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Medicine Monday- Bruising, Thumb Sucking and Anemia in Children

Posted Aug 12 2008 4:22pm

Hi Everyone!!

Welcome to my first Medicine Monday! This is where each week I post the answers to the questions I have received in the previous week. Some of the questions come from my readers and some from my clinic. Believe it or not I frequently have to admit that I need to do some research and get back to them!

Yes doctors look stuff up all the time and if they are not looking something up maybe they should!

Here we go:

Question #1:I have a healthy 16yo girl who bruises very easily. I mean if you touch her hard she bruises. She has been like this from the get go. She regularly has at least one or two and cannot remember how she got them. I was wondering if this means that she may be deficient in something? Any clues?

Answer:For most people bruising is a sign that there has been some damage to the underlying tissue. You run into a wall, you get a bruise. Reducing the injuries reduces the bruising. Easy peasy. BUT very rarely there can there be something wrong with the platelets or the body’s clotting factors. Why this is could be genetic or a side effects of a more serious illness. If you notice that your child bruises easily without any associated injury you should make an appointment with your doctor. There are some simple blood tests that can put your fears to rest.

Question #2: Is there any way to get a two and a half year old to stop sucking his thumbs? Harry is a hard core thumb sucker and is just healing from a very nasty blister that he gave himself. I was about ready to take him to the doctor from fear of infection when it started looking better and a lot less icky. This is not the first time that he has injured his thumbs and I naturally worry about it. Any tips? Should I wait it out since he is so dearly attached to sucking his thumbs?

Answer:Awww how sweet. I’m actually not a big believer of creating a lot of drama around the thumb. I have two thumb sucker children and I just let them be. Most dentists will say get rid of the thumb by age 4. And just how we do this I’m not sure. There are some bitter things you can put on the thumb but I haven’t tried this. I actually believe the thumb serves a necessary coping mechanism for some kids and I would say help him learn to cope using other methods as well such as a blanket or special toy.

Question #3.Is it better to treat iron deficiency before the child becomes anaemic or is ok to wait until the haemoglobin drops? Ivy’s MCV and other stores are low and dropping but she is not yet anaemic.

Answer:I would check Ivy’s iron levels and ferritin. You could then see if she might benefit from additional iron. But if she’s not anemic and her iron stores are normal don’t treat. Here is more info regarding iron deficiency anemia

That’s it for now. Next week we’ll talk a little about imaginary friends. It’s a question I recently received from a family I see in my clinic. What about you all? Have you had an imaginary friend? Or rather did you? What about your children? Anyone invisible hanging around lately?

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