Allergy Organization continuing education symposium about an emerging treatment for allergic rhinoconjunctivitis and allergic rhinitis, he saw hope for Braeden. Sublingual immunotherapy, or SLIT, was proving to be every bit as effective as the SCIT injections, but with a much lower risk of side effects and significantly easier treatment administration. SLIT, distributed under the name AllerVision, is taken orally, in drops placed under the tongue, at home.

“I realized that AllerVision could make an enormous difference in Braeden’s life,” said Dr. Alzein. “Unfortunately, it is very underutilized in the United States, but it’s been used in the U.K. and around the world for decades.” He arranged for the developers of AllerVision to visit his offices in Oak Lawn and Evergreen Park. “The developers trained all our medical staff on the testing, on the serum administration and answered all of our questions about the safety and effectiveness of these treatments. All of us, myself, Dr. Riff and Dr. Sundermeier, and Physician Assistants Ms. Molloy, Ms. Cermak and Ms. Denny, wanted to be sure we had complete confidence in the therapy before our practice began recommending it.” He spoke with the Costellos, explained the treatment and, with Michele and Andrew’s okay, began helping to change Braeden’s life.

Blood test results showed that Braeden was allergic to “nearly everything outdoors,” said Costello. He showed sensitivity to trees, grasses and weeds. Braeden showed no reactions to animal dander, dust mites, molds or mildews and did not present with any notable food allergies. His reactions to these irritants were confined to a miserably congested nose and irritated eyes; he did not suffer from respiratory distress.

Dr. Alzein also performed a grid test, applying a variety of allergens through painless tines to Braeden’s back and waiting for a “wheal”, an itchy, red and raised bump surrounded by a “flare”, which would indicate a sensitivity to a particular substance. The larger the wheal and flare, the greater Braeden’s sensitivity to that allergen.

All test results were sent to AllerVision, who formulated serums specific to Braeden’s needs. The medication shipped directly to the Costellos and Braeden, then 5 years old, was given eight different drops under his tongue at bedtime for several weeks. After that initial therapy, his prescription changed to three drops, all from the same bottle, under his tongue at bedtime. This would be administered for the next four years.

The serum contains trace amounts of Braeden’s main irritants, enabling him to build up a tolerance to those irritants through small, daily exposure.

The AllerVision serum is tasteless, says Costello, who says Braeden is not resistant to the drops at all. “He’s like a little baby bird,” she laughs. “He opens up his mouth and I drop them in. He actually likes taking it because he’s not itchy and puffy anymore.”

Costello was extremely regimented about the AllerVision treatment. She kept a chart inside a cabinet to faithfully track each day’s dosage. She noted that the bottle of drops is small enough to travel easily.

Each year, Dr. Alzein has repeated the grid test with Braeden. Dr. Alzein notes that the test results may not always reflect a declining resistant to an allergen; real life results are more indicative of the therapy’s efficacy. “We didn’t take pictures of the first test, but the difference between year two and year three was just amazing,” said Costello. “There is still some redness, but the wheals are not nearly as bad.”

The improving test results are borne out in real life for Braeden, now 9. “It has made a huge difference,” said Costello. “Braeden is able to be outside, to roll in the grass with the dog, to play baseball and football.”

“We used to go through multiple bottles of eye drops, using them two to three times a day, which Braeden just hated, every summer,” said Costello. “Last summer, we used just one bottle all summer long. He used to take daily allergy pills, but the last two summers, he had just very minor flare ups and we rarely needed medication for them.”

Braeden took his last drops on April 11 of this year.

Dr. Alzein notes Braeden’s new immunity to those allergens is likely to last his entire life; he won’t need to repeat the therapy. “Most patients that use SLIT will see improvements within two months and will experience complete remission of their allergies throughout the course of their life. Because we can safely prescribe SLIT to very young patients, we can save them from a lifetime of suffering.” AllerVision and SLIT is only effective for environmental allergies such as dust mites, molds and mildews, animal dander and pollens; it is not prescribed for food allergies.

