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By Pediatric & Neonatal Specialists
March 16, 2021
Category: Child Health
Tags: Pediatrician   Thumb-Sucking   Pacifier  
Thumb SuckingReflexively, your baby is born with the ability to suck. It makes sense. After all, your little one must be able to suck to get nutrients, whether breastfeeding or bottle-feeding. Thumb sucking also has the ability to soothe and calm your little one. However, there are moments as your child gets older where thumb-sucking may become a problem. Your pediatrician can provide you with the tips and tricks to help your little one grow out of this habit.
 
Thumb-Sucking Tendencies

This is a normal habit in newborns that typically goes away around 6-7 months; however, this seemingly innocuous habit may actually be a cause for concern if thumb sucking continues beyond 2-4 years, where it can alter the shape of the face or cause teeth to stick out.
 
When to Consider a Pacifier

Many children desire a pacifier between feedings, but this should not be a replacement for feedings. It’s important to recognize when your child is sucking because they are hungry and whether they merely want to self-soothe. If your child still has an urge to suck and they don’t need to nurse, then a pacifier is a safe way to soothe and ease your child’s needs (if they want it).
 
It is safe for children to use a pacifier while sleeping, whether at bedtime or when they go down for their naps. Just prepare for babies to wake up fussy in the middle of the night when the pacifier falls out of their mouths, as they aren’t able to place the pacifier back in their mouths themselves. Make sure that you do not try to place the pacifier on a string around your baby’s neck or tie it to the crib, as this can lead to a serious and potentially deadly injury.
 
How to Phase Out the Pacifier
There will come a point when your child will need to give up their pacifier. While the medical community has different age ranges, The American Dental Association recommends that children stop using a pacifier by age 2, as going beyond two years old could alter the alignment of your child’s teeth or impact the shape of their face.
 
Here are some tips to phase out the pacifier,
  • Do not tease or punish your child for using a pacifier, but instead praise them when they do not use it. Provide them with rewards when they go without it.
  • Some children use pacifiers out of boredom, so give your child something to do to distract them such as playing with a game or toy (to keep their hands busy).
  • If incentives and rewards aren’t enough and your child is still using a pacifier, your pediatrician may recommend a “thumb guard” that can prevent your child from sucking their thumb. While you may feel in a rush to get rid of your child’s pacifier, it’s important to be patient. All children eventually stop this habit.
Even if you are concerned about your child’s thumb-sucking, it’s important to know that most children do grow out of it not long after starting school. While you can provide them with helpful ways to ditch the habit it’s important not to put pressure on them. With the help of your pediatrician, your child can and will outgrow this habit.
By Pediatric & Neonatal Specialists
February 24, 2021
Category: Child Health
Tags: Head Lice  
Head LiceYou’ve just received a call from the school: someone in your child’s class has head lice. We know that hearing that your child has or might have head lice can be stressful, but don’t worry. Your pediatrician can help guide you through the best methods for getting rid of pesky head lice once and for all.

If you notice head lice in your child there’s no way around it: you have to treat the lice. They will not go away on their own. It might give you the heebie-jeebies but it’s important to find a treatment that will get rid of these little critters quickly. You should also check all members of your family to make sure they don’t have lice too, as this problem can spread quickly.

The good news is that you can often treat lice from the comfort of your own home. While there are certain hair salons that may cater to the treatment of lice, it’s worth it to try and treat the problem yourself. There are a variety of over-the-counter shampoos and rinses that can kill lice and their eggs (also known as nits). You may want to talk with your pediatric doctor about the treatment process, which products to use and whether or not you should reapply the shampoo or rinse days after the first application.

Still seeing lice? This is a literal head scratcher for some parents, but don’t worry. This is when a pediatrician can prescribe a much stronger treatment option such as shampoos containing benzyl alcohol, or lotions containing either ivermectin or malathion (both pesticides), or spinosad (an insecticide).

Since some of these products work differently from others, it is important that you read and follow all instructions. Some products will require more than one application while others will only require one. Again, if you have any questions or concerns about your child’s lice treatment don’t hesitate to talk to your pediatrician.

Treating Your Home After Lice

The good news is that lice need blood in order to survive so they won’t live very long if they don’t have a human host. However, you will want to wash all bedding, towels and clothes that may have lice or nits on them. Make sure to wash them thoroughly in hot water that is higher than 130 degrees F. If you can’t wash these items immediately, promptly bag them until you can clean them properly.

Head lice can be annoying, but turning to a qualified pediatric doctor can help you get the answers you need to tackle this hairy little problem. Call your pediatrician to learn more.
By Pediatric & Neonatal Specialists
February 16, 2021
Category: Child Safety
Tags: Stitches   Pediatrician  
When Does My Child Need StitchesWe all know how accident-prone kids can be. They get bruises, bumps, cuts, and scrapes from time and time. Most of the time, these boo-boos are nothing to worry about, but sometimes a cut or laceration may require turning to your pediatrician for stitches. Does your child need stitches? We know it isn’t always easy to tell. Here are some telltale signs that your child might need stitches,
  • Apply pressure to the cut for five minutes. If it’s still bleeding after five minutes, it probably needs stitches
  • The cut is more than ½-inch deep or longer
  • The cut is around their eye
  • The cut is on their face or neck and is longer than ¼ inch
  • The cut is gaping open
  • There is an object sticking out of it, including debris or glass
  • The cut is spurting blood
Any cut that spurts blood could be a sign of a nicked artery. Immediately apply pressure to the area and head to your local ER for immediate medical attention.

