Posts for category: Child Health Care
By Charles H Geneslaw, MD
March 30, 2021
Pertussis, more commonly referred to as whooping cough, is a contagious bacterial infection of the lungs. The nickname comes from the “whooping” sound that occurs when a child breathes. While many people assume that whooping cough is an infection that no longer exists, it’s actually more common in the US than we’d like to admit. In fact, pediatricians have seen an increase in the number of whooping cough cases over the last couple of decades.
Whooping Cough May Look Like a Cold
You might brush off the early signs of whooping cough because they look an awful lot like the common cold. Older children and teens may develop congestion, mild fever, cough, or runny nose; however, within the first 1-2 weeks you will notice that the cough gets worse. In fact, your child may develop severe and sudden coughing fits.
Children and newborns are more likely to display severe symptoms. They may not have a whoop in their cough, but they may vomit or show severe fatigue after coughing. While anyone can develop whooping cough, infants are at particular risk for serious and life-threatening complications so it’s important to have your family vaccinated.
Vaccines Can Protect Against Whooping Cough
While newborns are too young to be vaccinated against whooping cough, you should make sure that the rest of your family is fully vaccinated. The DTaP vaccine will protect against whooping cough and will be administered at 2, 4, and 6 months old, again at 15 to 18 months, and again at 6 years for a total of five doses.
Turn to a Pediatrician Right Away
If you suspect that your child might have whooping cough, you must call your pediatrician right away. Children under 18 months old may require hospitalization so doctors can continuously monitor them, as children are more likely to stop breathing with whooping cough. Of course, coming in during the early stages of the infection is important as antibiotics are more effective at the very start of the illness.
Until the body clears whooping cough, some of the best ways to manage your child’s symptoms include,
- Resting as much as possible
- Staying hydrated
- Sticking to smaller meals to safeguard against cough-induced vomiting
- Making sure your family is up to date on their vaccinations
If you want to fully protect your child against many dangerous communicable diseases, one of the best ways is through vaccinations. Your child must be up to date on all of their vaccines. Talk with your pediatrician to find out when your child should get the whooping cough vaccine.
By Charles H Geneslaw, MD
March 18, 2021
Reflexively, your baby is born with the ability to suck. It makes sense. After all, your little one must be able to suck to get nutrients, whether breastfeeding or bottle-feeding. Thumb sucking also has the ability to soothe and calm your little one. However, there are moments as your child gets older where thumb-sucking may become a problem. Your pediatrician can provide you with the tips and tricks to help your little one grow out of this habit.
This is a normal habit in newborns that typically goes away around 6-7 months; however, this seemingly innocuous habit may actually be a cause for concern if thumb sucking continues beyond 2-4 years, where it can alter the shape of the face or cause teeth to stick out.
When to Consider a Pacifier
Many children desire a pacifier between feedings, but this should not be a replacement for feedings. It’s important to recognize when your child is sucking because they are hungry and whether they merely want to self-soothe. If your child still has an urge to suck and they don’t need to nurse, then a pacifier is a safe way to soothe and ease your child’s needs (if they want it).
It is safe for children to use a pacifier while sleeping, whether at bedtime or when they go down for their naps. Just prepare for babies to wake up fussy in the middle of the night when the pacifier falls out of their mouths, as they aren’t able to place the pacifier back in their mouths themselves. Make sure that you do not try to place the pacifier on a string around your baby’s neck or tie it to the crib, as this can lead to a serious and potentially deadly injury.
How to Phase Out the Pacifier
There will come a point when your child will need to give up their pacifier. While the medical community has different age ranges, The American Dental Association recommends that children stop using a pacifier by age 2, as going beyond two years old could alter the alignment of your child’s teeth or impact the shape of their face.
Here are some tips to phase out the pacifier,
- Do not tease or punish your child for using a pacifier, but instead praise them when they do not use it. Provide them with rewards when they go without it.
- Some children use pacifiers out of boredom, so give your child something to do to distract them such as playing with a game or toy (to keep their hands busy).
- If incentives and rewards aren’t enough and your child is still using a pacifier, your pediatrician may recommend a “thumb guard” that can prevent your child from sucking their thumb. While you may feel in a rush to get rid of your child’s pacifier, it’s important to be patient. All children eventually stop this habit.
Even if you are concerned about your child’s thumb-sucking, it’s important to know that most children do grow out of it not long after starting school. While you can provide them with helpful ways to ditch the habit it’s important not to put pressure on them. With the help of your pediatrician, your child can and will outgrow this habit.
By Charles H Geneslaw, MD
October 30, 2020
Tags: Chicken Pox
You just got the call from your child’s school: someone in your kid’s class has chickenpox. This highly contagious virus isn’t usually anything to worry about, but it can certainly cause some very unpleasant symptoms for your child, including a terribly red and itchy rash all over the body and face. If you’re concerned about chickenpox, your pediatrician can tell you everything that you should know about this common childhood infection.
How can I tell that it’s chickenpox?
Since chickenpox is caused by a viral infection, most children will develop common symptoms of an infection before the rash even develops. These symptoms include:
- Sore throat
- Stomach upset
- Body aches
- Loss of appetite
The rash will usually appear 1-2 days after your child has been exposed to chickenpox. This rash consists of itchy, fluid-filled blisters that crust over within 4-5 days. Some children may only develop a few blisters on their body while others may develop hundreds.