After the initial prescription, the serum ships directly to the patient’s home, eliminating frequent doctor office visits, saving hundreds of hours for parents each year. SLIT is an eligible expense for Health Savings Accounts and FlexSpending. AllerVision is formulated with FDA-approved antigens and is endorsed by the World Health Organization.

Alzein Pediatric Associates is the only pediatric practice in or near southwest Chicagoland prescribing SLIT at this time and Braeden was the first Alzein Pediatric Associates patient to try the AllerVision treatment. The medical professionals at Alzein have now prescribed the treatment to dozens of other patients who are finding the same success that Braeden has found. More information about SLIT can be found at www.alzeinpeds.comor by calling 708-424-7600.

Dr. Alzein was touched by Costello’s trust in his inaugural recommendation. “Telling a parent that you have a new therapy, one that you haven’t tried before, and having that parent agree to use that therapy, especially in such a severe case as Braeden’s, that makes you believe you are doing the right things as a physician.”

Dr. Alzein, Costello says, is a unique pediatrician. Braeden’s sisters Brianna, 19, and Riley, 15, are also patients at Alzein Pediatric Associates. “Dr. Alzein actually listens to you. He believes that parents actually know their own children and he respects what you are telling him. He never dismisses you.”

For Braeden and the Costello’s, Dr. Alzein and AllerVision’s SLIT has been life-changing. “I would recommend Dr. Alzein and this therapy to anyone,” says Costello. “It has definitely been worth it.”

Alzein Pediatric Associates Now Cares For Patients Until Age 26!

Your children are now covered by your health insurance until the age of 26, which helps them stay healthy – physically, emotionally and financially. However, finding a new primary care physician they can trust while searching for a job, finishing an education, or finding an apartment is probably not on their list of priorities. Not having a familiar medical professional to turn to when your child is ill or injured, or needs an annual physical to ensure continuing good health is a real problem confronting many families today.

To help all our patients and their families access outstanding, regular health care through this transition, Alzein Pediatric Associates announces that we are now caring for the health and well-being of your child from cradle to CAREER!

Now, your children can continue to see their Alzein medical professionals until the age of 26. Our new policy makes it simpler for you to continue insurance coverage. It also makes it easier for your child to maintain their good health with an annual physical or make an urgent illness or injury appointment. Alzein Pediatric Associates has been a trusted member of your family for decades – and now we look forward to caring for your children for a few years more.

If your child has not had a physical in more than a year, call Alzein Pediatrics at 708-424-7600 to make an appointment. We are here to care for the health and well-being of your children, now from cradle to CAREER!

Helping our children through shootings.

Our children no longer feel safe.

Whether it’s at school, the movies, or the mall, the increase in guns and the decrease in mental health wellness have caused our children to be on edge, afraid for their lives – almost constantly.

Our children no longer feel safe. 

When a mass shooting occurs, as they do with sickening frequency, we are always forced to confront many questions. Here at Alzein Pediatrics, the most important question for us and our families is “how can we help our children?”

Turn off the news and deactivate social media accounts.
After you and your child have heard the news and the situation is contained, turn it all off. The relentless recycling of the stories, the politically charged postings and the constant flow of images can make your child – and you – become stuck in the terror of the moment, long after law enforcement has secured the situation.

Ask and answer questions.
Don’t tell your child not to think about it, or say you don’t want to talk about it. Your child needs your emotional support as they piece together their own feelings of shock, outrage and helplessness. If you are uncomfortable discussing a traumatic event, click here for resources that can help you establish a helpful rapport with supportive, understanding affirmations.

