First lady Melania Trump paid Cincinnati a visit Monday afternoon to spend time learning about the youngest victims of the opioid epidemic: poor babies who come out of the womb already addicted.
The first lady brought cheers to the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center bringing with her Valentine's cards and coloring books for the kids. She also wore a bright yellow dress and looked every inch vibrant. Melania interacted with the young patients. She also discussed hearing about neo neonatal abstinence syndrome, or NAS, from doctors dedicatedly dealing with it every day at the said children's hospital.
Melania showed deep interest in NAS especially as it affects babies and their mothers, in particular. Neonatal nurse practitioner Gayle Hertenstein, who helped prepare for the first lady's visit, shared: " "She wanted to know many babies we see in a year, she wanted to know how the moms felt."
NAS is a difficult condition to deal with. Children with NAS suffer withdrawal and other health problems, including vomiting and diarrhea, right after birth. Children with NAS are also known to have high-pitched, inconsolable screams, and their symptoms can last days or even weeks.
The vulnerable children dealing with NAS need a quiet environment and round-the-clock care to better cope with their condition. Generous amounts of cuddling, swaddling or nurturing would also help a lot. Research has also found children with NAS can suffer lingering effects later in their adult life. Cincinnati researchers discovered the children can also suffer from torticollis – a twist of the neck. Torticollis causes a baby's head to favor one side or another. It is often associated with a flattening of the head. If left untreated, the condition can cause longer-term issues. Children with NAS may be more likely to perform poorly in school.
A recent study revealed alarming findings that say the rates of NAS have increased nearly fivefold over the past decade in the United States.
The Newborn Intensive Care Follow-up Clinic at Children's Hospital is one of the few hospital clinics that follow hundreds of children born into the opioid epidemic. Hertenstein says Melania's visit and the graciousness she has shown will help them bring the issue of the epidemic to light so more could understand how "horrible it is."