Nurse practitioner NP A registered nurse RN with additional education and training in a specialty

area such as family practice or pediatrics. Also called "advanced practice nurses" (APNs), nurse practitioners have a master's degree in nursing (MS or MSN) in the specialty area of their interest. For example, a pediatric NP has advanced education, skills, and training in caring for infants, children, and teens. If accredited through the national board exam, the APN will have an additional credential such as Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (CPNP) or Certified Family Nurse Practitioner (CFNP). NPs follow the rules and regulations of the Nurse Practice Act of the state where they work; many are also nationally certified in their area of specialty.

These nursing professionals work closely with doctors to provide high quality care. Many others are involved in education, research, and legislative activities to improve the quality of health care in the United States. Pediatric and family practice NPs can provide regular pediatric health care, including:

• take a child's health history and perform a physical exam

• plan a child's care with parents and the child's health-care team

• perform some tests and procedures

• answer questions about your child's health problems

• treat common childhood illnesses

• change the care plan with your child's doctor as needed

• teach your family about the effects of illness on your child's growth and development

• teach your child about self-care and healthy lifestyle choices

• write prescriptions and order medical tests

• teach other health-care members and local groups about child health care

• provide referrals to community groups.

nut allergy More than three million Americans are currently allergic to nuts and peanuts, including one out of every 200 children, and the numbers are increasing at an alarming rate. (Peanut allergies and nut allergies are actually different allergies. Peanuts do not grow on trees and are not true nuts. It is possible to be allergic to tree nuts and not peanuts, or to peanuts and not tree nuts, or to both.) Peanut and tree nut allergies are the leading cause of severe or fatal food-allergic reactions; they are also a cheap source of dietary protein predominantly eaten in peanut butter and snack nuts. Unfortunately, more and more nut products are finding their way into food products either directly or by indirect contamination of food products during the manufacturing process.

Nuts and peanuts may masquerade on a food label as "hydrolyzed vegetable protein" or "groundnuts," and it is important to realize that for the sensitive person, this lifelong allergy can be fatal in even trace amounts.

Life-threatening nut and peanut allergies can kill in two ways. As the food is swallowed, it produces immediate swelling that spreads to the vocal cords. When the vocal cords swell shut, the child is unable to breathe and can die with terrifying rapidity. The second reaction is anaphylactic shock: The child swallows and digests the food and up to two hours later can go into shock and die.

Most of the time, children with known nut allergies have an allergic reaction when nuts masquerade as a hidden ingredient, perhaps in a cake, cupcake, or even something as innocuous as chili. Many food servers do not realize that being asked if something has nuts in it also refers to nuts in ALL forms, including peanut butter or walnut oil.

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