Posts for category: Pediatric Health Care
Vitamin D is critical for all of us, but especially children. Vitamin D is needed to absorb calcium, as well as for the support and development of a healthy body. Children with severe vitamin D deficiencies may develop muscle weakness, delayed motor development, rickets, and fractures.
Unlike most vitamins, which we can often get through diet alone, vitamin D is acquired through time spent in the sun. You won’t find many foods that naturally contain vitamin D. Unfortunately, if you’re in a place that doesn’t get much sunlight then chances are good your child may not be getting enough vitamin D.
Children get about 80 percent of their vitamin D from sunlight. So if your child doesn’t spend much time outdoors (especially during the winter months) it’s a good idea to talk with your pediatrician about ways to ensure that your child is getting enough vitamin D.
Children with certain health problems such as cystic fibrosis or celiac disease, as well as children who’ve undergone bone surgeries may require more vitamin D. This is something you should discuss with your pediatrician. Children over 1-year-old need at least 600 IU of vitamin D (or more) a day. Ideally, children should get around 1,000 IU of vitamin D per day.
We also know that too much time in the sun can also pose risks for children, especially their skin. During the summer months, children only need a few minutes a day in the sun to get enough vitamin D. During the winter months, kids should get about 2-3 hours per week. Children under 6 months old should never be placed in direct sunlight.
Children with darker skin will also need to spend more time in the sun to produce the same levels of vitamin D as kids with lighter skin. Just sitting inside near windows won’t be enough for your child’s body to produce vitamin D.
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.
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.
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.
- 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
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.
The tonsils are oval-shaped, pink masses of tissue on both sides of the throat. They are part of the body's immune system, designed to fight off bacteria and viruses that try to enter the body through the mouth. Sometimes common illnesses are too much for the tonsils to handle, and the tonsils become infected themselves. This condition is known as tonsillitis, an inflammation of the tonsils that can cause a sore throat and discomfort for your little one.
Tonsillitis is common in children, but it can occur at all ages. Many cases of tonsillitis in elementary-aged kids are caused by a viral infection, such as the common cold or flu. Bacterial infections, particularly streptococcus (strep), can also cause an infection of the tonsils.
If your child has tonsillitis, his or her main symptom will be a sore throat. It may be painful to eat, drink or swallow. Other common signs of infected tonsils include:
- Red, tender and enlarged tonsils
- Yellow or white coating on tonsils
- Swollen, painful lymph nodes in the neck
- Bad Breath
If your child’s symptoms suggest tonsillitis, call your pediatrician. Your child will need to visit a pediatrician to determine whether it is a bacterial or viral infection, which can usually be diagnosed with a physical exam and a throat culture.
If bacteria caused the child’s tonsillitis, then antibiotics may be prescribed to kill the infection. If a virus causes it, then the body will fight the infection on its own. Rest and drinking fluids can also help alleviate symptoms and ease pain. In some cases, if the child suffers from frequent episodes of tonsillitis or repeat infections over several years, your pediatrician may recommend a tonsillectomy, a common surgical procedure to remove the tonsils.
Because tonsillitis is contagious, kids should help protect others at school and home by washing hands frequently, not sharing cups or other personal utensils, and covering their mouth when coughing or sneezing.
Always contact your pediatrician when you have questions about your child’s symptoms and health.