Care Philosophy

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MENDAKOTA PEDIATRICS is an award winning practice that provides personalized pediatric care for infants, children, and adolescents in an intimate, family-focused practice setting. Our families want a “medical home” where they can see their doctor and the staff knows them well. At Mendakota Pediatrics parents can be assured that each child has their own personal pediatrician.

We know health care is expensive and our families deserve to see a pediatrician. We believe that sick children should be seen the same day. We believe that impersonal, monolithic health care systems do not deliver the care families pay for.

We believe that pediatrician and patient families, not health care systems should make decisions regarding your child. Because we are independent, we have control over the sub specialty physician referral process. We are extremely particular about which physicians we partner with to provide the highest quality subspecialty care for each individual child. For example, we may choose to use a specialist at the University of Minnesota Children’s Hospital, at Children’s Hospital in St. Paul, or at Gillette Children’s Specialty Care. We also refer patients to private subspecialty groups that are not necessarily associated with only one hospital. We work with our families to choose the specialist who can best serve your child.

Just because we have an “old fashioned” personalized approach to Pediatrics does not mean we are old fashioned in any other respect. Mendakota Pediatrics implemented its Electronic Health Record (EHR) System in 2004. Our EHR eliminates paper charts (go environment!) and allows our physicians to access your child’s chart 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The EHR is also integrated with our Lab Service Provider (which does complex testing) insuring fast turnaround times for lab information.

Our Clinic Lab is nationally certified (COLA/CLIA) for all routine blood work, urinalysis, strep tests, cultures, lead and other tests. For more complex tests, we utilize the HealthEast lab at St. Joseph’s hospitals and the Mayo Clinic laboratory.

In 2010 we implemented the Diopsys Visual Evoked Potential test (see their information on our Welcome page) to examine all children for visual disturbances that cannot be detected by routine physical examination alone (including amblyopia, which can lead to blindness).

Winter Health

  • If your child suffers from winter nosebleeds, try using a cold air humidifier in the child’s room at night. Saline nose drops or petrolatum jelly may help keep nasal tissues moist. If bleeding is severe or recurrent, consult your pediatrician.
  • Many pediatricians feel that bathing two or three times a week is enough for an infant’s first year. More frequent baths may dry out the skin, especially during the winter.
  • Cold weather does not cause colds or flu. But the viruses that cause colds and flu tend to be more common in the winter, when children are in school and are in closer contact with each other. Frequent hand washing and teaching your child to sneeze or cough into the bend of her elbow may help reduce the spread of colds and flu.
  • Children 6 months of age and up should get the influenza vaccine to reduce their risk of catching the flu. It’s not too late to get the vaccine! Around 80% of all influenza illness generally occurs in January, February, and March.

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Hypothermia
  • Hypothermia develops when a child’s temperature falls below normal due to exposure to colder temperatures. It often happens when a youngster is playing outdoors in extremely cold weather without wearing proper clothing or when clothes get wet. It can occur more quickly in children than in adults.
  • As hypothermia sets in, the child may shiver and become lethargic and clumsy.  Speech may become slurred and body temperature will decline in more severe cases.
  • If you suspect your child is hypothermic, call 911 at once. Until help arrives, take the child indoors, remove any wet clothing, and wrap him in blankets or warm clothes.
Frostbite
  • Frostbite happens when the skin and outer tissues become frozen.  This condition tends to happen on extremities like the fingers, toes, ears and nose. They may become pale, gray and blistered. At the same time, the child may complain that his/her skin burns or has become numb.
  • If frostbite occurs, bring the child indoors and place the frostbitten parts of her body in warm (not hot) water. 104° Fahrenheit (about the temperature of most hot tubs) is recommended. Warm washcloths may be applied to frostbitten nose, ears and lips.
  • Do not rub the frozen areas.
  • After a few minutes, dry and cover the child with clothing or blankets. Give him/her something warm to drink.
  • If the numbness continues for more than a few minutes, call your doctor.

