Posts for category: Child Healthcare
Truth is, anyone with an appendix can get appendicitis—even our children. Appendicitis is a painful inflammation of the hollow, finger-shaped organ attached to the end of the large intestine. If left untreated, an inflamed appendix can rupture, leading to a lengthy hospital stay for complications including abdominal infection and bowel obstruction.
When your child complains of stomach pain, consult your pediatrician for proper diagnosis and to ensure the health of your child. Since appendicitis is potentially life-threatening, it is important to understand the symptoms so that you can spot appendicitis in your child. In order of appearance, the symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain
- Loss of appetite
Unfortunately, symptoms of appendicitis might also be hidden by a viral or bacterial infection that preceded it. Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and fever may appear before the typical pain of appendicitis, which makes the diagnosis much more difficult.
Your child’s discomfort might also disappear, which will persuade you that they are better. However, this disappearance of pain could also mean that the appendix has just broken open or ruptured. The pain might leave for several hours, but this is the moment when appendicitis becomes dangerous, making it more important than ever to visit your pediatrician for immediate care for your child.
When your pediatrician diagnoses your child with appendicitis, surgery is usually needed as soon as possible. Surgically removing the appendix is usually the treatment of choice, as it is important to eliminate the inflamed appendix before it bursts.
While most children with abdominal pain do not have appendicitis, you can never be too safe when it comes to the health of your child. Visit your pediatrician for further diagnosis of this serious problem and to take the next steps toward a healthy child.
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.
Your child is eager to start the school year so they can participate in sports. That’s great news! Keeping your child active is an important part of a healthy lifestyle and sports can be a great experience for many children; however, it’s also important that your child’s pediatrician performs a yearly sports physical to make sure that they are ready for physical activity.
A sports physical is necessary for every child regardless of their current health. In fact, some schools make it mandatory for children to get an annual sports physical before they participate in any school sports. Regardless of whether this physical is mandatory or not, it’s highly advised that all children get a sports physical once a year.
Your child’s sports physical will involve going through their medical history and conducting a physical examination. The physical examination is pretty self-explanatory. We will check their vitals, as well as their height and weight. We will perform a vision test and evaluate everything from their heart and respiratory system to their musculoskeletal system. The goal of a physical exam is to make sure that your child hasn’t incurred any past injuries or developed any health problems that could be exacerbated by physical activity.
A pediatrician can also answer questions and provide counseling on nutrition, healthy weight loss or gain, and habits that could help your child’s physical health. Remember to bring any questions along with you.
Besides the physical examination, we will also sit down with you and your child and ask questions about their medical history. It’s important to be as detailed as possible. If it’s the first time they are having a sports physical it’s important to bring in a list of any supplements or medications (both over-the-counter or prescription) that they are currently taking.
We will ask a series of questions to find out if there are any serious or chronic health problems that run in the family, if your child has experienced any past injuries, if they’ve ever undergone surgery or been hospitalized, if they have any allergies or if they have any current disorders or illnesses. It’s important to provide as much detailed history as possible so that our pediatric team can perform a thorough and comprehensive physical.
Don’t wait until the last minute to schedule your child’s sports physical. It’s important to get your child on the books before the summer is gone and the doctor’s schedule fills up. You don’t want your child being benched during the season because they didn’t get a sports physical. Call your pediatrician today.
A child’s job is to explore every nook and cranny of their world, but that can often lead way to injury. From split lips to skinned knees, scrapes and cuts are rites of passage for our children. As parents you can take all the precautions possible, but “boo-boos” will happen. However, if you understand the basics for treating cuts and scrapes, you and your child can make it through an episode with a minimum of tears.
When a cut or scrape occurs, your pediatrician offers these helpful tips:
- Stop any bleeding. A minor scrape will stop bleeding on its own, but a cut or gash may not. Using a clean washcloth or towel, apply gentle but direct pressure to the wound until the bleeding stops.
- Double up. If the blood soaks through the cloth, place another layer over it and continue to apply pressure. Elevating the injured body part can also help to slow the bleeding.
- Rinse it off. Hold the injured body part under warm running water to wash away any dirt, broken glass, or any other foreign matter.
- Clean it up. If the skin around the cut is dirty, gently wash it with mild soap.
- Break out the bandages. Once the bleeding has stopped and the wound is clean, dab on a thin layer of antibiotic ointment and apply a fresh bandage. Little kids usually enjoy choosing from a selection of cute and colorful bandages—so let your little one choose which one he or she wants.
- Keep it clean. Change the bandage at least once a day or if it gets dirty. When a scab begins to form, you can remove the bandage, but be sure to teach your child not to pick at it.
If you are unsure how to handle your child’s injury, or if the cut does not stop bleeding, contact your pediatrician for more information.
It is almost impossible for a curious and active child to avoid some scrapes and minor cuts, but there are things you can do to decrease the number your child will have and to minimize their severity. Visit your pediatrician for more information on preventive measures and what to do when an injury occurs.
Sometimes a sit-down meal seems impossible at times for busy families and making sure that a meal is healthy feels like an even bigger challenge. With a little organization, you can have the chance to serve healthy meals and sit down as a family once again. However, other nights you might find yourself on the go throughout the dinner hour. With help from your pediatrician, you can establish proper eating habits throughout the day.
Studies suggest that children who skip the morning meal run a greater risk of being overweight, which is why experts agree that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. By skipping breakfast, it is next to impossible for children, and adults, to make up for the nutrients lost. Healthy breakfast foods, such as milk and whole grains, provide an array of nutrients necessary for proper growth and good health. Additionally, breakfast provides a positive effect on academic performance because after about 10 hours or so without food, eating in the morning fuels the brain and body for the day ahead.
Throughout the day, it is important to snack smart. Make sure you buy healthy snacks and portion them into individual servings so that you always have a grab-and-go snack for each member of the family. A snack between meals is important to keep hunger at bay and prevent binge eating. Students also need snacks to help them concentrate and learn at school, and working adults who keep healthy snacks on hand are less likely to hit the vending machine in the afternoon.
Make Smart Restaurant Choices
Yes, there will be times when a busy family has to eat out, but doing so does not have to derail your healthy eating goals. Choose the restaurant you will go to ahead of time and use its website to look at the nutritional information for the menu items offered. This allows you to make a choice that is healthy ahead of time so you are prepared when you get there. Avoid looking at the menu again, if possible, so that you are not tempted to choose something unhealthy.
Talk to your pediatrician for more information on how you can properly plan meals for your busy family. Remember, proper eating habits help your family throughout the day.