My Blog
By Virginia Pediatric Group
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.
By Virginia Pediatric Group
January 08, 2021
Category: Child Safety
Tags: Social Distancing   Mask  

Do your part to stop the spread of coronavirus among children and teens.

 

With COVID-19 cases on the rise across the country, it’s important that we make our best efforts to keep our families safe and reduce the spread of the virus in our communities.  The hardest part is knowing when one might be exposed, especially when children may be asymptomatic yet capable of sharing the infection.  We are providing testing for our patients, using both a quick antigen test performed on-site with results within a few hours, and the more sensitive PCR test which is sent to the reference lab and may take a few days to get a result.  However, prevention is the best medicine and there are familiar routines we advocate that can help.

Wash Your Hands

Nothing works better than hand washing.  It is most effective when using soap, washing the front and back of the hands, and doing it for 20 seconds (the time it takes to sing the Happy Birthday song twice).  If there isn’t soap and water available, make sure that your child has access to hand sanitizer that has at least 60 percent alcohol. Then have them wash their hands properly when possible.

Wear a Mask

Wearing a face mask over your nose and mouth dramatically reduces the spread of the virus.  Wearing a mask when out in public or in any group setting outside of your home down to age 5, and younger if they are willing and able.  This is a big commitment and, for some, an inconvenience, but even if it reduces the likelihood of spread by 10%, it can save lives.  Help your kids get used to and feel good about wearing a mask.  Put one on their favorite stuffed animal.  Praise them for their good behavior.  Find fun and interesting masks that they can choose and feel good about wearing.

Keep Your Distance

There is no more effective way to prevent infection or spread of the virus than social distancing.  That starts with staying at home more, at least until we see this pandemic recede.  If you are in a group setting, the common advice of a 6-foot perimeter and limited numbers of people in gatherings is the smart way to go.  If you are not in contact with infected people-and many do not know they are infected and spreading the virus because they are asymptomatic-you will not get it!

When to get tested

There are many situations where testing for COVID-19 is appropriate and even required.  If you are notified that someone you or your child was around has tested positive, testing should be considered.  It is important to know who in your household is at high risk for severe disease and to understand how to deal with a positive test.  Our offices are available for telemedicine visits (virtual visits from your home or other location) and we can provide testing in the offices and offer “curbside” services at our Fairfax, Herndon, and Aldie locations.  Please call the office to arrange an appointment and we will accommodate your needs as quickly and conveniently as possible.

If you have questions about COVID testing or any of the other services we offer, simply call us at (703) 573-2432.

By Virginia Pediatric Group
January 06, 2021
Category: Child Safety
Keeping Your Child Safe While TravelingWhether you’re simply taking a weekend trip to visit the grandparents, or you and the family are flying internationally, you must know how to keep everyone healthy and safe while on vacation. After all, the last thing you want to worry about is looking up local hospitals near your hotel in the middle of the night. Here are some tips for how to keep your little ones safe while traveling.
 
Bring all Medications with You…
And make sure you have enough. This is especially important if you are going to spend a couple of weeks on vacation. You will want to make sure that your child has access to their medications and that they don’t run out. If you’re flying, make sure to pack all medications in your carry-on, just in case the airline happens to lose your luggage.
 
Get the Appropriate Vaccinations
While travel throughout the US won’t typically require your child to get inoculated, traveling abroad may require certain vaccines ahead of time. You must schedule an appointment with your child’s pediatrician about a month in advance to make sure that they get all appropriate vaccinations before travel.
 
Depending on where you’re traveling, your pediatrician may recommend certain immunizations against typhoid, yellow fever, meningitis, or rabies. Your child may also require antimalarial drugs to protect against malaria.
 
Get Travel Insurance
While we never want to imagine a medical emergency happening while abroad, it is important to be prepared just in case your child breaks their arm or gets sick. In this case, having travel insurance can be a major stress-reliever and lifesaver. Most travel insurance covers kids under 17 years of age and also provides emergency care and 24/7 assistance.
 
