Posts for category: Children's Health

By West End Pediatrics
November 05, 2018
Category: Children's Health
Tags: Child Care   Cold   Flu  

Cold Vs. Flu

Is it a cold or the flu? When it comes to your child's health, your pediatrician provides great information and guidance on the most common illnesses plaguing families. If you are wondering about the exact nature of your child's illness and how to treat it, learn the differences between a cold and the flu and how to treat and prevent them.

What is a cold?

A cold is an upper respiratory viral infection lasting 5 to 7 days in both adults and children alike. Generally milder in intensity and shorter in duration than influenza, a cold causes:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Watery eyes
  • A runny nose
  • Tiredness
  • Low-grade fever
The Centers for Disease Control states that most healthy children experience 8 to 10 colds by the age of two years.
 
What is the flu?
 
The flu is a much more serious viral infection. Of sudden and intense onset, the flu usually comes with:
  • High fever
  • Body aches
  • Cough
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Severe headache
  • Chills
Also, the flu lasts longer and debilitates sufferers. It carries dangerous complications, particularly with young children, the elderly, asthmatics, diabetics and those with weak immune systems.
 
Treating colds and the flu
 
Treating a cold involves rest, fluids and decongestants as needed. The onset of a cold is gradual, and so is recovery. Typically, your child will not need to visit the pediatrician if he or she has a simple cold. Simple symptom relief works well. However, high and persistent fever merits a call to your child's doctor.
 
Regarding the flu, your pediatrician may do an in-office Rapid Influenza Diagnostic Test (a throat or nasal swab) to confirm the diagnosis. They may prescribe antiviral medication and instruct on how to monitor a young child's symptoms. Keep your youngster well-hydrated, and administer acetaminophen or ibuprofen as directed.
 
If flu symptoms escalate (labored respirations, severe headache, rapid heart rate or anything that seems unusual to you), take your child to the nearest hospital ER for evaluation. Pneumonia is a frequent and life-threatening complication of influenza.
 
Prevention is the best medicine
 
Protect all members of the family with these simple measures:
  1. Eat a healthy diet.
  2. Stay well-hydrated.
  3. Avoid crowds during peak cold and flu season.
  4. Keep your child home from daycare and school if he or she is sick.
  5. Teach your child to cover his or her mouth when coughing or sneezing.
  6. Don't share food or utensils, even with family members.
  7. Vaccinate against the flu. Ask your pediatrician for your child's "shot."
Trust your pediatrician
 
They work hard to prevent acute illnesses such as colds and the flu. The doctor and professional team are great resources for prevention, healing and overall well-being for your children.
By West End Pediatrics
August 01, 2018
Category: Children's Health
Tags: Conjunctivitis   Pink Eye  

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
  • Discharge
  • 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.

By West End Pediatrics
July 16, 2018
Category: Children's Health
Tags: Asthma  

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.

By West End Pediatrics
May 01, 2018
Category: Children's Health
Tags: Eye Problems  

When your little one is first born they will go through a series of tests and screenings to make sure they are healthy. This includes checking theirEye Problems vital signs, hearing, and vision. Your child’s first battery of health screenings will occur while you are still in the hospital. If everything checks out just fine then you’ll be good to go until you need to visit the pediatrician in the coming week. Of course, if we discover that there is an issue with their vision you may need to visit your child’s pediatrician sooner.

Of course, not all pediatric eye problems occur at birth. They can also happen as your child continues to develop over the years. This is why it’s so important that you are visiting your pediatric doctor regularly to ensure that if there is a problem with your child’s vision that they get the proper care they need to prevent more serious issues from happening.

Here are just some of the most common eye problems that children face:

  • Nystagmus: A condition that causes involuntary and repetitive eye movements, which results in a reduction in vision.

  • Strabismus: Sometimes referred to as crossed eyes, this is when the eyes are not aligned with one another.

  • Amblyopia: Colloquially referred to as a “lazy eye”, this condition occurs when vision is one eye doesn’t develop properly, resulting in reduced vision.

  • Congenital cataract: While most people associate cataracts with older individuals, it is possible for a child to be born with this condition that causes clouding of the ocular lens.

Some eye problems can be caught at birth; however, it’s important to understand that babies aren’t born with all of their visual capabilities. This is something that is learned over time as their eyes continue to develop and send signals to their brain. A baby’s vision isn’t as clear as ours; however, in the first few months, you’ll begin to see them focus on objects close up, develop eye-hand coordination as they grab for things they want or follow moving objects.

Of course, you will have a pediatrician schedule to follow, which ensures that your little one is getting the proper care, checkups, vaccinations, and screenings they need to check off certain developmental milestones. If your pediatrician detects vision problems they will most likely refer you to a pediatric eye doctor who can provide you with the best treatment options.

If at any time you become worried about your child’s vision, then it’s important that you make an appointment with your pediatrician to have their vision tested. Your pediatrician is here to make sure that your growing child gets the care they need throughout the course of their developing life so they can become a healthy, happy adult.

By West End Pediatrics
July 17, 2017
Category: Children's Health
Tags: Sick Child  
It isn’t easy to spot the symptoms of meningitis, as many people confuse the early signs and symptoms with the flu. Meningitis signs and symptoms may develop over 
several hours or over one or two days. By visiting your pediatrician, you will be able to get a proper diagnosis for your child. 
 
According to your pediatrician, some of the signs and symptoms that may occur in anyone older than the age of two include:
  • 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
  • Seizures
  • Sleepiness or difficulty waking up
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Lack of interest in drinking and eating
  • Skin rash in some cases
Seek medical care from your pediatrician immediately if your child has signs or symptoms of meningitis, such as fever, severe headache, confusion, vomiting and stiff neck. Viral meningitis may improve without treatment, but bacterial meningitis is serious, can come on very quickly and requires prompt antibiotic treatment to improve the chance of a recovery. 
 
If you delay treatment for bacterial meningitis, the risk of permanent brain damage or death increases. Educate yourself about meningitis and talk to your child’s pediatrician for more information and a proper diagnosis. 


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West End Pediatrics

(703) 823-7400
Alexandria, VA Pediatrician
West End Pediatrics
5249 Duke St Ste 303
Alexandria, VA 22304
(703) 823-7400