Posts for category: Pediatric Health
Your child just woke up with a runny nose, an elevated temperature and body aches. Could this just be a passing cold or could it be the flu? It’s important to be able to tell the difference between the two. A common cold is usually mild and will go away on its own without treatment but the flu often requires medical attention to prevent serious complications. While an annual flu shot can protect your child from developing the flu it’s also important to know what to look for and when to visit their pediatrician for care.
Warning Signs of the Flu
Unfortunately the common cold and the influenza viruses have a lot of the same symptoms, which can make it difficult to determine what your child might have. We know that you don’t want to worry unnecessarily and rush them into the office if you don’t need to but it’s also good to know when their condition warrants medical attention.
One difference is that a cold will come on gradually over the course of a couple of days while the flu will often attack suddenly, with symptoms showing up practically overnight. While a fever isn’t a common symptom of a cold a fever is almost always present with the flu, as well as full body achiness or weakness.
Children are also more likely to deal with diarrhea or vomiting with the flu. While symptoms of a cold are usually localized to the head, flu symptoms are more widespread.
You Suspect Your Child has the Flu. Now What?
The first step is to call your pediatrician. While it can take up to a week for your child to feel better after the flu sometimes medical attention is required. It’s especially important that you talk to your doctor if your child has flu-like symptoms and they are under the age of 5, as young children are more likely to deal with health-related complications from the flu.
You’ve talked to your doctor and you now know whether you are supposed to bring them in right away for care or whether you should continue to monitor their condition before bringing them in. At this point the most important thing you can do is help reduce their discomfort and control their symptoms. Make sure they are staying hydrated and getting as much rest as possible.
Avoid giving your child over-the-counter medications, as many of these medications aren’t safe for young children and won’t be effective for treating flu symptoms. If your child has a mild fever ask your pediatrician what over-the-counter medications could help alleviate their fever. Keep in mind: Children should never take aspirin!
The sooner you seek medical attention for the flu the better, as many antiviral medications can prevent the virus from getting worse if it’s administered within the first 48 hours. This medication is often taken for 5 to 7 days and it can help ease symptoms and speed up recovery.
The key is making sure to get your child proper medical care as soon as flu-like symptoms appear. Call your children’s doctor right away.
Even though you try as hard as possible to keep your child safe while they are playing sports, accidents still happen. At these moments, it’s important that you know whether these are injuries that can easily be treated from the comfort of your own home or whether you need to turn to a pediatrician for proper medical attention.
Pediatricians have seen a lot of sports-related injuries over the years and while we also focus as much of our attention on prevention, we know the importance of being able to get immediate and comprehensive care when your child does sustain an injury.
Common sports-related injuries include:
- Dislocations (particularly in the shoulder)
- Traumatic injuries (this includes cuts, sprains and strains, and broken bones)
- Stress fractures
- Tendinitis (often in the hand or wrist)
When a dislocation happens many times it is accompanied by an audible popping sound at the moment that the injury occurred. This unnerving sound is often followed by sudden and intense pain. It’s important that you turn to a pediatrician who can put the shoulder or any other area of the body back in place. The joints of a child’s body are looser than adults, so it makes shoulders and other areas more prone to dislocations.
Minor cuts, sprains, and strains can often be handled with at-home care. In most cases, the RICE method is a great way to ensure that your child gets the rest they need to heal properly and to stay off of the injury until it fully heals. Icing and elevating the injured area can also reduce pain and swelling. Of course, if you suspect that your child has a broken bone, this will need to be evaluated by a medical professional right away.
Children who are serious or long-term athletes are more likely to experience overuse injuries. These injuries occur over time rather than suddenly and they are often the result of performing repetitive movements. Overuse injuries include stress fractures and tendinitis. If your child feels pain whenever they move a certain area of the body or if they notice pain or swelling in a certain area it’s important that they get checked out.
Wearing a helmet is crucial for protecting your child’s head while playing sports. Of course, if your child has received a blow to the head and is experiencing dizziness, fatigue, frequent or severe headaches or just seems out of sorts it’s crucial that you bring them in right away to see if they’ve incurred a concussion.
When in doubt, pick up the phone and talk to a pediatrician about your child’s injuries and symptoms. They will be able to determine whether or not they should come in for proper care.
When your little one is first born they will go through a series of tests and screenings to make sure they are healthy. This includes checking their vital signs, hearing, and vision. Your child’s first battery of health screenings will occur while you are still in the hospital. If everything checks out just fine then you’ll be good to go until you need to visit the pediatrician in the coming week. Of course, if we discover that there is an issue with their vision you may need to visit your child’s pediatrician sooner.
Of course, not all pediatric eye problems occur at birth. They can also happen as your child continues to develop over the years. This is why it’s so important that you are visiting your pediatric doctor regularly to ensure that if there is a problem with your child’s vision that they get the proper care they need to prevent more serious issues from happening.
