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Allergy

The parents of a 9-month-old boy were concerned about the bright red color of their son's feces. Over the course of an hour, the infant had 3 bowel movements that appeared to the family to be "more blood than stool." He had no fever or emesis and no history of unusual contacts or travel. There had been no change in his diet; he had not been given any dietary supplements, such as iron.

Severe disability and even death can result from the inappropriate diagnosis and treatment of a young child's wheezing, which is heterogeneous in its origins and expression. Consequently, a differential diagnosis is necessary to determine the cause and to develop an effective management strategy. Viral-induced wheeze, especially from respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), manifests as a bronchiolitis. Recent reports show that the cysteinyl leukotrienes are an important mediator of the airway effects of RSV infection and that leukotriene receptor antagonists reduce postrespiratory syncytial virus lung symptoms. Exercise-induced bronchoconstriction manifests as wheezing and can be treated or pretreated short-term with inhaled bronchodilators or cromolyn: long-term therapy includes inhaled corticosteroids and leukotriene receptor antagonists. Allergic rhinitis-associated wheeze may be the result of acute exposure to an allergen or simply from nasal dysfunction. Control of allergic rhinitis with intranasal steroids, antihistamines, or leukotriene receptor antagonists could relieve the wheezing. Asthma-associated wheeze requires long-term use of 1 or more daily controller medications. The primary goal is to navigate the child safely through the first episode of wheezing, consider the causes of the wheeze, and then evaluate the need for further therapy. All apparent causes of wheeze should be treated with the idea that if the apparent cause turns out not to be the actual cause, treatment can be safely discontinued.

Photoclinic: Eosinophilic Esophagitis

Foreign-body aspiration is a relatively common occurrence in children. It may present as a life-threatening event that necessitates prompt removal of the aspirated material. However, the diagnosis may be delayed when the history is atypical, when parents fail to appreciate the significance of symptoms, or when clinical and radiologic findings are misleading or overlooked by the physician.

A thriving boy was brought to the office 3 weeks after his first birthday. His mother reported that there was "something wrong with his knee." On visual examination, the knee appeared perfectly normal. On palpation, however, a 4-cm linear induration was evident over the knee fat pad, just medial and distal to the patella. It appeared soft, crepitant, and associated with the skin. No tenderness was noted on palpation; the infant did not object to palpation of this density any more than to auscultation, otoscopy, or anthropometric measurements. No erythema, ecchymosis, or signs of trauma were evident near the lesion. The only possibly relevant history was that the child had spent his birthday at his grandmother's home in the Ukraine a month earlier. He was constantly with his mother during that time, and no trauma was ever reported.

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Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is very common. In the United States, between 6% and 10% of children and adolescents are affected, as are 4% of adults.1 Children in other countries also have ADHD, although rates of comorbid disorders may vary from those found in the United States.2

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