Posts for category: Child Healthcare
The importance of immunizations
Childhood immunizations are one of the most important safeguards against communicable diseases and their serious, long-term complications. Your pediatrician closely adheres to the vaccination schedules published by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Why? Well, there's nothing more important than your youngster's health and well-being, and immunizations effectively guard them.
Just what is an immunization?
Most immunizations are given as "shots," or injections, but some, such as the Rotavirus vaccine, are oral medications. However administered, vaccines boost your child's immune system in its battle against diseases which easily spread from person to person.
Each vaccine contains a small amount of a killed or weakened micro-organisms. These altered viruses or bacteria raise the body's defenses against a particular illness such as chicken pox. pneumonia, polio, tetanus, and more...up to 14 in all by time your child is two years old, says the CDC.
Are immunizations necessary?
Your pediatrician, his or her colleagues and decades of research prove that vaccines protect the health of individual children and of the community at large. Also called herd immunity, community immunity works best when as many babies and youngsters receive all their "shots" on schedule. Community immunity protects youngsters who cannot receive vaccines because of cancer treatment, HIV infection or other serious reason. It also shields the general population when people travel from countries which cannot provide access to these important medications.
Both the AAP and the CDC publish and recommend set vaccine schedules carried out at well-baby and well-child visits at the doctor's office. In addition, there is a "catch-up" schedule for children who have begun their immunizations late or had them interrupted by illness or other serious concern.
Your pediatrician's services
They're so important. Your child's doctor keeps your child's immunization records and can distribute them to schools, camps, college, sports, daycare and other organizations who require proof of up-to-date vaccines. The doctor also monitors your child for any adverse reactions, although typically, vaccines produce no more than:
- Localized redness and soreness at the injection site
- Low grade fever
- Pain and swelling
Colds may be common, but that does not mean caring for your child’s cold is easy. To help your little one feel better, your pediatrician is available to offer tips on what you need to know about your child’s cold. The common children’s cold is a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract that usually lasts a week or two.
The typical preschool-age child may experience 6-10 colds per year. Most colds resolve on their own with rest and fluids, but some may lead to ear infections, sinus infections, asthma attacks or other complications.
Caused by viruses, colds can be spread through a sneeze or cough. The virus may also be spread indirectly, through touching the hand of a healthy person or even by using door handles with your hand you may have just sneezed or coughed into. Once the virus is present and multiplying, your child will develop the familiar symptoms and signs:
- Runny nose
- Mild fever, particularly in the evening
- Decreased appetite
- Sore throat
- On-and-off irritability
- Slightly swollen glands
Many parents become confused about the proper way to treat a coughing, sneezing child, because colds and allergies often have overlapping symptoms. When in doubt, talk to your pediatrician who will know exactly what is causing your child’s symptoms, especially if they are persistent or worsen with time.
If your child has a typical cold without complications, the symptoms should disappear on their own after seven to ten days. Your pediatrician may want to see your child if symptoms do not improve and is not completely recovered within one week from the start of their illness.
Contact your pediatrician for further treatment and to better understand your child’s cold symptoms.
One of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of illnesses is through proper hand washing. Young children in particular need to be reminded to wash their hands, which is very important after sneezing, nose-blowing, using the bathroom and before eating. With help from your child’s pediatrician, you can help keep your child healthy.
School age children are in close contact throughout the school day are more likely to share school materials, and frequently touch their faces. Since germs from sneezing and coughing droplets can survive on surfaces for up to eight hours, teaching your child about proper hand washing is very important to maintaining their health. Your pediatrician provides this step-by-step guide for proper hand washing:
- Turn on the water until it is warm, but not too hot.
- Rub your hands together to get a nice, soapy lather.
- Wash your palms, the back of your hands, fingers and under the nails.
- Sing “Happy Birthday” or count up to 15 to 20 “Mississippi’s” to effectively wash their hands for an appropriate amount of time.
- Dry hangs on a paper towel.
- If at a public or school restroom, have your child turn off the faucet with the paper towel when they are done.
- When exiting a public or school restroom, encourage your child to use the same paper towel on the handle of the bathroom door to open it and to throw it away after exiting.
Maintaining proper hand washing methods will help your child to remain healthy throughout the year. Your child’s pediatrician is available to provide you with further tips on how to maintain a healthy child. However, if your child does get sick, your pediatrician encourages you to visit their office for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Detecting Eye and Vision Problems in Children
- Eye rubbing
- Sensitivity to light
- Bulging or jiggly eyes
- Droopy eyelids
- White, yellow, or gray-white material in the pupil
In infants, toddlers and preschoolers, the most frequent cause of sore throats is a viral infection. No specific medicine is required when a virus is responsible, and the child should get better over a seven to ten day period. During this period, your child may develop a fever, but they generally are not very sick.
It is not uncommon to experience a sore throat when your child has a cold or the flu. Unfortunately, there are other reasons for sore throats to develop that may be symptomatic of more serious problems. Children tend to have sore throats more often than adolescents or adults, with sore throats being the most common during the winter months when upper respiratory infections are more frequent.
The major cause of a sore throat is an infection, whether it is viral or bacterial, and can also be caused by allergies and environmental conditions. If your child has a sore throat that lasts longer than the typical five to seven day duration of a cold or flu, and is not associated with an avoidable allergy or irritation, it is important to contact your local pediatrician. The following are signs and symptoms to alert you to take your child to the pediatrician:
- Severe and prolonged sore throat
- Difficulty breathing
- Difficulty swallowing
- Difficulty opening the mouth
- Joint pain
- Fever that is over 101 degrees
- Frequent recurring sore throat
- Lump in the neck
- Hoarseness lasting over two weeks
At the first onset of a sore throat it is always important to monitor the progress and recognize any other symptoms that may accompany the sore throat, which could cause it to worsen into strep throat, inflamed tonsils, or laryngitis. Contact your pediatrician if your child is experiencing a sore throat that won’t go away. Your pediatrician will help diagnose and treat your child’s symptoms.