Traveling During COVID-19
Of course, during the pandemic, medical officials highly recommend avoiding any travel unless essential. While we understand everyone’s desire to travel again and for life to return to normal, we must be doing our part to keep everyone safe during this time. If you do need to travel make sure to wear a mask, practice good hygiene and social distancing, and choose outdoor places such as parks where you can avoid crowds and other people.
 
If you do have questions about traveling with your child, or about getting them the proper vaccines before travel, talk with your child’s pediatrician. It’s important to talk with a pediatrician a month or more before your trip so that you can ensure that your child has everything they need before traveling.
By Virginia Pediatric Group
December 18, 2020
Category: Child Health
Tags: Broken Bone  
Does My Child Have a Broken Bone?Accidents happen. Perhaps your child hurt themselves falling off their bike or taking a rough tumble down the stairs. In these instances, the first thing you’ll probably do is check your child over for bumps, bruises, and possibly broken bones. It’s important to recognize whether your child could be dealing with a broken bone so that you can bring them in to see their pediatrician right away.
 
The warning signs of a broken bone include,
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Tenderness
  • A popping or snapping sound at the moment of impact or injury
  • Trouble straightening out the limb or affected area
  • Unable to put weight on the area
  • Limited range of motion or unable to move normally
If the bone is visible through the skin, you must call 911 or head to your nearest emergency room for care. If there is no bone visible but your child is still experiencing the symptoms above, then call your pediatrician right away. This problem should be treated on the very same day by your child’s doctor.
 
The most common fractures that we see in kids often affect the bones of the elbows, ankles, and wrists. Falling off monkey bars and other injuries on the playground are incredibly common and can lead to wrist and elbow fractures.
 
How is a broken bone treated?

First, your pediatrician will run X-rays to determine the location and severity of the break. Your doctor will place a splint or cast around the broken bone to provide support and stabilization and to restrict certain movements that could impede healing.
 
Your doctor may also recommend certain exercises that your child should do at home every day to help ease symptoms such as pain, limited mobility, and swelling. Your doctor may also refer your child to a pediatric orthopedist for physical therapy, depending on the type and extent of the injury. You will also need to bring your child back into the office in a few weeks to see how the broken bone is healing.
 
A broken bone is considered a serious injury. If your child is displaying symptoms of a broken bone, it’s a good idea to call your pediatrician right away for a consultation.
By Virginia Pediatric Group
December 03, 2020
Category: Child Health
Signs of a Pediatric UTIA urinary tract infection isn’t just something that happens to adults. Children can also develop UTIs. Since children are more likely to suffer from kidney damage as a result of a UTI you must see your pediatric doctor right away if you suspect that your child may be dealing with a urinary tract infection. Signs and symptoms include,
  • Increased urgency to urinate, even if there is no output
  • Cloudy or strong-smelling urine
  • A decreased output of urine
  • Children may complain of a burning sensation when urinating
  • Older children may complain of lower stomach or back pain
  • Younger children may cry when urinating
  • Wetting the bed
We know that infants and young children can’t tell us what hurts and where, so we have to look for other signs that they could be dealing with a urinary tract infection. Young children may have a fever, loose stools, refuse to eat, and be more irritable than usual. When they wet their diaper, you may notice that the urine smells strong or bad.
 
Diagnosing UTIs in Children

If your child is showing symptoms of a UTI you must see your pediatrician right away. A simple urine sample is all that’s needed to be able to detect the presence of bacteria. We can examine the urine sample under the microscope and provide results in a matter of minutes. The kind of bacteria that’s present will help us determine the type of antibiotics we will prescribe.
 
Treating Childhood UTIs

It’s important to seek treatment right away, as untreated UTIs can lead to more serious problems including kidney infections, abscesses, and sepsis. Your pediatrician can prescribe antibiotics. Your child should also be getting plenty of fluids during the course of their treatment to help flush out bacteria.
 
It’s also important that your child continues to take their medication even if they start to feel better (do not stop the medication). If symptoms do not improve within three days, or if they get worse, you must call your pediatrician immediately.
 
Our pediatrics team is here to make sure that your child gets the care they need, whenever they are dealing with everything from a fever or stomach upset to a UTI. If your child develops a UTI, talk to your pediatrician right away.




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