Could your child’s itchy, red eye be pink eye?
“Pink eye” are two words that no parent loves hearing but it’s one of the most common eye problems to affect both children and adults. In fact, according to the CDC, there are about 3 million cases of pink eye in the US every year. What are the warning signs of conjunctivitis and should you see a pediatrician right away or let the problem run its course?
What is conjunctivitis?
Known as pink eye, this condition causes inflammation of the conjunctiva, or the clear layer of tissue that covers the whites of the eye. Conjunctivitis can affect one or both eyes and is extremely contagious. It’s most commonly passed around in schools. Conjunctivitis can be the result of a bacterial or viral infection, or it can be brought about through certain irritants such as pollen, smoke, or ingredients found in skin care products.
What are the symptoms of conjunctivitis?
Your child might have pink eye if they are experiencing any of these symptoms,
- Redness in the whites of the eyes
- Swollen eyelids
- Sensitivity to light
- Excessive tearing
- A gritty feeling in the eye
- Itching or burning eyes
How is pink eye treated?
The treatment your child receives will depend on the cause of their conjunctivitis. Those with allergic conjunctivitis will find that as long as they avoid the offending irritant that the symptoms will go away.
If a bacterial infection is the cause, then antibiotic eye drops will be prescribed. Symptoms should lessen within 3-4 days of treatment but it’s important that you continue using your antibiotics for as long as your children’s doctor recommends.
If a viral infection is to blame there is really nothing that needs to be done, you’ll just have to let the cold or virus run its course. To alleviate symptoms, you can use eye drops or apply a cold compress to the eyes to reduce inflammation and discomfort.
It’s important that you have a pediatrician that you can always turn to for care, no matter if it’s a routine checkup or an emergency visit. From conjunctivitis to sports-related injuries, your children’s doctor will be able to provide comprehensive care to your little one as they grow up to make sure they remain healthy and happy.
Childhood asthma is more common than you might think. In fact, it is the most common chronic disorder in children, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Asthma is a long-term respiratory condition that causes swelling within the airways, making it different for your little one to breathe. How do you know if your child might have asthma? The telltale signs include:
- Trouble or difficulty breathing
- Wheezing or whistling when breathing in
- Tightness in the chest
- Coughing that often gets worse at night
- Fatigue, especially with exercise or play
If your child is experiencing or complaining about any of these symptoms it’s important that you schedule an appointment with a pediatrician as soon as possible. It’s important to write down the exact symptoms your little one has been experiencing, particularly because their symptoms may not be present during their evaluation. If you have a family history of asthma, this is something that your child’s pediatrician will want to know.
During the evaluation your doctor will also perform a physical exam, taking time to listen to both the heart and the lungs for signs of asthma. Sometimes a test known as spirometry will be used to test the lung function (this is most common in children over the age of 6 years old). This test is used to measure how much air is in the lungs and how quickly your child can exhale. Other tests may also be performed to check for other health issues that could be exacerbating your child’s asthma symptoms such as a sinus infection.
Asthma is serious and requires medication to keep this problem under control. While there is no cure for asthma, your pediatrician’s goal for asthma treatment is to prevent the severity and frequency of asthma attacks. We want to prevent your little one from having to rush to the hospital for a severe attack. Luckily, there are medications that your children’s doctor can prescribe to lessen asthma symptoms.
The type of asthma medication your child receives will depend on several factors including age. Infants and toddlers may require inhaled steroids to control asthma symptoms. The dosage will also change depending on your child’s age. Along with long-term medications that will be taken every day to help control symptoms and keep inflammation down there are fasting-acting medications that your child will also be prescribed (e.g. albuterol), which is only used when your little one feels an attack coming on. Before any medication is given to your child, your pediatrician will talk to both you and your little one about how to use asthma medication properly.
The number one goal of parents is to make sure their little ones are healthy and have the best quality of life possible. Of course, this means having a pediatrician in which you can always turn, whether for preventive care or treatment when health problems arise. You want a pediatrician you can trust to always provide quality and individualized care for your little one time and time again.
Of course, why treat a health issue that could easily have been prevented in the first place, right? The best way to detect problems early on and to also protect your child from a variety of potentially serious health issues is by bringing them in to visit their pediatrician regularly. These checkups will occur frequently, particularly for the first few years of your little one’s life. This is because your child is reaching a lot of developmental milestones during these first few years and it’s important that you have a children’s doctor that can make sure that they are reaching these milestones.
Plus, these checkups are also important for parents, too. After all, we know that parents have a lot of questions regarding everything from their child’s nutrition to activity levels to vaccinations. While these checkups are most certainly about making sure your child is leading a healthy life it’s also important that you have all of your questions and concerns answered to promote that healthy lifestyle in your child. Make sure to write down any questions ahead of time so that you will have all of your questions addressed during your child’s next visit.
