Monday, May 02, 2016

Parents, step in before your kid glows in the dark

Tech in protective wear--child not.
If you've been to an ER recently, and I hope you have not, they recommend CT scans for many children's head bumps or intense stomachaches.

CT stands for computed tomography. To get detailed images of bones, organs, blood vessels, and soft tissues, it uses ionizing radiation.

Use of CT scans is growing worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.

Radiologists and other experts are urging awareness and accountaibility for CT scans on children.

One of the authors of the WHO report, Donald Frush, MS, medical director of the Duke Medical Radiation Center, says this radiation  in very high doses can cause hair loss and skin redness.

Children tend to be more susceptible because they are still growing.

According to the WHO report, the average dose of radiation in the US has increased since 1987, due most to medical procedures.

Parents should be afraid to ask questions.

--Why is this test necessary?

--What are our other options, such as ultrasound or MRI (no radiation)?

--How will they adjust the radiation to suit a child?

--Does your facility routinely do this? Is this a priority? Does the staff have proper training to do this?

It's OK to ask, Frush says--in fact, it's a good idea.

Look, I know it's hard when your child or even you are hurt and when you finally see a doctor, that doctor says we need pictures. But radiation can build up. At least ask.

Personally, I have succumbed to many CT scans...Now I will ask.

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