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Posts for category: Children's Health

By Westfield Pediatrics, PA
June 18, 2020
Category: Children's Health
Tags: Vision Test  
Vision TestParents want nothing more than their children to be healthy and happy. This applies to every element of their well-being, including their eyes! Your pediatrician recommends that all children receive a comprehensive eye exam by the age of one. These tests detect any problems that require correction. Prolonging an exam can damage your child’s eyes for life. 
 
When Should My Child’s Vision Be Tested?
Your child should have had several tests done by the age of five. This confirms for your pediatrician that they are developing normally. Follow this recommended time-table: 
  • At birth: this is performed right away on your child, as part of the newborn physical assessment.
  • 6 months: your pediatrician evaluates your child’s eyes at their regular appointment. 
  • 3.5 years old: at your child’s appointment, the pediatrician tests their eyes and also their visual acuity. 
  • 5 years old: a standard assessment performed at a pediatric appointment. 
After this, eye screenings are implemented at your discretion. Your pediatrician will check your child’s eyes at their annual checkup. If your child fails an eye exam, you need to schedule a full pediatric eye evaluation right away. 
 
Another reason you should get your child’s eyes checked is if you have a family history of eye conditions. This is especially true if you have other children that have vision problems.
 
Why Does My Child Need an Eye Exam If They Passed the Vision Screening?
There are certain circumstances where your pediatrician refers your child for a full eye examination. This is common for infants that show signs of a lazy eye or crossed eyes. Other possible red flags in infants are problems tracking objects or a strangely colored pupil. 
 
Is your child struggling in school? Don’t jump to conclusions without an eye examination from your pediatrician. If a child can’t see the board or follow along with lessons, their performance will suffer. Corrective eyewear and other treatment options can help. Eye examinations are even more important for children with learning disabilities. Eye problems can make coping with a learning disorder much harder. 
 
What to Expect at Your Child’s Eye Examination
Your child has nothing to be worried about at their appointment. There is nothing scary or painful! The pediatrician will ask you about your family history, especially anything related to eye health. From there, they check your child’s pupil and muscle function, along with sharpness.
 
In certain cases, your pediatrician will dilate the eyes. This is performed by placing special drops in the eyes. After about forty minutes, the pediatrician can examine the major structures. 
By Westfield Pediatrics, PA
June 04, 2020
Category: Children's Health
Tags: Autism  
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental condition that affects how a person views and interacts with the world around them, including other people. In most cases, differences become apparent by the time your child reaches 24 months. Mainly, parents notice behavioral differences and language delays. If you suspect that your child has ASD, schedule an appointment with your local pediatric office. We work with you to figure out what to do next.
 
Signs of ASD 
Every child with ASD is different. Not everyone will have the same symptoms or experiences. With that in mind, here are some summaries on social, communication, and behavioral differences. 
 
Social Differences
  • Your child doesn’t keep or make eye contact
  • They don’t respond to your facial expressions or smiles
  • Does not reciprocate facial expressions or have the appropriate ones
  • Doesn’t respond to parent’s pointing 
  • Has problems making friends
  • Shows a lack of concern for others
Communication Differences
  • Your child hasn’t spoken by 16 months
  • Repeats or parrots what others say
  • Doesn’t feel the need or want to communicate 
  • Starts missing language and social milestones after 15 months
  • Doesn’t pretend play but does have a good memory for numbers, songs, and letters
Behavioral Differences
  • Has an affinity for routines and schedules and does not like altering them
  • Likes to twirl their fingers, sway, rock, or spin
  • Has strange activities that they enjoy doing repeatedly
  • They are sensitive to sounds, lights, touch, textures, and smells
  • They are more interested in the parts of a toy instead of the whole thing
Common Examples
Don’t feel overwhelmed by the information listed above. As mentioned, a child can have a mixture of any of these behaviors. There are a few other common examples that your pediatrician sees. These give you insight into how a neurotypical child reacts in certain situations versus a child with ASD.  
 
By the age of 12 months, your child should turn their head when they hear their name. A child with ASD won’t respond even if their name is called multiple times.
 
By 18 months, a child with speech delays finds accommodations through gestures, facial expressions, or pointing. Children with ASD find no reason to compensate for speech. 
 
After 24 months, many children enjoy bringing their parents objects or toys to look at or play with. A child with ASD may bring their parent an object but will not play with their parent or respond to their reaction.
By Westfield Pediatrics, PA
October 15, 2019
Category: Children's Health
Tags: Appendicitis  

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

  • Vomiting

  • Loss of appetite

  • Fever

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 mean that the appendix has just broken open or ruptured. The pain might leave for several hours, but this is the moment when appendicitis becomes dangerous, making it more important than ever to visit your pediatrician for immediate care for your child.