These checkups are crucial for preventing a variety of health problems and also making sure your little one gets the care and treatment they need should an issue arise. During these wellness checkups your pediatrician will monitor your child’s:
- Height and weight
- Heart rate and blood pressure
- Vision and hearing
- Reflexes and musculoskeletal system
- Lungs and heart
Your child will also have to get a series of immunizations throughout their childhood to protect against serious and potentially life-threatening health problems. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has created a comprehensive vaccination schedule to make sure your child is getting all the immunizations they need.
Once your child is born it’s important that you bring them in regularly to see their doctor for checkups. After all, preventive medical care is the best way to stave off certain illnesses and injuries. Plus, these checkups also ensure that if there is a health problem present that it’s detected right away when it’s much easier to treat.
Your child is growing by leaps and bounds, so it should go without saying that the foods they consume can provide ample energy and fuel their mind and body, or they can cause deficiencies, mood swings, sluggishness, and health problems. Your child’s nutrition is of the utmost importance and establishing healthy eating habits early on can greatly benefit your child for both the short-term and for the future.
With childhood obesity still being a very serious and real problem in our country, it’s never too early to start your child eating a healthy, balanced diet. It’s amazing how what you eat can either help or harm your health. Here are some tips to support good nutrition in your little one.
Don’t Forget Breakfast
While busy parents might forget to eat first thing in the morning (or turn to coffee to get that burst of energy) growing children should not skip out on breakfast. Making sure they have a hearty protein-rich breakfast will help them stay fuller longer. Greek yogurt or eggs can be a great source of protein. Couple that with whole grains and some veggies and you have the ultimate, energized breakfast.
Let Your Child Be an Active Participant
If you just tell your child what to eat all the time it’s can be far more challenging to have them eat what they should and children don’t really understand for themselves why certain foods are good for them. Getting your child actively involved in their own nutrition is a great and invaluable lesson that they will carry with them throughout life. Let them choose their favorite fruits and vegetables. Plant a garden together and show them how to tend to herbs and vegetables. Make cooking together a priority and enjoy time with the family while teaching your child how to cook.
Revamp Your Diet
We know that it can be difficult to completely transition your child into a healthier lifestyle, particularly if eating habits haven’t been the best so far; however, a pediatrician can help guide you through the process to help you make simple decisions that could greatly improve your child’s diet. Simply swapping out certain unhealthy options for healthier ones might be all you need. For example, replace soda with flavored water, ice cream with yogurt, and potato chips with mixed nuts.
Sugar in Moderation
Okay, we know it’s impossible to prevent your child from ever consuming sugar (after all, what’s a birthday party without the birthday cake?); however, you should limit how much sugar your child consumes each day. Keep sodas, sports drinks, desserts and the like out of the house to prevent temptation. Sure, these treats aren’t that bad for you when consumed sparingly, but we all know the negative effect sugar has on our physical and mental health.
If you have questions about your child’s nutritional habits or their health, it’s important that you have a pediatrician that you trust to provide you with the comprehensive and understanding care you and your little one need. Turn to a pediatrician today to have all your questions and concerns addressed regarding your child’s nutrition and lifestyle.
Your child awoke in the middle of the night complaining that they didn’t feel well. Your first reaction is to put your hand up to their forehead to see if they have a fever. Of course, if their head feels warm the next step is to take their temperature to see if they are actually running a fever. While most children will experience a fever at some point, it’s important to know when you can treat the problem at home and when you need to visit a pediatrician immediately.
Most of the time a fever isn’t anything to worry about, especially if your child is otherwise healthy. A fever is the body’s way of fighting off the infection, after all; however, there are instances in which you will want to call your children’s doctor to find out whether you need to come in for care.
We believe in a parent’s intuition, so if it seems like something just isn’t right, you should give us a call and find out if your child’s symptoms or behaviors are something that need to be handled right away. Your child’s exact temperature and their age are two very important factors when it comes to whether or not your child should receive medical attention.
It’s important to call your pediatrician if your baby is under 3 months old and has a temperature of 100.4 F or higher. A baby between the ages of 3 to 6 months old that has a fever of 101 F or higher (or has a fever that lasts more than a day) should also see a pediatric doctor. If your child is between the ages of 6 months and one year old and has a temperature at or above 103 F or has a fever lasting more than a day, give us a call.
Other times to call a pediatrician include:
- A high fever that lasts more than a day in children who are 1 to 2 years old
- A child that has a fever of 104 F or higher (age does not matter in this case)
- A fever that is accompanied by vomiting or diarrhea
- Signs of dehydration along with a fever
- A fever that is also accompanied by a rash
- Children who have weak or compromised immune systems and develop a fever
If your child’s fever doesn’t require a visit to your pediatrician you can try applying warm compresses or bathing your child in lukewarm water to help ease their symptoms. Never use cold water or ice to bring down a fever.
If in doubt, don’t hesitate to call your pediatrician to find out what you should do about your child’s fever.
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