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Posts for category: Child Health

By Westfield Pediatrics, PA
August 17, 2020
Category: Child Health
Child Behavior ProblemsWhile we may not love it, all kids are going to act up, throw tantrums and be irritable at times; however, if your child is displaying negative actions and behaviors regularly, you may be concerned that there is something more going on. Is your child just “going through a phase” or is this a sign of a more serious problem?

Is This Normal Behavior?
 
Common behaviors issues may include:
  • Being defiant
  • Lying
  • Whining
  • Impulsivity
  • Issues around bedtime
  • Issues around food (being a “picky eater” or refusing to eat)
  • Anger
  • Temper tantrums
Most of these issues are common and while they certainly aren’t pleasant at the moment, they are typically fleeting. However, you may want to seek professional help if your child’s behaviors:
  • Are still occurring regardless of discipline or punishment
  • Are affecting their schoolwork and/or social interactions
  • Aren’t appropriate for their age (e.g. throwing temper tantrums as an older child)
While the behaviors above are fairly common in children, certain behaviors are not normal and should be a cause for concern:
  • Aggressive or violent behavior
  • Harm to self, others, or animals
  • Hearing or seeing things that aren’t there
  • Breaking the rules or skipping school
  • Sudden or extreme behavioral changes
  • Showing no remorse
How can a pediatrician help?

Pediatricians come equipped to handle and address any issues regarding your child’s health, and this includes behavioral concerns you may have as a parent. If your pediatrician believes that a developmental, neurological, or mental health disorder could be to blame, then they may recommend additional testing and evaluations. This is done either through their practice or with a specific specialist who can properly diagnose and treat certain conditions such as depression, oppositional defiant disorder, ADHD, or autism spectrum disorder.

Based on the results of your child’s screening, your pediatrician will then be able to create a custom treatment plan to help you and your child manage their condition and their symptoms. Your pediatrician can also refer your child to therapists and other specialists who can also provide additional support and treatment for the whole family.

If you’re having concerns about your child’s behavior, it’s best to talk with your pediatrician at your child’s next wellness checkup.
By Westfield Pediatrics, PA
May 20, 2020
Category: Child Health
Tags: Tonsillitis  
TonsillitisEveryone is born with two tonsils. These are lymph nodes located right in the back of the throat. They help out the immune system by housing important white blood cells. Even so, the tonsils themselves can become infected, which is known as tonsillitis. The tonsils swell up, causing pain and discomfort. Children between the ages of five and eleven experience it the most. You need to bring your child in to see a pediatrician right away. Tonsillitis is commonly caused by streptococcus pyogenes also known as strep throat. 
 
The Basics of Tonsillitis
 
Your tonsils work by trapping dangerous viruses and bacteria within. As mentioned before, this can lead them to become infected. Infections are easily transferred between children, with tonsillitis being caused by strep, adenovirus, the flu, and Epstein-Barr virus (mono).
 
Your pediatrician is highly qualified in treating tonsillitis. That is because almost all cases are found in children. During puberty, the tonsils shrink in size. This makes it much harder for them to become infected. You need to seek medical intervention right away. Infections can become life-threatening if not treated, leading to diseases like rheumatic fever. An even more serious complication is a peritonsillar abscess. The infection spreads beyond the tonsils and swells up the neck and chest tissues. This can block and stop your child’s airways. 
 
Signs of Tonsillitis in Children
 
In children under the age of two that have problems communicating what is wrong, symptoms manifest in the form of excessive drooling, refusing food or bottles, and fussiness. Expect these symptoms in older children: 
  • Sore throat
  • Noticeably bigger tonsils
  • Fever
  • Pain or problems with swallowing
  • Yellow or white patches coating the throat and tonsils
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
  • Foul breath
  • Stiff neck
  • Headaches
  • A scratchy or rough voice
  • Stomach pain
Diagnosing Tonsillitis
 
Your pediatrician won’t have any trouble diagnosing your child with tonsillitis. They will first start by asking for a brief history of when your child started feeling sick. The next step is performing a physical exam. The pediatrician will look in the throat, nose, and ears. If strep is suspected, a nurse takes a swab of the throat. A blood test will also be drawn to identify what bacteria or virus is responsible.
 
If strep or another bacteria is responsible for your child’s tonsillitis, antibiotics are prescribed. It’s important that your child finishes the whole dose. This guarantees that the entire infection is gone.
By Westfield Pediatrics, PA
May 06, 2020
Category: Child Health
Tags: ADHD  
ADHDParents want the best for their child, which is why check-ups and appointments with their pediatricians are so important. Yet your pediatrician isn’t just available for when your child is sick or has physical ailments. They can also help with mental and behavioral conditions, including the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD. If your child struggles with focus, impulsivity, attention, or hyperactivity, schedule them for an evaluation. It’s also important to note that children must be at least four years old for a diagnosis.
 
The Three Facets of ADHD
There are three parts to pediatric ADHD: impulsivity, inattention, and hyperactivity. Each of them is signs and are necessary for a diagnosis. Here is some information about each of them.
 
Inattention: your child spends a lot of time daydreaming or not paying attention, struggles to listen, is easily distracted, makes careless mistakes, rarely finishes tasks, and is disorganized to the point of losing or forgetting important things. 
 
It’s important to understand that children with ADHD can pay attention, it’s just harder with topics that don’t interest them. They can tune out when tasks get repetitive. Working with them to organize their schoolwork and tasks is essential. Try to provide them with a quiet and calm environment to work in.
 