Understand behavior changes and get help.
Your child – at any age, including teens – may need to sleep on the floor of your bedroom, or may need to keep a light on all night long. Your child may not want to leave the house, may start having social or academic troubles in school, or may start nervous habits like hair plucking, nail biting or chewing on clothes. You may see bursts of rage, clinginess or dangerous social behaviors. Don’t make consequences your first plan of action. Communicate openly with your child and ask what they are thinking about when these behaviors occur. Talk through their fears and anxieties. If your child continues troubling behaviors or if they escalate, contact your Alzein Pediatric Associates medical professional and make an appointment. We can determine if your child will need small skills to help them through this time, or if greater help is necessary for your child to be fully healthy again.

Let them have their own voice.
The recent shooting in Parkland Florida has shown us what can happen when students become their own advocates. Encourage your child to become involved. Help them contact elected officials at the local, state and federal levels. Be willing to support them during protests. When your child reaches out to lawmakers, joins in a boycott or contacts a media outlet, they regain a feeling of power and protection.

Support the American Academy of Pediatrics and Alzein Pediatric Associates in our fight for gun violence prevention.
The AAP has always been an advocate for children and their right to feel safe and to grow up safely. The AAP lobbies to enact stronger gun laws, support violence prevention programs, research gun violence, protect the role of physician counseling and help children and families access crucial mental health services. To read more about the AAP’s position, click here.

If you are concerned about your child’s reaction to any mass shooting or public tragedy, call Alzein Pediatrics at 708-424-7600 immediately, or reply to this email. We are here to help all our families live, grow and thrive safely.

Castle Connolly Awards and Chicago Magazine Recognizes Dr. Hassan Alzein with America’s Top Doctor® Distinction


Evergreen Park  – Alzein Pediatric Associates is pleased to announce Dr. Hassan Alzein has been selected as a Castle Connolly America’s Top Doctor® for 2018.

Dr. Alzein earned his medical degree in 1988 and then completed his residency at the University of Illinois Chicago in 1994. He is board certified in pediatrics and is the founder of Alzein Pediatric Associates, with offices in Evergreen Park and Oak Lawn.

Both Dr. Alzein and his practice are well known for their exceptional commitment to pediatric healthcare while forming life-long relationships with patients and their families. Dr. Alzein has special interest in ADD and ADHD, asthma and allergies. He has extensive experience working with critically ill children and newborns in while serving in Pediatric Intensive Care Units in Chicago’s southwest suburbs. Continuing education keeps Dr. Alzein and the practice medical professionals at the leading edge of evidence-based advances in pediatric technologies, theories and treatments.

“We are committed to honest communication about pediatric treatments for our patients. Our families are urged to vaccinate their children whenever possible to prevent catastrophic health problems, to be screened for behavioral and developmental challenges and to follow up with any recommended specialists when an issue is identified. We are committed to seeing our patients grow up healthy, happy and sound, in body and in mind,” said Alzein.

An uncommon dedication to both the local and international community also sets Dr. Alzein apart. The practice offices are permanent donation locations for SWADDLE, the Southwest Area Diaper Depository for Little Ends, collecting disposable diapers of all sizes that are then repackaged and given to families in need through social service agencies. Each office also houses a Little Free Library, which encourages families to “take a book, leave a book”, ensuring that books that are outgrown by older patients will be embraced and enjoyed by younger patients. Dr. Alzein is also a founding member of SAMS, Syrian American Medical Society and has completed several missions overseas, most recently in Lebanon, to care for refugee children.

Patient mom Sarah Cordova-Bennett relates how Dr. Alzein became her child’s pediatrician before he was even born. “From the moment my son was born, Dr. Alzein was in constant contact with the hospital. My child’s body temperature was not rising, and he was jaundice. Dr. Alzein was extremely kind and compassionate and put all my worries at ease. For these past 10 years, (Dr Alzein and the staff of Alzein Pediatrics) never stopped advocating for my family’s health and well-being.”

Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. researches physicians at every community hospital in the nation, identifying those who are properly credentialed and licensed. Physicians awarded the Top Doctor recognition are nominated by physician peers and other healthcare professionals. These nominators consider both professional criteria and soft skills such as empathy, listening, communicating, inspiring trust and confidence. A commitment to patient education is considered. Credentials of nominated physicians are then reviewed by a Castle Connolly physician-led team before recognition is awarded.

Dr. Alzein was also recognized by Castle Connolly America’s Top Doctors® in 2014 and by in 2017. The practice was certified a Level 3 Patient-Centered Medical Home by National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) in 2017. He is affiliated with Little Company of Mary in Evergreen Park, Advocate Christ/Hope Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn and Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago.

Should Illinois Make My Decision About Youth Football?

Brain damage and sports injury concept


In late January, state Rep. Carol Sente introduced the Dave Duerson Act. The Act, named for the former Chicago Bear who committed suicide in 2011, would ban tackle football for children younger than 12 years old. The Act is a response to the increasing proliferation of reports of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, CTE, in football athletes.

CTE is a progressive, irreversible disease of the brain which is found in people who have a history of repeated hits to head. These can be hits that cause concussion, or may be subconcussive hits, events that do not cause symptoms. Symptoms of CTE include memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, loss of impulse control, depression, the inclination to suicide, Parkinson’s diseases and progressive dementia.

At Alzein Pediatric Associates, the health of your child’s brain is as important to us as it is to you. We’re here to answer your questions about concussions, football safety and CTE.

What is a concussion?

A concussion is a jolting injury to the brain. That movement within the skull case can cause bruising and damage to blood vessels and nerves. Your child may “see stars”, have their vision affected or lose their sense of balance or equilibrium, even for as short a time as a few minutes. Your child does NOT have to lose consciousness to have a concussion.

How do I know if my child has a concussion after the impact or injury?

Call our office immediately, or bring your child to Urgent Care if she displays any of these signs:

•  Confusion, being dazed, loss of balance, even for just a few minutes

•  Nausea or vomiting

•  Headache or dizziness

•  Sluggishness, clumsiness, sleepiness

•  Slurred speech

•  Blurred or altered vision

•  Sensitivity to light or to noise

•  Ringing or buzzing in ears

•  Behavior or personality changes

  • Difficulty concentrating or memory loss

Your child should have a CAT scan to determine if there is any bleeding in the brain that will require intervention or treatment.

Can my child get a concussion without playing sports?

Yes. Concussions in children are more common than in adults, even without involvement in high impact sports. A fall, bump or impact to the head can cause concussion.

Why are concussions dangerous?

At worst, a concussion can cause bleeding in the brain, damaging both physical and intellectual functioning permanently. Without proper recovery from the mildest of concussions, your child is at a much higher risk for another concussion. Repeated concussions or repeated subconcussive events have devastating effects on your child’s brain, and have been shown to cause CTE.

Why is tackle football a problem?

Unfortunately, no matter how good helmet technology gets, it’s still not effective in preventing concussions. When a player gets hit, his brain jars, jolts and bumps within his own skull. No helmet – or technology – in the world can prevent the interior impact of brain against bone. With every hit your child takes, whether it causes a concussion or not, his brain sustains an injury.

Why is youth football a problem?

The brain hits an important development phase between the ages of 10 and 12, and the newest data shows a strong association that repeated hits – not just diagnosed concussions – to the head before the age of 12 will cause significant problems. The study shows a 3-fold increased risk of behavioral problems, apathy, elevated depression and loss in executive functioning – even if the subject stopped playing football after high school.

What are the experts recommending?

At this point, researchers are still collecting and validating data, but the science strongly indicates that repeated hits before the age of 12 leads to both short- and long-term neurological consequences.

Do you have questions about sports injuries and your child’s safety? Call our office at 708-424-7600. We are always happy to help you make the best decision for your family’s health!

Put down that aspirin!