Treatment

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.

By Westfield Pediatrics, PA
May 03, 2019
Category: Children's Health
Tags: Autism  

What is Autism?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD), or autism, is a developmental disability that can cause significant communication, communication, and behavioral challenges. The thinking, learning, and problem-solving abilities of individuals with autism can range from gifted to severely challenged. Some individuals with autism need only a bit of help in their daily lives; others need more. While there's no cure for autism, early treatment can make a big difference in the lives of many children.

Overview

ASD is the fastest growing serious, developmental disability, affecting an estimated one out of 59 kids in America. Autism begins in early childhood and eventually causes problems functioning in society — at work, in school, and socially, for example. Often kids show symptoms of autism within the first year. Autism impacts how people perceive and socialize with others, causing problems in social interaction and communication.

Symptoms

Autism can look different in different people. Kids with autism have a hard time interacting with others. Social skills difficulties are some of the most common signs. A child with ASD might want to have close relationships but not know how. Most have some problems with communication. Kids with ASD also act in ways that seem unusual. Examples of this can include repetitive behaviors like jumping, hand-flapping, constant moving, fixations on certain objects, fussy eating habits, impulsiveness, and aggressive behavior.

Causes

The exact cause of ASD is not known, but it's believed that genetic and environmental factors are involved. Research shows that ASD tends to run in families. Changes in certain genes increase the risk that a child with develop autism. Research also shows that certain environmental influences may increase autism risk in people who are genetically predisposed to the disorder. Researchers are exploring whether certain factors such as medications, viral infections, or complications during pregnancy play a role in triggering ASD.

Treatment

Treatment options may include nutritional therapy, physical therapy, behavior and communication therapies, educational therapies, family therapies, and medications. No medication can improve the core signs of ASD, but specific medications can help control symptoms. For example, antipsychotic drugs are sometimes used to treat severe behavioral problems; certain medications may be prescribed if your child is hyperactive; and antidepressants may be prescribed for anxiety.


Autism can impact your child's quality of life. If you think your child may have autism, find a pediatrician near you and schedule a consultation. Proper diagnosis and treatment of autism can help your child live a happier, more successful life. The earlier children with autism get help, the greater their chance of treatment success.

By Westfield Pediatrics, PA
April 19, 2019
Category: Children's Health
Tags: Sick Child   Flu  

Your child just woke up with a runny nose, an elevated temperature and body aches. Could this just be a passing cold or could it be the flu? It’s important to be able to tell the difference between the two. A common cold is usually mild and will go away on its own without treatment but the flu often requires medical attention to prevent serious complications. While an annual flu shot can protect your child from developing the flu it’s also important to know what to look for and when to visit their pediatrician for care.

Warning Signs of the Flu

Unfortunately the common cold and the influenza viruses have a lot of the same symptoms, which can make it difficult to determine what your child might have. We know that you don’t want to worry unnecessarily and rush them into the office if you don’t need to but it’s also good to know when their condition warrants medical attention.

One difference is that a cold will come on gradually over the course of a couple of days while the flu will often attack suddenly, with symptoms showing up practically overnight. While a fever isn’t a common symptom of a cold a fever is almost always present with the flu, as well as full body achiness or weakness.

Children are also more likely to deal with diarrhea or vomiting with the flu. While symptoms of a cold are usually localized to the head, flu symptoms are more widespread.

You Suspect Your Child has the Flu. Now What?

The first step is to call your pediatrician. While it can take up to a week for your child to feel better after the flu sometimes medical attention is required. It’s especially important that you talk to your doctor if your child has flu-like symptoms and they are under the age of 5, as young children are more likely to deal with health-related complications from the flu.

You’ve talked to your doctor and you now know whether you are supposed to bring them in right away for care or whether you should continue to monitor their condition before bringing them in. At this point the most important thing you can do is help reduce their discomfort and control their symptoms. Make sure they are staying hydrated and getting as much rest as possible.

Avoid giving your child over-the-counter medications, as many of these medications aren’t safe for young children and won’t be effective for treating flu symptoms. If your child has a mild fever ask your pediatrician what over-the-counter medications could help alleviate their fever. Keep in mind: Children should never take aspirin!

The sooner you seek medical attention for the flu the better, as many antiviral medications can prevent the virus from getting worse if it’s administered within the first 48 hours. This medication is often taken for 5 to 7 days and it can help ease symptoms and speed up recovery.

The key is making sure to get your child proper medical care as soon as flu-like symptoms appear. Call your children’s doctor right away.