Here are just some of the most common eye problems that children face:
- Nystagmus: A condition that causes involuntary and repetitive eye movements, which results in a reduction in vision.
- Strabismus: Sometimes referred to as crossed eyes, this is when the eyes are not aligned with one another.
- Amblyopia: Colloquially referred to as a “lazy eye”, this condition occurs when vision is one eye doesn’t develop properly, resulting in reduced vision.
- Congenital cataract: While most people associate cataracts with older individuals, it is possible for a child to be born with this condition that causes clouding of the ocular lens.
Some eye problems can be caught at birth; however, it’s important to understand that babies aren’t born with all of their visual capabilities. This is something that is learned over time as their eyes continue to develop and send signals to their brain. A baby’s vision isn’t as clear as ours; however, in the first few months, you’ll begin to see them focus on objects close up, develop eye-hand coordination as they grab for things they want or follow moving objects.
Of course, you will have a pediatrician schedule to follow, which ensures that your little one is getting the proper care, checkups, vaccinations, and screenings they need to check off certain developmental milestones. If your pediatrician detects vision problems they will most likely refer you to a pediatric eye doctor who can provide you with the best treatment options.
If at any time you become worried about your child’s vision, then it’s important that you make an appointment with your pediatrician to have their vision tested. Your pediatrician is here to make sure that your growing child gets the care they need throughout the course of their developing life so they can become a healthy, happy adult.
From washing up under too hot of water to an accidental tipping of a coffee cup, burns are a potential hazard in every home. In fact, burns are some of the most common childhood accidents that occur. Babies and young children are especially susceptible to burns because they are curious, small and have sensitive skin that requires extra protection. Your child’s pediatrician is available to provide you with tips on proper treatment, and ways to prevent burns.
Burns are often categorized as first, second or third degree, depending on how badly the skin is damaged. Both the type of burn and its cause will determine how the burn is treated, but all burns should be treated quickly to reduce the temperature of the burned area and reduce damage to the skin and underlying tissue.
First-degree burns are the mildest of the three, and are limited to the top layer of skin. Healing time is typically about 3 to 6 days, with the superficial layer of skin over the burn potentially peeling off within the next day or two. Second-degree burns are more serious and involve the skin layers beneath the top layer. These burns can produce blisters, severe pain and redness.
Finally, third-degree burns are the most severe type of burn, which involves all layers of the skin and underlying tissue. Healing time will vary depending on severity, but can often be treated with skin grafts, in which healthy skin is taken from another part of the body and surgically placed over the burn wound to help the area heal.
You can’t keep kids free from injuries all the time, but these simple precautions can reduce the chances of burns in your home:
- Reduce water temperature.
- Avoid hot spills.
- Establish ‘no’ zones.
- Unplug irons.
- Test food temperature.
- Choose a cool-water humidifier or vaporizer.
- Address outlets and electrical cords.
Contact your pediatrician for more information on how to properly care for burns and how you can further protect your children from potential burn hazards.
More and more, childhood obesity is becoming prevalent in the U.S. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, over the past two decades it has doubled in children and tripled among teens.
Obesity during childhood is a serious matter that can lead to medical problems, including diabetes, asthma, sleep apnea and high blood pressure. Additionally, being overweight can also take an emotional toll on kids, leading to depression and low self-esteem brought on by various psychological stresses.
As a parent, you should play an important role in encouraging your child to make important changes to help them lose weight and overcome obesity. Ask your pediatrician for support in guiding your child toward an overall healthier lifestyle.
Incremental Lifestyle Changes Starting at Home
Kids who are overweight or obese need guidance from their parents to make healthier lifestyle choices. These changes start at home and include eating better and exercising. Involve the entire family in your child’s efforts to lose weight, supporting him by setting good examples and modeling healthy eating behaviors that you want him to adopt both now and into adulthood.
- Be a good role model, leading the way to a healthy lifestyle by eating healthy and staying active.
- Remove unhealthy temptations from the home and gradually introduce healthier foods into your child’s diet over a period of time.
- Prepare meals that are rich in vegetables, fruits and whole-grains, and limit consumption of foods high in sugar and saturated fats.
- Allow your child to participate in preparing the family meals to learn the benefits of cooking at home.
- Limit the amount of time your child can spend watching television playing video games or using the computer.
- Incorporate exercise into your child’s daily routine, which can include a wide range of activities such as walking the dog, raking leaves, swimming, playing tag or washing the car.
Talk to Your Pediatrician
Your child’s pediatrician can also play an important role in monitoring your child’s weight gain starting from age one, helping to make sure it remains within normal guidelines as he grows. If the pediatrician suspects a weight problem, they can discuss it with you and your child, and then help you prioritize the changes that need to be made to manage the child’s weight. YOur pediatrician can work with you to help you set health goals and make the necessary lifestyle changes such as improving diet and becoming more physically active starting at home.