Posts for category: Children's Health
Despite all of the research supporting the effectiveness of immunizations, many parents still question the safety of vaccines for their little ones. Will they protect my infant from serious disease? Or are the vaccines themselves harmful?
Immunization is one of the best ways parents can protect their babies from serious childhood diseases ranging from tetanus and mumps to whooping cough and seasonal flu—and have been for more than 50 years. In fact, vaccinations have reduced the number of infections from vaccine-preventable diseases by more than 90%!
Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that every child receive the protection that immunization provides.
Do vaccines even work?
Yes, vaccines work every year to protect millions of children from serious illnesses. Because infants are particularly vulnerable to infectious diseases, if an unvaccinated baby is exposed to a certain germ, the baby’s body may not be strong enough to fight the disease. Therefore it is very important that parents take the necessary steps to ward off harmful complications through immunization.
Are there side effects?
As with any medication, side effects can occur with vaccines. These side effects are usually very minor and include redness or tenderness at the injection site or a low fever, which indicates that the body is reacting positively to the vaccine. Most babies do not experience any side effects from vaccines, and severe reactions are very rare.
Parents have the power to protect their baby from serious illnesses. Deciding not to vaccinate your child could put him at risk for life-threatening childhood diseases. If you have questions about immunization, talk with your pediatrician. You can also visit the sites listed below for additional information and updated immunization schedules.
American Academy of Pediatrics
Food and Drug Administration
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Network for Immunization Information
Teething is an important part of your baby’s development. Although it can be an irritable time for your baby, there are many ways you can help ease the pain. Most babies get their first teeth around 6 months, but they might come anytime between 2 and 12 months of age. Teething does not cause a high fever or vomiting and diarrhea, so if your baby does develop these symptoms, it is important that you contact your pediatrician immediately.
Helping Ease the Pain
When your baby is teething, all you want to do is help ease the pain. Your pediatrician offers a few tips to keep in mind when your baby is teething:
- Wipe your baby’s face often with a cloth to remove drool and prevent rashes from developing.
- Give your baby something to chew on, but make sure it is big enough so that it can’t be swallowed and that it can’t break into small pieces. Teething rings are a popular choice for babies to chew on, as well as plush toys that are crunchy on the inside.
- Rub your baby’s gums with a clean finger.
- Never tie a teething ring around your baby’s neck, as it could get caught on something.
- If your baby seems irritable, ask your pediatrician if it is okay to give your baby a dose of acetaminophen or ibuprofen to ease discomfort.
Cleaning Your Baby’s New Teeth
Once your baby’s new teeth have arrived, they are susceptible to plaque buildup just like adult teeth, which can lead to discoloration and dental complications. However, do no use toothpaste on your child’s teeth until they are old enough to spit—around the age of 2 or 3. Until then, brush their teeth with a small, soft toothbrush and water. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that kids visit the dentist by age 1, when six to eight teeth are in place, in order to spot any potential problems and advise you about proper preventive care.
By visiting your pediatrician, you can establish proper care for your child. Your pediatrician can help guide you in caring for your child through teething so that they are more comfortable.
- Sudden high fever
- Severe headache that isn’t easily confused with other types of headaches
- Stiff neck
- Vomiting or nausea with headache
- Confusion or difficulty concentrating
- Sleepiness or difficulty waking up
- Sensitivity to light
- Lack of interest in drinking and eating
- Skin rash in some cases
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.
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 meant that the appendix has just broken open or ruptured. The pain might leave for several hours, but this is the moment when the 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.