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Posts for category: Child Health Care

By Charles H Geneslaw, MD
July 03, 2019
Category: Child Health Care
Tags: Child Care   Physical Exam  

Once your child is born it’s amazing just how quickly they grow and develop. It seems like you blink and suddenly they are talking and walking. During these important milestones it’s also important to have a pediatrician that you turn to regularly to make sure that these developmental milestones are being met and that your child is healthy. After all, if there are any problems you want to find out as soon as possible when early medical interventions can make all the difference.

From the moment your child is born until 2 years old, your pediatrician will most likely want to see them every six months for wellness check ups. After your child turns 2 years old you should still bring them in once a year for a routine physical exam and preventive care. Along with checking your child’s vital signs and monitoring their height and weight your pediatrician will also check hearing, eyesight, respiration, cardiac activity and reflexes.

A physical exam will check all systems of your child’s body to make sure that everything is functioning properly. If your child’s doctor does detect a problem it can be treated immediately. Along with a physical exam your child will also undergo any additional screenings and vaccinations that are necessary for maintaining optimal health.

Furthermore, your pediatrician can also recommend workout routines and appropriate physical activity for your child based on their current health and lifestyle, as well as recommendations on diet, sleeping habits and even their emotional and behavioral health. Even if a pediatrician won’t be able to fully treat all conditions they can still refer your child to a specialist who will be able to handle a specific health problem or injury.

Once a child is old enough to go to school it’s also important that parents schedule their child’s sports physical so that they can participate in physical activity and school sports. An annual sports physical can detect past injuries and other problems that could affect your child’s ability to participate in certain activities.

These physical exams are often mandatory before a child can play school sports; however, even if it isn’t mandatory you should still bring your child in once a year for a comprehensive sports physical to make sure that they are healthy enough for certain physical activity.

Make sure your child is seeing their pediatrician regularly for care, not just when they are sick but also to ward away infections and other health problems. Schedule your child’s next physical exam today.

By Charles H Geneslaw, MD
January 17, 2019
Category: Child Health Care
Tags: Newborn   Newborn Care  

There is a lot of care and work that goes into raising a newborn, and your pediatrician is here to help right from the beginning. Your pediatrician typically sees your newborn for their very first appointment within a few days of being discharged from the hospital. Your pediatrician is here for you to ask any questions or address any concerns you may have about your newborn and caring for your newborn. Some of the topics that your pediatrician may discuss in that first visit are:

Feeding- Your pediatrician will watch your baby’s feeding habits during this period and make sure that their growth is right on schedule. During the first six months of your newborn’s life, you’ll feed them formula or breastmilk. Breastfed babies tend to eat more frequently than babies who are fed formula.

Sleep- Every baby has different sleep schedules and needs. Most newborns tend to sleep sixteen to seventeen hours a day, but only sleep a few hours at a time. Sleep cycles don’t tend to normalize until your baby is about six months old. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that healthy infants should sleep on their backs until they are able to roll over on their own.

Bathing- Infants do not usually require daily bathing, as long as the diaper area is thoroughly cleaned during changes, because daily bathing dry out their skin. Instead, it’s recommended to sponge bathe areas as needed.

Umbilical Cord Care- An infant’s umbilical cord should eventually dry up and fall off on its own by the time your baby is two weeks old. Until then, make sure to keep the area clean and dry by using sponge baths instead of submerging your baby in the tub. Small drops of blood are normal around the time that the umbilical cord is supposed to fall off. If you notice any active bleeding, foul-smelling yellowish discharge, or red skin around the stump, contact your pediatrician.

Your newborn should see their pediatrician at 2 weeks, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 9 months, 12 months, and regularly throughout their life. Call your pediatrician for any questions on newborn care today!

By Charles H Geneslaw, MD
April 02, 2018
Category: Child Health Care
Tags: Vision  
Child Vision ImpairmentsAs a parent, you may rely on the results of a school vision screening or the fact that your child doesn’t report any symptoms as an indication he or she does not have a vision problem. However, these are not necessarily reliable ways of determining if a vision problem does exist. Children often will not be aware they are not seeing well. They may think the way they see things is the same way everyone else does, since they do not have anything else to compare it to but their own experiences.
 
In the first few months of life, infants can only see clearly objects that are 8 to 10 inches from their face. It isn’t until 12 to 16 weeks that their eyesight begins to improve, and they start seeing things more clearly from further away. Over the next year, children will develop depth perception, eye-body coordination, eye-hand coordination and the ability to judge distances. It is rare for children to have vision problems at this age.

