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Glossary of Children's Hospital Terms

 

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FAS or Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: The sum total of the damage done to the child before birth as a result of the mother drinking alcohol during pregnancy. FAS involves mental retardation, brain damage, impaired growth, and head and face abnormalities. No amount of alcohol has been proven safe during pregnancy. Women who are or may become pregnant are advised to avoid alcohol.

 
Fasting blood sugar: A method for learning how much glucose (sugar) there is in a blood sample taken after a period of time without eating or drinking anything. It is usually performed early in the morning prior to breakfast.
 
Fahrenheit: Thermometer scale in which the freezing point of water is 32° F and the boiling point of water 212° F.  See Centigrade for a conversion formula since most hospitals do not use the common Fahrenheit scale known in America.
 
Failure to thrive (FTT): Refers to a child whose physical growth is significantly less than that of peers.
 
Febrile: Feverish or having a temperature.
 
Febrile seizure: A convulsion (seizure) that occurs in association with a rapid increase in body temperature. Febrile seizures are common in infants and young children (6 months to 5 years) and fortunately, have no long-term negative affects.
 
Fecal: Relating to the feces, the stool (poop).
 
Fever: Although a fever technically is any body temperature above the normal of 98.6 degrees F. (37 degrees C.), in practice a person is usually not considered to have a significant fever until the temperature is above 100.4 degrees F (38 degrees C.).
 
Flatus: Gas in the intestinal tract or passed through the anus. The intestinal gases are hydrogen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and methane, all of which are odorless. The unpleasant smell of flatus is the result of trace gases such as indole, skatole, and, most commonly, hydrogen sulfide.  When a person “farts” they are passing flatus.
 
Flu: Short for influenza. The flu is caused by viruses that infect the respiratory tract and are divided into many types, designated A, B, C, etc. Most people who get the flu recover completely in 1 to 2 weeks, but some people develop serious and potentially life-threatening medical complications, such as pneumonia. Much of the illness and death caused by influenza can be prevented by annual influenza vaccination.
 
Foley: A catheter (plastic tube) placed in the bladder to drain urine.
 
Fracture: A fracture is a break in the bone or cartilage. It usually is a result of trauma.