When should I call the pediatrician?

If in doubt about whether or not your child may need stitches, call your pediatrician. With the introduction of telehealth visits, many pediatricians can now look at images of the injury or wound through a simple online appointment and determine whether the child or teen needs to come in for stitches. While the warning signs above are telltale indicators that your child may need stitches, even if the cut doesn’t need stitches, you should still see the doctor if:
  • The cut was made by a rusty or metal object
  • There is redness, swelling, pus, or other signs of infection
  • The child has been bitten by an animal
  • The cut hasn’t healed within 10 days
  • There is still severe pain after a few hours
Cuts and wounds made by metal, rusty, or dirty objects may require your child to get a tetanus shot. This is why you should see your pediatrician right away, as it’s important for them to get this shot within 2-3 days after the injury.

If you still aren’t sure whether or not your child should get stitches, it doesn’t hurt to give your pediatrician a call. Let us know the symptoms your child is experiencing, and we can determine if their injury requires a closer look from our team. Call us today; we can deal with your child’s urgent medical matters.
By Pediatric & Neonatal Specialists
February 03, 2021
Category: Child Health
Tags: Diabetes  
Diabetes in ChildrenIn the past, the most common type of diabetes to affect children and teens was type 1 diabetes. This is also referred to as juvenile diabetes. In children with type 1 diabetes, their bodies do not produce insulin, a hormone responsible for helping deliver glucose into the cells. While type 1 diabetes is quite common in children, pediatricians are also seeing a rise in type 2 diabetes in children and teens. This coincides with an increase in childhood obesity rates.
 
Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes
While type 1 diabetes can appear in children of any age, it’s most commonly diagnosed in children between the ages of 5 and 6, and 11 to 13. It’s important to recognize the symptoms of type 1 diabetes early, as high blood sugar levels can lead to serious complications. Symptoms of type 1 diabetes typically appear suddenly, and the most common symptoms include,
  • Frequent urination, particularly at night
  • Excessive thirst or hunger
  • Weight loss, despite increased appetite
  • Cuts, bruises, and wounds that don’t heal or are slow to heal
Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes

Unlike type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes symptoms usually appear gradually. While type 2 diabetes has always been considered “adult-onset” diabetes, this has changed over the years, thanks to the obesity epidemic in children. If your child is obese or overweight, they may be at an increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Symptoms of type 2 diabetes are similar to type 1 diabetes, the only marked differences in symptoms are,
  • Blurry vision
  • Severe fatigue
  • Tingling or numbness in the hands and feet
Treating Diabetes in Children

Even though there is no cure for diabetes, there are ways that your child’s pediatrician can help manage their symptoms. The goal of treatment is to control blood sugar levels to prevent complications and lessen symptoms.
 
The standard treatment includes managing diabetes through insulin therapy, which involves either daily insulin injections or an insulin pump. You will also need to monitor your child’s blood sugar levels throughout the day. Along with insulin therapy, you will also want to make sure that your child is eating a healthy diet and is getting regular exercise (at least one hour a day).
 
If your child is overweight or showing signs of diabetes, you must talk with your child’s pediatrician right away. A simple blood test can check their blood sugar levels and determine whether or not they have diabetes. Since uncontrolled diabetes can lead to serious health problems, it’s a good idea to see a pediatrician as soon as possible.
By Pediatric & Neonatal Specialists
January 20, 2021
Category: Child Safety
Tags: Tetanus Shot  
Tetanus ShotAll children need to get a tetanus shot. When we think of tetanus we often think of rusty nails; however, this bacterium isn’t just found on rusty metal items, it also lives in soil and dirt. If bacteria come in contact with a wound or opening in the skin this can lead to a serious infection. If your child, like many, enjoys running around outside barefoot, they must be keeping up with their tetanus shots.
 
When should my child get their first tetanus shot?

While tetanus can cause some serious symptoms including “lockjaw," it is completely preventable with a vaccination. The DTaP vaccine is used to prevent tetanus (along with diphtheria and pertussis) and your child will get their first series of shots at 2, 4, and 6 months. Your child will also need another tetanus shot between the ages of 15 to 18 months old and between 4-6 years old.
 
Children should continue to get a tetanus shot during their annual pediatric checkup until they turn 18 years old. Instead of getting the DTap vaccine, which they got as a young child, they will get the Tdap booster shot that still protects against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis.
 
Once your child reaches adulthood, they will get a Td vaccination, which will protect them against tetanus and diphtheria.
 
What are the signs and symptoms of tetanus?

Most children will develop symptoms within two weeks of exposure to the bacteria. Symptoms of tetanus include,
  • Painful and severe muscle spasms
  • Shoulder, jaw, and neck stiffness
  • Difficulty breathing and swallowing
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Fever
If left untreated, tetanus can be life-threatening so it’s important to bring your child in right away if they develop any of these symptoms.
 
If it’s time for your child’s next tetanus shot, your pediatrician will be able to administer the vaccine either during their next routine checkup or at a separate important. You must be keeping up with your child’s vaccine schedule so that they are fully protected against potentially dangerous communicable diseases.




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