Winter Sports and Activities

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  • Set reasonable time limits on outdoor play to prevent hypothermia and frostbite. Have children come inside periodically to warm up.
  • Using alcohol or drugs before any winter activity, like snowmobiling or skiing, is dangerous and should not be permitted in any situation.
Ice Skating
  • Allow children to skate only on approved surfaces. Check for signs posted by local police or recreation departments, or call your local police department to find out which areas have been approved.
  • Advise your child to:
    • Skate in the same direction as the crowd
    • Avoid darting across the ice
    • Never skate alone
    • Not chew gum or eat candy while skating.
    • Consider having your child wear a helmet, knee pads and elbow pads, especially while learning to skate.

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What to Wear this Winter

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  • Dress infants and children warmly for outdoor activities.  Several thin layers will keep them dry and warm. Don’t forget warm boots, gloves or mittens, and a hat.
  • The rule of thumb for older babies and young children is to dress them in one more layer of clothing than an adult would wear in the same conditions.
  • When riding in the car, babies and children should wear thin, snug layers rather than thick, bulky coats or snowsuits.
  • Blankets, quilts, pillows, bumpers, sheepskins and other loose bedding should be kept out of an infant’s sleeping enviroment because they are associated with suffocation deaths and may contribute to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). It is better to use sleep clothing like one-piece sleepers or wearable blankets is preferred.
  • If a blanket must be used to keep a sleeping infant warm, it should be thin and tucked under the crib mattress, reaching only as far as the baby’s chest, so the infant’s face is less likely to become covered by bedding materials.

USDA Dietary Guidelines for Children

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If we are what we eat, then American kids are Fritos. That’s just one of the major findings from the new USDA Dietary Guidelines. Fries and chips are the only “vegetables” on the list of top 25 calorie sources; fruit juice is the sole “fruit” to make the leaderboard.

The prevalence of these foods plays a big role in the childhood-obesity epidemic, which affects far more than our children’s waist sizes. Many chronic conditions are on the rise among kids, including asthma, allergies, diabetes, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). And all of these conditions have been linked to what kids eat. Improving children’s diets in the following three areas that were addressed in the report would go a long way toward helping our kids stay healthy: Continue reading

How to Handle Head Injuries

I was less than two steps ahead of my 3-year-old daughter, Jillian, when her foot slipped off our front stairs. Within the seconds it took to grab her off the cement walkway, a nasty goose egg had started to form, and blood was gushing from a scrape above her eye. The result — a shiny black eye, an unsightly gash, and an odd-shaped lump — remained for weeks, but the doctor’s prognosis was good: Jillian, like most kids who have that sort of accident, would be fine.

If it feels like your child is constantly taking a tumble, you’re probably right. Falls are the leading cause of nonfatal injuries in kids of all ages, and they’re the number-one cause of head injuries in those under age 9, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Children under 4 are the most frequent victims of head injuries, and young athletes get mild-to-serious concussions on a regular basis. It’s not known how likely it is that a child who hits her head will have a concussion, partly because there’s no agreement among experts on the definition of the term in children. Continue reading

How to Treat Constipation in Babies

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A change in formula or in Mom’s diet could help combat constipation in formula and breastfed babies, respectively. Solid foods, which are often the cause of constipation, can also be the cure. Several kinds of fruits and veggies, such as pears and broccoli, can get things back on track, along with fruit juice and water.

When a change in diet isn’t doing the trick, talk to your pediatrician before employing other methods. The doctor might suggest rectal stimulation with the use of a cotton swab or rectal thermometer. This usually produces a bowel movement within several minutes of stimulation. Another possible is a glycerin suppository. If it works, it could take about an hour to produce a poop. Other suggestions may include Miralax, a tasteless powder you can mix into a drink; senna, a natural vegetable laxative; and lactulose, a synthetic sugar used for treating constipation.