Detecting Eye and Vision Problems in Children

Most of the time, vision problems are not obvious, and the best way to catch issues early is through vision screenings offered by your pediatrician. Sometimes, though, there are symptoms of eye problems such as infection, cataracts or other issues. Warning signs may include:
  • Eye rubbing
  • Tearing
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Pus
  • Crust
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Bulging or jiggly eyes
  • Droopy eyelids
  • White, yellow, or gray-white material in the pupil
If your child has any of these symptoms, or their eyes change in any way, or you are worried about their vision, don’t wait until they are 3-years old to get their first vision test. If you are concerned, it is always better to be on the safe side by visiting your pediatrician to have them checked.

When I first entered practice in 1985, the term “social media” wasn’t even a thing yet.  Now, of course, its a major issue in the lives of virtually everyone and in particular adolescents.  It is a frequent topic that I discuss with parents.

recent study in a British public health journal demonstrated some very troubling patterns here.  They enrolled almost 10,000 children and followed them from ages 10-15 to > 16 years.  Initial surveys collected data on social media sites and amount of usage reported, then after several years standardized mental health questionnaires measuring both well being and negative emotions were completed by  the now young adult subjects.

In girls they found a clear and quite strong association of increasing media usage with more negative feelings and greater emotional difficulties in late adolescence.  Interestingly, they found no such correlation among boys.  Greater prevalence was demonstrated in homes of lower economic or parental educational achievement. Unsurprisingly, more social media usage increased sedentary lifestyle.  Racial differences were inconclusive.  Another non-factor was type of usage–“passive”(reading only) vs “active”(posting and responding)–girls did worse either way.

There may be several reasons for this observation.  Girls seemed to make a greater effort at online presence and often put greater emphasis comparing themselves to perceived online personality or situations.  “Likes’ and “hits” are viewed very directly as popularity in ways similar to public opinion polls.  Online, as opposed to in person, the conversation is more “indirect,” allowing less emotional commitment to the relationship, less effort at properly expressing oneself, and no opportunity to learn to judge facial expression, voice inflection, or body language which may result in a person with more limited social development.  Needless to say, online interactions may increase risks of such negative interactions as stalking, bullying, or public shaming.

So–what’s a parent to do?  As always, I say “you are your child’s best teacher and best toy.”  Be a role model–don’t obsess with your phone and social media yourself.  Use only at specific times and situations.  Try not to walk into your home using the phone, no use of phone at meals or parent/child interactions interrupted(except true emergency, of course).  Endeavor to develop ongoing activities of interest for your adolescent and take an interest in their participation.  Spend time with them (a challenge– an important part of adolescent development is to establish autonomy from parents, so don’t overdo it here; try to do things with them on their terms).  Also, I believe it is fine–almost essential— to place concrete time limits on phone/social media use, particularly in the evening when it can most commonly be an impediment to a good night’s sleep. I always counsel that cellphones NOT be kept in the teen’s bedroom overnight but rather in some fairly distant location in the house to avoid that frequent problem.

Here are useful tools from the AAP that can help you manage your family’s social media in English and Spanish

 

Thanks for following.

By Charles H Geneslaw, MD
January 03, 2018
Category: Child Health Care
Tags: Infant Jaundice  

Infant Baby SleepingJaundice is a common condition in newborns, caused by excess yellow pigment in the blood called bilirubin, which is produced by the normal breakdown of red blood cells. When bilirubin is produced faster than a newborn’s liver can break it down, the baby’s skin and eyes will appear yellow in color.

In most cases, jaundice disappears without treatment and does not harm the baby. However, if the infant’s bilirubin levels get too high, jaundice can pose a risk of brain damage. It is for this reason that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that all infants should be examined for jaundice within a few days of birth.

Is it Jaundice?

When parents leave the hospital with their newborn, they will want to look for signs of jaundice in the days following, as the condition usually appears around the second or third day of life. Most parents will be able to detect jaundice simply by looking at the baby’s skin under natural daylight. If you notice your newborn’s skin or eyes looking yellow, you should contact your pediatrician to see if jaundice is present.

Also, call your pediatrician immediately if your jaundiced newborn’s condition intensifies or spreads. The following symptoms may be warning signs of dangerously high levels of bilirubin that require prompt treatment.

  • Skin appears very yellow
  • Infant becomes hard to wake or fussy
  • Poor feeding
  • Abnormal behavior
  • Feverish

Treating Jaundice

While most infants with jaundice do not require treatment, in more moderate to severe cases treatment will be recommended. Some infants can be treated by phototherapy, a special light treatment that exposes the baby’s skin to get rid of the excess bilirubin. Infants who do not respond to phototherapy or who continue to have rising bilirubin levels may be treated with a blood transfusion.

Always talk to your pediatrician if you have questions about newborn jaundice.