How is chickenpox treated?
It is incredibly important that you keep your child from scratching the rash, as this can lead to infection and make their symptoms worse. Several home remedies can ease discomfort and itching. Some of these include:
- Applying calamine lotion
- Making sure that your child is drinking enough water and staying hydrated
- Soaking in a bath with baking soda for 20-30 minutes to reduce inflammation and pain
- Applying cold compresses to the rash
- Taking an over-the-counter antihistamine (talk with your pediatric doctor first before giving your child any medication)
Should my child see a doctor?
If your child is experiencing the typical symptoms of chickenpox, then chances are good that you won’t have to bring them into the office. The only thing you can do is wait. You should call your pediatrician if:
- Your newborn is showing signs of chickenpox
- Your child’s fever goes away and then comes back
- Your child has a high fever
- Some areas of the rash are getting larger or are painful (signs of infection)
Is there a way to prevent chickenpox?
The good news is that children today can be protected against chickenpox with a simple vaccine. The chickenpox vaccine is administered in two doses: the first vaccine is administered when your baby is 12 to 15 months and a second vaccine is administered at 4-6 years old.
If you want to protect your child against the chickenpox, then talk to your pediatrician about getting them vaccinated. Your child has enough to worry about, without chickenpox being one of them.
By Charles H Geneslaw, MD
October 02, 2020
Your child won’t stop rubbing their eyes. They say it’s incredibly itchy. When you go to examine it, you notice their eyes are also bloodshot and inflamed. Oh no, it sounds like conjunctivitis. Conjunctivitis, more commonly known as pink eye, is often a communicable eye infection that can be spread from person to person. If your child is dealing with symptoms of conjunctivitis you might want to visit your pediatric doctor to find out what to do.
What causes pinkeye?
In most cases, an infection is to blame. An infectious pink eye is contagious and may result from a sinus infection or ear infection. Some viruses or bacteria can lead to contagious forms of pinkeye; however, in some cases, pinkeye may develop as a result of allergies (e.g. ragweed; grass; dust mites) or being exposed to certain irritants or chemicals.
What happens if my baby has pinkeye?
If your newborn develops pinkeye you must seek pediatric care right away, as this condition can lead to severe complications if left untreated. In most cases, your newborn will be prescribed antibiotics eye drops to help clear the infection.
How do I know that it’s pinkeye?
There are a variety of telltale signs that your little one may be dealing with a nasty bout of pinkeye. If they are old enough to talk then they may tell you that their eyes feel gritty, like there is something in them. You may also notice a thick, gooey discharge. Their eyes may also be sensitive to light. Most pinkeye also causes swelling, itching, and eye pain.
How is pink eye treated in kids?
Apart from newborns, who require immediate medical attention for pinkeye, most kids and teens whose pinkeye is caused by a virus will go away without treatment once the body has fought the virus. However, if a bacterial infection is to blame, then antibiotic eye drops will be needed to treat the bacterial infection.
If your child is dealing with recurring bouts of pinkeye they could be dealing with allergic conjunctivitis, which you should also talk to your pediatrician about. They can prescribe certain allergy medications to your child to help lessen pinkeye flare-ups.
It’s important to find trustworthy pediatric care for your child or teen. Whether you are concerned with pinkeye, ADHD, or celiac disease, a pediatrician will be able to diagnose, manage, and treat a wide range of infections and conditions.
By Charles H Geneslaw, MD
September 11, 2020
You want your child to lead a healthy, happy life but it can be difficult if they are picky eaters or only seem to crave junk food. If you’re having trouble making smart nutritional choices when it comes to your kids, your child’s pediatrician can help you create some healthier eating habits and map out a treatment plan if your child is currently struggling to lose excess weight.
Choose Smarter Snacks
Kids always seem hungry, so they may be begging for snacks throughout the day. Snacks should be small, and they shouldn’t be enjoyed too close to mealtimes, as this could ruin their appetite. Instead of reaching for a bag of candy or potato chips try opting for smarter snack options such as nuts, apple slices or celery with peanut butter, whole-grain crackers and cheese sticks, or hummus and carrots.
Get Your Kids Cooking
One of the best ways to get your child dedicated to nutrition is by making them an active part of the process. Cooking can be fun, especially for kids, and by cooking together they will experience a source of pride in the foods they’ve helped to make (which typically leads to them being more likely to eat it). Enjoy this quality time together and show them how eating and cooking healthy foods can be fun.
Hide Healthier Foods
Particularly at the beginning of this new nutritional journey, you may find that your child has an “aversion” to eating healthy. They may turn their nose up at broccoli, carrots or certain veggies, but don’t despair. Instead of making them eat it plain, you can hide these important veggies into dishes they already love such as whole grain mac and cheese, soups, or sandwiches.
Show Your Kids How It’s Done
Kids watch and mimic what parents do, so if parents aren’t eating healthy chances are fairly good that they won’t see a reason to eat healthily either. Therefore, it’s a good idea for parents to also show how important eating healthy can be. Lead by example and this simple habit could actually improve not just your child’s health but yours as well.
A healthy child begins with a healthy diet. If you are having concerns about your child’s health and nutrition, it’s important that you talk with a qualified pediatrician to figure out the right dietary choices for your little one.