Posts for category: Children's Health
Named after the characteristic sound of its notorious coughing fits, whooping cough is an extraordinarily uncomfortable condition that typically manifests itself in babies and in children ages 11 to 18 whose vaccine-provided immunities have begun to fade. In addition to causing several debilitating symptoms, whooping cough also carries the possibility of infant mortality, particularly for patients under 12 months old. Further complicating the matter, initial symptoms often resemble a common cold, making quick detection a tricky task. To be more proactive in the treatment and prevention of this disease, read below to learn the basics on whooping cough and how to best go about alleviating it.
What is Whooping Cough?
Officially diagnosed by the name pertussis, whooping cough is a highly contagious bacterial infection that resides within the nose and throat. Whooping cough is spread through airborne bacteria produced by an infected person’s sneezes, coughs, or laughs. Once whooping cough has been contracted, the apparent symptoms begin in an identical fashion to the common cold. That includes:
Fever (below 102 F)
Congestion and sneezing
After a week to 10 days, these symptoms begin to grow worse. Mucus thickens and starts to coat the patient’s airways, leading to rampant and prolonged coughing. These fits can be so violent that that they may cause vomiting, lengthy periods of extreme fatigue, and result in blue or red face. This last sign is the direct outcome of the body’s struggle to fill the lungs with air, and once breathing is finally achieved, the loud “whooping” sound that defines the condition is produced.
What are the Dangers of the Disease?
If left untreated, whooping cough can produce a number of painful and dangerous complications, with the specific ailments depending on the age of the patient.
For teens and adults, untreated whooping cough can result in:
Bruised or cracked ribs
Broken blood vessels in the skin and whites of the eyes
For infants, complications from whooping cough are a great deal more severe. They include:
Slowed or stopped breathing
Feeding difficulties, which may lead to dehydration and severe weight loss
What Can I Do About It?
The best approach to preventing the disease is through vaccination. This is especially important for babies, as whooping cough leaves them in significant danger, though it is essential to keep your children on regular vaccination schedules, regardless of their individual age.
While vaccines are extremely effective in reducing the likelihood of contracting whooping cough, the possibility of developing the condition is still present. Due to this perpetual risk, if you witness your child’s cold symptoms continuing to worsen, arrange an appointment with their local pediatrician to find out if the problem may be whooping cough. If diagnosed early enough, antibiotics can be used to cut down on the painful symptoms and prevent the infection from spreading to others.
Concerned? Give Us a Call
Whooping cough is a serious condition that can be extremely dangerous if left untreated. If you have any suspicions that your child may have developed this condition, give us a call today!
There is a lot of care and work that goes into raising a newborn, and your pediatrician is here to help right from the beginning. Your pediatrician typically sees your newborn for their very first appointment within a few days of being discharged from the hospital. Your pediatrician is here for you to ask any questions or address any concerns you may have about your newborn and caring for your newborn. Some of the topics that your pediatrician may discuss in that first visit are:
Feeding- Your pediatrician will watch your baby’s feeding habits during this period and make sure that their growth is right on schedule. During the first six months of your newborn’s life, you’ll feed them formula or breastmilk. Breastfed babies tend to eat more frequently than babies who are fed formula.
Sleep- Every baby has different sleep schedules and needs. Most newborns tend to sleep sixteen to seventeen hours a day, but only sleep a few hours at a time. Sleep cycles don’t tend to normalize until your baby is about six months old. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that healthy infants should sleep on their backs until they are able to roll over on their own.
Bathing- Infants do not usually require daily bathing, as long as the diaper area is thoroughly cleaned during changes, because daily bathing dry out their skin. Instead, it’s recommended to sponge bathe areas as needed.
Umbilical Cord Care- An infant’s umbilical cord should eventually dry up and fall off on its own by the time your baby is two weeks old. Until then, make sure to keep the area clean and dry by using sponge baths instead of submerging your baby in the tub. Small drops of blood are normal around the time that the umbilical cord is supposed to fall off. If you notice any active bleeding, foul-smelling yellowish discharge, or red skin around the stump, contact your pediatrician.
Your newborn should see their pediatrician at 2 weeks, 1 month, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 9 months, 12 months, and regularly throughout their life. Call your pediatrician for any questions on newborn care today!
Does Your Child Have Vision Problems?
Does your child have vision problems? Children learn through their eyes. Healthy vision is critical for children to see the computer and chalkboard, read, write, and even play. Children's eyes should be examined regularly, as many eye conditions and vision problems can be detected and treated early. Here are six signs that your child may have a vision problem.
1. Squinting eyes. If your child is nearsighted then squinting his eyes helps him make his vision a little clearer and can clear up any distorted vision. Nearsighted just means that they can see things that are near them but have a harder time with objects that are far away. Squinting is a coping mechanism to help relieve their blurry vision.
2. Sitting close to the TV. While it's a myth that sitting close to the television will damage your eyes, this habit may be a sign of a vision problem. If your child can't see televised images clearly or always holds a book too close, it could mean she or he is nearsighted.