Round white pills and plastic pill bottleWinter brings a raft of viral infections to homes, schools, daycares, churches and other gathering places. Your Alzein Pediatric Associates medical professionals know that these colds, flus and other illnesses make your family miserable, and that you’d like to use over-the-counter (OTC) medications to relieve fevers, muscle pain, upset stomaches and more.

While there are, of course, a variety of safe, effective medicines, we here at Alzein remind you to never give your child aspirin or any OTC drugs containing aspirin, unless specifically prescribed by your physician.

The use of aspirin in treating viral illnesses in children under the age of 20 has been strongly linked to the potentially fatal Reye syndrome. Reye syndrome causes swelling in the liver and brain, permanent damaging and disabling your child. Without treatment, Reye syndrome is fatal within days.

Do not give your child any medications that lists as an ingredient:

  • Aspirin
  • Acetyl salicylate
  • Salicylic acid
  • Salicylate
  • Subsalicylate

Read labels carefully, as OTC medicines such as Pepto-Bismal, Kaopectate and Alka-Seltzer and their generic equivalents contain aspirin. 

Rarely, Reye syndrome can develop in children who have a metabolic condition, or who may have been exposed to toxins such as paint thinner, weed killing chemicals and insect killing chemicals.

You’ll notice Reye syndrome developing after your child has started a cold, the flu, or other illnesses, anywhere from a day or two to two weeks. Watch for:

• Diarrhea

• Rapid breathing

In children younger than two

• Frequent and persistent vomiting

• Aggressive, violent or irrational behavior

• Confusion, hallucinations, slurred speech

• Seizures or convulsions

• Fatigue and overall sleepiness

In children over two

Early diagnosis and treatment will save your child’s life. If you suspect your child has Reye Syndrome, or that someone has given your child aspirin or a product containing aspirin to treat a recent illness, call our office or go to the Emergency Room immediately. 

Medical professionals will order diagnostic tools that may include blood and urine tests, a spinal tap, biopsy of the liver or skin, a CT scan or MRI. Your child will remain in the hospital for treatment, receiving fluids and medications to increase urination, decrease swelling and prevent bleeding. Your child may receive machine assisted breathing help if needed.

Prevent Reye syndrome by stressing to all your children’s caregivers that, to a child under 20, aspirin can be deadly. Give only acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil) or naproxen (Aleve). Keep aspirin and aspirin related products well out of the reach of your children.

If you have any questions about Reye syndrome, or about prescription medications containing aspirin that your child may be currently taking, call our office at 708-424-7600. We are always happy to answer your questions, keeping your family in optimal health and safety.

Alzein Pediatric Associates Awarded Highest Level of Patient-Centered Care By NCQA

Alzein PatientCenteredMedical HomeDr. Hassan Alzein and the entire staff of Alzein Pediatric Associates is proud to announce that the practice has received a Level 3 Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) Accreditation from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NQCA).

“We are honored by this designation,” said Dr. Alzein. “The medical professionals here, Dr. Katherine Riff, Dr. Joanne Sundermeier, Kathleen Molloy, PA-C, Stephanie Cermak PA-C and myself have always been committed to our patients, from the smallest newborns to our teenagers who have been with us their entire lives. Our professional staff, including Charlene Synoga, Marie Armstrong and Kimber Nosalski, are also devoted to our patients and our practice. We are very grateful for this certification.”

NCQA is a non-profit organization founded in 1990 with the goal of improving the quality of health care. An NCQA seal is evidence that the practice has passed a rigorous and thorough review, including management techniques, high quality health care and outstanding customer service.

“NCQA’s formula is Measure. Analyze. Improve. Repeat. We have very much the same philosophy here,” said Dr. Alzein. “We are always looking for ways to make our patient’s experience better. We are constantly working towards shorter wait times, longer patient visits, more streamlined financial procedures, and of course, always improving our care with compassion and attention.”

