While you will certainly know when you’re dealing with an ear infection; unfortunately kids, particularly newborns and toddlers, can’t tell you that they are experiencing ear pain. Ear infections are incredibly common in young children, with five out of six children experiencing at least one ear infection by the time they turn three years old. Know the warning signs and when to turn to your pediatrician for treatment.
They may have trouble sleeping
It’s not too surprising that with pressure building up in the middle ear due to bacteria that your child may get fussy or even throw a tantrum about going to bed. Children with ear infections often toss and turn and feel worse when they lie down. If your little one suddenly starts crying when they lie down this could be a sign of an ear infection.
They tug at their ears
While a toddler won’t be able to tell you that their ear hurts, they can show you. You may be able to discern whether your child could have an ear infection by whether or not they are tugging and pulling at their ears. Again, the pressure inside the ears can be incredibly uncomfortable and even painful, and children might fidget with their ears to minimize the discomfort.
They could have a fever
If a child has a middle ear infection, commonly, they could also have a fever. If your child’s ear looks red, if they tug at their ear and seem fussier lately, and they have a fever over 100 degrees F then it’s probably time to see a pediatrician.
Their ears might drain
Another telltale sign of an ear infection in your little one is the presence of fluid or pus draining from the ear. If there is the presence of blood in the fluid this might be a sign of a ruptured eardrum. While the eardrum will heal on its own, it’s still a good idea to see your pediatrician if pus or fluid is draining from your child’s ear.
If your child is displaying symptoms of an ear infection, or if you’re concerned about your child’s recurring ear infections, it’s important to talk with your pediatrician. A pediatrician will be able to dispense the proper medication and discuss other ways to reduce your child’s risk of developing future infections.
What are the symptoms of mono?
Symptoms will vary between children, teens, and adults. Children don’t typically show the standard symptoms of mono. In fact, mono might look more like a cold or flu in your little one. The classic symptoms associated with mono are more apparent in teens and young adults between the ages of 15 to 24 years old.
Classic mono symptoms include,
- High fever
- Extreme fatigue and exhaustion
- Body aches
- Muscle weakness
- Swollen lymph nodes of the neck
- Sore throat
When should I turn to a pediatrician?
As you might already know, many of the symptoms above can be caused by colds, flu, and other infections that aren’t mono. If your child’s symptoms are mild, then you might not need to come into our office right away. Of course, if symptoms persist for weeks or get worse, then it’s time to visit your pediatrician.
You should call your pediatrician right away if,
- Your child develops a severe headache or sore throat
- Has seizures
- Displays changes in behavior
- Has a very high fever over 104 F
- Is dehydrated
- Develops a rash
If you are concerned that your teen may have mono, you must schedule an appointment with their pediatrician as soon as possible. While most cases will go away on their own without treatment, your child’s doctor can provide you with options for helping your child better manage their symptoms and feel better faster.
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
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.
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).
- 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.
What your child eats can have a profound impact on their health.
We understand that it isn’t always easy to raise a healthy eater. Our Jacksonville, FL, pediatricians Dr. Alexandra Kostur, and Dr. Roman Criollo have worked with families who are dealing with everything from nutritional deficiencies to picky eaters, helping guide them to healthier and more sustainable food choices for their growing little ones. Have questions about childhood nutrition? We can help.
How many calories should my child eat in a day?
Factors such as age, gender, and activity all play a role in the number of calories your child should consume every day. The range for children between the ages of 6-12 years old is 1,600 to 2,220 calories per day. This breakdown can provide you with the average range of calories for boys and girls between the ages of 6 to 17 years old.
What should my child’s meals contain?
Your child’s diet should be low in sugar, saturated and trans fat, sodium, and cholesterol. You can pick from a wide range of lean protein sources, complex carbs, and fruits and vegetables. Avoid refined grains and swap them for whole grains. Lean sources of protein include fish and skinless chicken breasts. Make sure your child’s plate is a rainbow of colors.
Nuts, seeds, low-fat dairy, and legumes can also be great sources of vitamins and nutrients for your child. While the occasional sweet or junk food can be a nice treat, it’s important that this happens in moderation. Eating processed foods has been linked to childhood obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
Does my child need supplements?
Every child is different and has different needs, so while some kids may not need a supplement others might. This is a question you may wish to pose to our Jacksonville, FL, pediatricians the next time you are in the office with your child. Most kids do get the nutrients they need from food. However, infants may require supplementation such as vitamin D, so it’s important to discuss this with your child’s doctor before starting them on vitamins.
I’m worried about my child’s weight, what should I do?
If you are concerned about your child’s weight it doesn’t hurt to give us a call. Our team of pediatricians knows how to handle weight concerns in children and it’s important to address the issue early on when lifestyle changes are easier to implement and weight gain or loss hasn’t become significant. Since sudden and unexplained weight gain may be a sign of health issues such as thyroid problems, it’s important to talk with your pediatrician right away if you have any concerns about your child’s weight.
We understand that eating healthy isn’t always as clear-cut as it might seem, but our Jacksonville, FL, pediatricians can provide you and your child with the education and information you need to ensure that your child is getting everything they need from their diet. To take advantage of our dietary guidance services here at Jacksonville Kids Pediatrics, call (904) 446-9991 to book your visit.
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