3. Frequent eye rubbing. Yes, kids often rub their eyes when they're upset or tired. But if your child rubs her eyes while she's trying to concentrate on something, or while she is being active, it could mean that she has a vision problem. Frequently rubbing their eyes can be a sign of eye strain in children. It can be a sign of a focusing issue that causes the eyes to tire easily.
4. Losing place while reading. When children learn to read and are sounding out words, they will frequently use their finger to track which word they're on. But eventually children should be able to focus without losing their place. If after a while your child still uses his finger, ask him to try reading without pointing. If he has trouble, he may have a vision problem.
5. Sensitivity to light. Are your child's eyes sensitive to sunshine or indoor lighting? Many common eye conditions can make people more sensitive to light. If your child's light sensitivity is caused by an eye condition, then treatment for their condition can mean that his eye becomes less light sensitive.
6. Receiving lower grades. If your child is having a hard time seeing what her teacher writes on the board because of poor vision, she may not tell you about it. As a result, her grades can suffer. Most of what kids learn in schools is taught visually. That means if your child has an untreated vision problem, it could affect his or her development.
Yearly eye exams are as important as visits to the pediatrician. If you think your child may have a vision problem, schedule an appointment with a doctor. Early detection and treatment provide the best opportunity to correct a vision problem so your child can learn to see clearly.
Being a responsible parent often means being proactive. This is true when it comes to your child's education, their safety in a car, and their health. One of the best ways you can be proactive as a parent is by properly immunizing your children against vaccine-preventable illnesses. At Jacksonville Kids Pediatrics in Jacksonville, Florida, Dr. Alexandra Kostur and nurse practitioners Lori Barnhart and Julie Stephens believe in working alongside parents to provide the best care for their children.
Prior to the routine use of vaccines, parents lived in fear of their child acquiring a crippling or life-threatening illness. Diphtheria, a bacterial toxin that causes inflammation of the mucus membranes, claimed tens of thousands of lives in the 1920's. Contracting polio, a virus that leads to muscle wasting, paralysis, and even death, was a very real possibility for children in the 1940's and 1950's. Even measles was considered a rite of passage at one time. As immunizations became available, these diseases have, over time, been eradicated from the United States and beyond. The last case of polio was reported in 1979, while there have only been five cases of diphtheria in over a decade. Tetanus, rubella, and mumps are also exceedingly rare thanks to childhood immunizations.
The importance of immunizing
Many parents wonder, "If polio, diphtheria and other diseases aren't a threat, why do I need to immunize my children?" While the vast majority of people will never be exposed to many of the diseases we vaccinate against, it only takes one person traveling from a place where vaccinations aren't as common and these illnesses still exist to make them a possibility again. There are also illnesses that are still circulating in our country, including influenza, meningitis, and pertussis, that can have devastating consequences without vaccines. As the saying goes, it's better to have something - in this case, immunizations - and not need it than to need it and not have it.
To schedule your child's immunizations or boosters, contact Jacksonville Kids Pediatrics in Jacksonville, Florida to make an appointment with our pediatric staff today!
Maintaining an optimum weight is important for the health of your little one.
It’s never too early to make sure that your child is adopting the best habits for maintaining a healthy weight. After all, with obesity on the rise among our children and teens, it’s so important that we are doing everything we can to keep kids healthy and to prevent serious health problems that can arise as a result of obesity. These habits, along with visiting a pediatrician for regular care and advice on maintaining a healthy lifestyle, can keep your child feeling their best.
If your child is overweight there are certain things you can do to help them lose the weight and to maintain a healthy BMI (body mass index),
Lead by Example
Children pick up a lot of their habits from their parents, and it’s certainly much easier to eat in an unhealthy fashion if everyone in the family is. This is the time to truly evaluate the family’s eating habits as a whole. Are your meals healthy, balanced, and nutritious or do you find yourself going out for fast food or heating up prepared meals? If parents make healthier eating choices children are more likely to, as well.
While we all seem to be glued to electronics these days, it’s important to power down and to get some regular physical activity. This can include joining a school sports team, community sports, or even going out in the backyard and kicking a ball around. Children should get at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day.
Choose Healthy Snacks
When your child comes home from school are they rushing to grab cookies, potato chips, or other unhealthy snack items? While these foods can certainly be fun and enjoyable in moderation, they shouldn’t be the norm. Instead of stocking the house with junk food, opt for things like peanut butter or hummus on apples or veggies. If you aren’t sure which kinds of healthy snacks to get, talk to your child’s pediatrician for recommendations and advice.
Get Some Shut Eye
It’s important that your child is getting enough sleep each and every night. In fact, children that don’t get enough sleep may actually be more likely to become overweight or obese. Making sure that your child regularly receives eight hours a night is a great way to set them towards a healthy lifestyle.
Concerned? Give Us a Call!
If your child is having challenges with their weight it’s important to turn to a pediatrician who can provide you with the most effective and safest methods to help shed the excess weight and to maintain a healthier lifestyle.