Accreditation by the NCQA requires meeting more than 60 demanding standards in over 40 areas. Meeting a Level 3 Accreditation means that Alzein Pediatrics has made a strong and significant commitment to improving health care techniques while lowering costs, resulting in healthier and more satisfied patients. As a PCMH, Alzein Pediatrics patients have been shown to receive better care when they need it and have fewer hospitalizations and emergency room visits. Alzein Pediatrics medical and office professionals are also shown to be happier, and communicate that positive attitude to their patients.

“Working together as a team, putting our patients first and understanding the importance of the care we provide has resulted in our Level 3 PCMH designation,” said Dr. Alzein. “I am very thankful to our doctors, our physician assistants, our staff and to the NCQA for recognizing the Alzein Pediatric Associates. We have always worked to make our patients the center of our practice, and we are thankful that the NCQA has agreed that we do.”

It happens seemingly overnight…

Measuring Blood Sugar Level Of Teen Girl With GlucometerType II diabetes gets all the press, mainly because the disease can be preventable and can often go into full remission with lifestyle changes.

Type I diabetes, or juvenile diabetes, is a very different story. Scientists still don’t understand what causes Type I diabetes. About 15,000 kids are diagnosed with Type I each year and in an ironic twist, about 15,000 adults are diagnosed too, making “Type I” a much more accurate name that “juvenile” diabetes. For the 3 million American children and adults diagnosed with Type I diabetes, it’s a condition that they will never outgrow; there is no cure.

Type I diabetes is not caused by eating too much sugar, being overweight or eating too many processed foods. Type I diabetes happens when your child’s immune system destroys the beta cells that produce insulin in the pancreas. In a healthy person, the pancreas is constantly adjusting the insulin production to regulate blood sugar. In Type I diabetes, the pancreas cannot produce the insulin, resulting in uncontrolled blood sugar levels.

Symptoms of Type I diabetes include:

  • Noticeably increased and extreme thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Lethargy or extreme tiredness
  • Fruity or sweet-smelling breath
  • Dry mouth or itchy skin
  • Unexpected weight loss
  • Increased hunger
  • Cuts or sores that are very slow to heal

Type I diabetes symptoms happen suddenly, in a matter of days, and may create a panic in you and your child. Your Alzein Pediatrics medical professionals will order one of a variety of blood tests. Your child may have to fast overnight.

If your child is diagnosed with Type I diabetes, her blood sugar levels will have to be carefully monitored several times each day. The goal of treatment is to keep her blood sugar level normal, about 80-120 mg/dL before meals, and no higher than 180 mg/dL two hours after eating. Treatment includes diet changes and monitoring carbohydrates, proteins and fats, regular exercise and weight management, and using insulin when necessary. Insulin is administered through injections or a pump, a pod of insulin connected to a catheter inserted under the skin near the stomach.

Many factors affect a Type I diabetic’s blood sugar including insulin intake, eating too much or too little, certain medications, illness, stress, puberty and menstrual cycles.

When blood sugar spikes, your child will feel very thirsty, urinate frequently, have blurred vision and may feel hungry. His breath may smell fruity or sweet, he could become confused, exhausted or begin vomiting. High blood sugar leads to diabetic ketoacidosis, when his body starts burning fat and tissue for energy, releasing toxic ketone acids, leading to coma.

When blood sugar dips, your child will feel sweaty, and may experience blurry vision, clumsiness, dizziness and have trouble concentrating. Low blood sugar leads to seizures and coma and can be fatal.

If you suspect your child has Type I diabetes, call Alzein Pediatrics at 708-424-7600 immediately for an Urgent Care appointment. We’ll check your child’s overall health, order diagnostic tests and do all we can to relieve symptoms. If your child is diagnosed with Type I diabetes, we’ll work with you and your child to create a treatment and management plan that will keep your child at maximum health.

Questions about Type I diabetes or your child’s general health? Please feel free to call; we are always happy to talk to our families!