Impulsivity: your child can’t wait or acts without thinking, interrupts others, and has problems taking turns.
 
Children with ADHD have trouble with self-control, which leads to the impulsive characteristics mentioned above. They have a harder time censoring themselves. This results in them invading people's personal space or asking overly personal questions. Impulsivity problems also lead to moodiness and overreactions. 
 
Hyperactivity: your child seems to constantly be moving, without being able to sit still without squirming. They also talk too much and loudly, often playing in areas that aren’t permitted. 
 
It’s normal for younger children to have high energy levels. It’s only when your child seems to be constantly moving that it could be an issue with hyperactivity. When they do sit still, they are still moving. They may tap their fingers, shake their legs, or move their feet. 
 
Diagnosing ADHD
A diagnosis won’t happen right away. There are many steps in the process before an accurate understanding is available. Your pediatrician will most likely want statements from not just you and your child, but other caregivers and teachers. 

At the appointment with your child’s pediatrician, they’ll want you and others to fill out a questionnaire about your child’s behavior. Symptoms need to be present in multiple settings, like at home and school and cause issues at both. 
 
The criteria change depending on your child’s age, so it isn’t one-size-fits-all. Your pediatrician will work with you to get an accurate picture of your child’s situation. 
By Westfield Pediatrics, PA
July 03, 2019
Category: Child Health
Tags: Child Care   Physical Exam  

Once your child is born it’s amazing just how quickly they grow and develop. It seems like you blink and suddenly they are talking and walking. During these important milestones it’s also important to have a pediatrician that you turn to regularly to make sure that these developmental milestones are being met and that your child is healthy. After all, if there are any problems you want to find out as soon as possible when early medical interventions can make all the difference.

From the moment your child is born until 2 years old, your pediatrician will most likely want to see them every six months for wellness check ups. After your child turns 2 years old you should still bring them in once a year for a routine physical exam and preventive care. Along with checking your child’s vital signs and monitoring their height and weight your pediatrician will also check hearing, eyesight, respiration, cardiac activity and reflexes.

A physical exam will check all systems of your child’s body to make sure that everything is functioning properly. If your child’s doctor does detect a problem it can be treated immediately. Along with a physical exam your child will also undergo any additional screenings and vaccinations that are necessary for maintaining optimal health.

Furthermore, your pediatrician can also recommend workout routines and appropriate physical activity for your child based on their current health and lifestyle, as well as recommendations on diet, sleeping habits and even their emotional and behavioral health. Even if a pediatrician won’t be able to fully treat all conditions they can still refer your child to a specialist who will be able to handle a specific health problem or injury.

Once a child is old enough to go to school it’s also important that parents schedule their child’s sports physical so that they can participate in physical activity and school sports. An annual sports physical can detect past injuries and other problems that could affect your child’s ability to participate in certain activities.

These physical exams are often mandatory before a child can play school sports; however, even if it isn’t mandatory you should still bring your child in once a year for a comprehensive sports physical to make sure that they are healthy enough for certain physical activity.

Make sure your child is seeing their pediatrician regularly for care, not just when they are sick but also to ward away infections and other health problems. Schedule your child’s next physical exam today.

By Westfield Pediatrics, PA
June 18, 2019
Category: Child Health
Tags: Diabetes  

If your child has just been diagnosed with diabetes, it’s important that you have a pediatrician you can turn to in order to create a customized and effective treatment plan. While diabetes cannot be cured, diagnosing, and treating your child’s diabetes as soon as possible is key to helping them maintain a long, healthy and happy life.

There are two different kinds of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. Type 1, also known as insulin-dependent diabetes, usually happens during childhood. This autoimmune disorder occurs when the body attacks the pancreas so that it doesn’t produce insulin. Type 2 is the most common form of diabetes in adults; however, children can also develop type 2 diabetes.

Unfortunately, with the increase in childhood obesity our doctors are seeing a rise in type 2 diabetes in children, as well. The pancreas of children and teens with type 2 diabetes does produce insulin but the body just doesn’t properly respond to it.

Symptoms of Diabetes

Both types of diabetes often present with the same symptoms including:

  • Fatigue
  • Increased hunger and thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Blurry vision
  • Sores and cuts that don’t heal properly

Other symptoms may include:

  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Unexpected weight loss
  • Numbness or tingling

Treating Type 1 Diabetes

There is no cure for type 1 diabetes. Since your child’s body doesn’t produce insulin this means that they will need to receive daily insulin injections. Along with taking these injections, you will need to monitor your child’s blood sugar every day to make sure their levels aren’t too high or don’t drop too quickly.

Treating Type 2 Diabetes

Even though children and teens with Type 2 diabetes produce insulin, the body doesn’t respond properly to it. Because of this, your child will need to take daily medication to maintain healthy glucose levels. As with type 1 diabetes, daily blood sugar monitoring is necessary to make sure that the medication your pediatrician prescribed is effective.

Along with taking medication, there are certain lifestyle modifications that can also go a long way to controlling your child’s type 2 diabetes. In fact, sometimes type 2 can be reversed with a healthy diet and regular exercise alone, depending on the severity. Lifestyle modifications include:

  • Eating a healthy balanced diet
  • Limiting sugar and carbs, which can spike blood sugar
  • Getting at least 30 minutes of exercise a day most days of the week
  • Losing excess weight and maintaining a healthy weight

If your child is experiencing symptoms of diabetes or if you have questions about the best way to treat your little one’s diabetes don’t hesitate to contact your pediatrician for an appointment.